Old St. Charles Bridge

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Old St. Charles Bridge
Coordinates 38°47′00″N 90°28′36″W / 38.78333°N 90.47667°W / 38.78333; -90.47667
Crosses Missouri River
Locale St. Louis County and St. Charles County in Missouri
Design Truss bridge
Total length 875.7 m (2,873 ft)
Width 6.10 m (20 ft)
Longest span 128.0 m (420 ft)
Opened 1904
Closed 1998

The Old St. Charles Bridge once connected St. Louis County to the city of St. Charles.


Construction on the bridge began in August, 1902 with the sinking of the piers. Workers who worked inside the piers were called sandhogs. They worked one hour at a time twice a day inside the piers. One worker died as a result of the bends.

Progress on the bridge was slow for several reasons. Shipments of raw materials including lumber and steel were delayed. Inclement weather threatened work stoppages on several occasions. A dispute developed over the right-of-way needed for construction that had to be settled in court. And finally, raw materials had to be stored on the St. Louis County side due to the lack of available space in St. Charles. This forced workers to ferry materials and supplies across the river when needed on the St. Charles side.

Construction was completed in the spring of 1904 in time for the world's fair in St. Louis. The bridge was a combination highway and streetcar bridge. The streetcar station at the western terminus of the bridge still stands at 2nd and Adams in St. Charles. It was operated as toll by the St. Charles and St. Louis County Bridge Company until December, 1931. At that time it was incorporated in the state highway system as part of U.S. Route 40. Tolls and trolleys ceased in January, 1932.

In June 1959, the bridge was redesignated as part of Route 115 after a new U.S. Route 40 bridge opened that would later become part of Interstate 70. The bridge remained part of SR-115 until it was replaced by the Discovery Bridge. It was closed to traffic in 1992 and demolished in 1998.[1]

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