Exploring Denton County’s Historic Bridges

This week, we have some really cool resources to share with you that “bridge yesterday with tomorrow…” You guessed it, this week’s blog is all about Denton County’s Historic Bridges! So, let’s start with a brief history of the bridges in Denton County.

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Old Alton Bridge, 1986.

In the early 1880’s, Denton County’s population and economy were rapidly growing. The number of residents in the area jumped from 7,000 to more than 18,000, and farmers began to grow money-making crops like wheat and cotton.

However, the Denton County Commissioners Court knew that growth would come to a halt if transportation routes in the area didn’t improve. Residents needed a reliable way to cross the county’s many waterways and get to railroad lines more quickly. At the time, most streams either didn’t have bridges, or only had wooden ones.

So in 1882, the Commissioners Court used $10,000 to build eight iron and steel bridges in Denton County. This project was deemed so important that the court paid for it with money from the Denton County Permanent School Fund… and until 1895, residents continued to vote for and approve public funding to build bridges.

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Elm Fork Bridge, 1991.

By 1910, about 30 iron and steel bridges had been built in Denton County, constructed in the “Pratt through-truss” style. These bridges successfully provided reliable crossings to the growing communities for decades.

Over the past century, Denton County has lost a few of its historic bridges, but the county and local preservationists have been able to save many. Currently, there are nine bridges in the area that have a Denton County Historical Marker: Belz Road Bridge, County Line Road Bridge, Donald Road Bridge, Elm Fork Bridge, Gregory Road Bridge, Litsey Road Bridge, Old Alton Bridge, Rector Road Bridge, and Sam Bass Road Bridge.

Recently, the Denton County Historical Commission teamed up with the Denton County G.I.S. department to create some interactive maps of the historic bridges. Check them out:

  • This first map shows the locations of 20 bridges, including those listed above, and describes the history and architecture of each one. The map is a great resource and tool, and we are excited to share it with you! CLICK HERE to start exploring.
  • This second interactive map goes into more detail on the history of bridges in Denton County, and shows their original locations. CLICK HERE to start exploring.

County Line Road Bridge at Denton Creek House.

All information in this blog was pulled from the Denton County Office of History & Culture and the Denton County Historical Commission’s records.



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