Residents band together in effort to save 1912 bridge

Kay Hively

Carol Klein, a resident of eastern McDonald County, presented an update on the Powell Bridge to members of the McDonald County Historical Society on Sunday.

The old bridge, which was built in 1912, has been scheduled for demolition, but residents in the area have banded together to save the structure. Petitions, containing between 1,600 and 2,000 names, were recently presented to the McDonald County Commission, asking that the bridge not be destroyed.

A new nonprofit group, the Powell Historic Preservation Society, has been formed to “do whatever it takes” to keep the bridge. The group is working to raise funds to provide liability insurance and pay for bridge upkeep and maintenance should it be allowed to remain in place. If the bridge is allowed to stand, it will be closed to motor traffic once a new bridge has been built.

Anderson attorney Jonathon Pierce has offered to assist the group in a limited capacity. He and members of the Powell Historic Preservation Society will meet with the McDonald County Commission at 9 a.m. Wednesday. With Pierce’s help, the group has filed articles of incorporation as a nonprofit corporation.

The Powell Bridge, which is 210 feet long, was built at a cost of $4,000, with $1,000 of that coming from residents in the Powell area who pledged that amount in cash, material or labor.

A major fundraising event will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 9, at the Rocky Comfort Elementary School. The event will be a silent auction and funds received will be used to pay liability insurance, pay the tax-exempt filing fee and to start a repair and maintenance fund.

Anyone willing to donate goods or services for the silent auction may contact Virginia Hall at 435-2394 or by mail at 1877 Cowan Ridge Rd., Powell, 65730.

In an interview with the Daily News last month, Hall said the bridge is the oldest ironclad bridge in McDonald County. The bridge currently has a load limit of three tons, and is in limited use at the present time.

Neosho Daily News