Filed Under Toston

Toston Bridge

Norwegian immigrant Tom Toston established a ranch and ferry near here in 1871. Strategically located at the junction of the Helena-Gallatin Valley Road and the road to Radersburg, a settlement quickly grew up around Toston’s ranch. Soon the town boasted a post office, mercantile, hotel, and a smelter to process ore from the Radersburg mines. A bridge replaced Toston’s ferry in the 1890s, but by the 1910s it had become unsafe. Local residents petitioned the Broadwater County commissioners to replace it. State Highway Department engineer Charles A. Kyle developed a riveted steel Warren through truss design for this Missouri River crossing in 1918. Inexpensive to build and known for its durability, the “W” configuration of the trusses is its trademark. In July 1919, the county commissioners awarded a contract to the Billings-based Security Bridge Company, a firm known for its high quality work. The company employed eleven men on the project, many of them local. Among these was long-time Toston resident William Lorentz. A native of Pennsylvania, Lorentz came to Toston in 1884 working for the Northern Pacific Railway. A carpenter by trade, he also served as the last superintendent of the Toston smelter and helped build bridges for the Montana Railroad Company. Completed in July 1920, the Toston Bridge became an integral part of the community because of its location on the highway between Helena and Bozeman. During the 1920s, teenage girls would parade across the bridge on summer evenings for lack of something better to do. The highway bypassed Toston and the bridge in 1955.

Images

Toston Bridge
Toston Bridge View looking east Source: National Register of Historic Places nomination form. Montana State Historic Preservation Office, Helena, MT. Creator: Jon Axline Date: Nov 2004
Toston Bridge
Toston Bridge View of east portal Source: National Register of Historic Places nomination form. Montana State Historic Preservation Office, Helena, MT. Creator: Jon Axline Date: Nov 2004
Toston Bridge
Toston Bridge View looking east from bridge centerline Source: National Register of Historic Places nomination form. Montana State Historic Preservation Office, Helena, MT. Creator: Jon Axline Date: Nov 2004
Toston Bridge
Toston Bridge View of bridge abutments and steel deck Source: National Register of Historic Places nomination form. Montana State Historic Preservation Office, Helena, MT. Creator: Jon Axline Date: Nov 2004
Toston Bridge
Toston Bridge View of west portal area with National Register sign Source: MT State Historic Preservation Office, Helena, MT. Creator: MT State Historic Preservation Office, Helena, MT. Date: Sept 2016
Toston Bridge
Toston Bridge View looking east Source: MT State Historic Preservation Office, Helena, MT. Creator: MT State Historic Preservation Office, Helena, MT. Date: Sept 2016
Toston Bridge
Toston Bridge View of west portal, looking east Source: MT State Historic Preservation Office, Helena, MT. Creator: MT State Historic Preservation Office, Helena, MT. Date: Sept 2016

Location

The Toston Bridge spans the Missouri River on an abandoned segment of old US Highway 287 at Toston, Montana | Public

Metadata

The Montana National Register Sign Program, “Toston Bridge,” Historic Montana, accessed March 2, 2024, https://historicmt.org/items/show/105.