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History Heads to Fort Scott


In Southeast Kansas, a piece of history in Bourbon County will soon have new life. Plans are in place to move the county's Long Shoals Bridge to Fort Scott, and convert it into a pedestrian bridge. 

The ravages of time are threatening to bring down the bridge's piers, but thanks to the Fort Scott/Bourbon County Riverfront Authority, the Long Shoals Bridge will have new home. The bridge will soon be a highlight of Fort Scott's Riverfront Park, but transporting a piece of Kansas' history and converting it to a pedestrian bridge doesn't come cheap.

"It's an 80/20 from the federal government, administered to the KDOT. Our Riverfront Committee is commissioned to raise 20%, and I'll just tell you that's $150,000 which is a large amount to fund this project. We have done that," said Fort Scott/Bourbon County Riverfront Authority Chairman Jerry Witt. 

Moving the bridge will enhance Riverfront Park, but preserving the Long Shoals Bridge's historical significance is extremely important to the Riverfront Authority.

"This particular bridge is an iron-framed Parker Trust bridge built in 1902... It's also a bridge that's on the state historic register and the national historic register of buildings and places," said local historian Arnold Schofield.

In fact, some of what makes the Long Shoals Bridge historic is the materials used to build it.

"It's unique in that it's a wrought iron, cast iron bridge. And it makes it rather rare, that those two materials were used, and today steel is used," said Schofield.

If things stay on track the bridge-moving project will begin groundwork during march of next year.

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