The Original Voges Bridge

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Big Timber 59011,Livingston Area

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Location: Milepost 362, I-90

In late 1913, Sweet Grass County residents petitioned the County Commissioners to build a bridge across the Yellowstone River west of Big Timber. The petition was submitted to the commissioners by New York millionaire oilman and part-time Montana rancher, W. Dixon Ellis of the Briggs-Ellis Cattle Company. Dixon offered to donate $5,000 toward the construction of the bridge if the commissioners agreed to build it the following year. In April 1914, the county contracted with the Security Bridge Company to construct a 2-span pin-connected Pratt through truss bridge at this site for $14,995. Designed by Sweet Grass County Surveyor J. B. Kleinhesselink and County Assessor D. J. Walvoord, the 378-foot long bridge included an experimental floor system that allowed the use of the bridge by the new 20-ton tractors of the time. The Security Bridge Company completed the structure in June 1914 and it eventually became known as the Voges Bridge by area residents. Charles Voges owned a nearby sheep ranch and donated the land for the existing one-room school on the north bank of the river in 1920. When completed, the Voges Bridge provided access to the transportation systems on the south side of the river to the farmers and ranchers living north of the Yellowstone. The bridge was also the last pin-connected bridge built across the Yellowstone River.

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