Bluff Dale Suspension Bridge

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Bluff Dale Suspension Bridge
Bluff Dale bridge, as seen from the modern bridge that has replaced it for vehicle traffic.
Coordinates32°21′14″N 98°1′34″W / 32.35389°N 98.02611°W / 32.35389; -98.02611Coordinates: 32°21′14″N 98°1′34″W / 32.35389°N 98.02611°W / 32.35389; -98.02611
CarriesPedestrian way on County Road 49 (Berry's Creek Rd.)
CrossesPaluxy River
LocaleBerry's Creek Rd.,
Bluff Dale, Texas
OwnerErath County
MaterialWrought iron
Total length200 feet (61 m)
Width13 feet (4.0 m)
Longest span140 feet (43 m)
No. of spans3
Piers in water2
DesignerEdwin Elijah Runyon
Construction start1890
Construction end1890
Bluff Dale Bridge[a]
Bluff Dale Bridge is located in Texas
Bluff Dale Bridge
Bluff Dale Bridge
Bluff Dale Bridge is located in the US
Bluff Dale Bridge
Bluff Dale Bridge
Area1 acre (0.40 ha)
NRHP reference #77001440[2]
TSAL #8200000250
Significant dates
Added to NRHPDecember 20, 1977
Designated TSALMay 28, 1981

The Bluff Dale Suspension Bridge is a historic bridge located near Bluff Dale, Texas, United States. The bridge was built in 1891 and the spans 225 feet (69 m) across the Paluxy River. The road deck is 28 feet (8.5 m) above the river and held in place by fourteen one-inch cables attached to the towers made of nine-inch iron pipe.


The bridge was originally constructed across the river on a dirt road that became Texas state highway 10, which is now U.S. Route 377. In 1933, a new bridge was built to handle the increasing traffic on U.S. 377. The old bridge was relocated in 1934, 1.5 miles (2.4 km) upstream and extended from 200 to 225 feet (61 to 69 m).[3]

The bridge was added to the National Register of Historic Places on December 20, 1977. The bridge is on Preservation Texas' 2009 list of most endangered places due to its poor condition and lack of funds for restoration. It was closed to vehicular traffic in 1989 because of its advanced state of deterioration.[4]

Structure type[edit]

Despite the name given in Historic American Engineering Record documentation, the Bluff Dale Suspension Bridge is actually a cable-stayed structure.[5] Its deck is suspended from multiple layers of stay cables radiating from the towers, some terminating at the deck and others running continuously from one tower to the other. This pattern of cables was established in designer Edwin Elijah Runyon's first U.S. patent, No. 394,940.[6] It is known as one of only two examples of Runyon's patents, along with the Barton Creek Bridge in Huckabay, Texas. Its hand-twisted wire cable and non-traditional use of wrought-iron pipe components make it a notable example of vernacular American bridge construction.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The bridge's historic name as listed on the National Register was changed from "Bluff Dale Suspension Bridge" to "Bluff Dale Bridge" on January 19, 2016.[1]


  1. ^ National Park Service (January 29, 2016), Weekly List of Actions Taken on Properties: 1/19/16 through 1/22/16, archived from the original on January 28, 2016, retrieved January 28, 2016.
  2. ^ National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  3. ^ "Bluff Dale Suspension Bridge" Texas Historic Sites Atlas. Retrieved Aug 26, 2009.
  4. ^ "Preservation Texas: Most Endangered Places 2009". Archived from the original on 2009-03-05. Retrieved 2009-05-20.
  5. ^ Brown, Mark M. (August 1996). "Bluff Dale Suspension Bridge" (PDF). Historic American Engineering Record. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress. p. 7. Retrieved 2018-10-05.
  6. ^ Stephen G. Buonopane and Mark M. Brown, "History and Engineering Analysis of the 1890 Cable-Stayed Bluff Dale Bridge," in Proceedings of the First International Congress on Construction History (Madrid: Instituto Juan de Herrera, 2003): 433-442.

External links[edit]