Private Road / Stony Creek

MDOT Historic Bridge Clinton County Private Road / Stony Creek

County: Clinton

City/Township: Olive Twp.

Location: Private Road / Stony Creek

Year Built: 1880

About this Bridge:
This single-span wrought iron bridge crosses Stoney Creek on an abandoned road segment in rural Olive Township. Spanning about 40 feet, the Stoney Creek Bridge is a pin-connected Queenpost pony truss.
The queenpost’s origins are ancient and obscure. Its symmetrical form lent itself naturally to timber roof framing, where the truss was first used in the Middle Ages. Early American carpenters constructed kingpost and queenpost bridges at minor crossings throughout the eastern United States. The technology for these two truss types spread to Michigan with the pioneers in the 18th and 19th centuries. As a result, uncounted timber kingposts and queenposts were built on the region’s early roads. The truss forms remained the same as their construction evolved from the vernacular to the industrial in the 19th century, with the principal changes involving materials used: timber/iron, iron, steel.

All-metal versions were marketed to the counties and townships by bridge fabricators as inexpensive structure types for short-span applications. This relatively narrow span range limited their use, however. As steel beam bridges received widespread acceptance after the turn of the 20th century, erection of kingpost and queenpost trusses declined correspondingly. Kingposts were far more frequently employed than the inherently longer queenposts.

The later truss type was superseded in its all-metal configuration by the three-panel Pratt, which closely resembled he queenpost in all ways except the composition of its verticals. Subsequent attrition has eliminated all of Michigan’s queenposts but this one diminutive span in Clinton County. Apparently built in the 1880s, it is thus technologically significant as the last example of its kind of what was once a mainstay structural type. The Stoney Creek Bridge is today distinguished as a well-preserved, early illustration of small-scale wrought iron truss construction.