Filed Under Troy

Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Bridge

Before Libby Dam tamed the river, the Kootenai became "a death dealing torrent in high water time." Raging currents regularly shut down ferries, stranding supplies intended for logging and mining camps and keeping north side children from their school across the river. The lack of roads and bridges also stymied economic development. Proper infrastructure, area boosters claimed, would bring both more settlers and automobile tourists en route to Glacier National Park. Voters concurred, passing a $125,000 bond measure in 1911 to improve roads and construct bridges at Libby, Troy, and Rexford. The Coast Bridge Company of Portland, Oregon, won the contract for all three bridges and within weeks a crew of engineers arrived in Libby. Work stopped, however, when Eureka residents, possibly angry over not getting their own bridge, filed an injunction to halt construction. Bridge and road contracts provided notorious opportunities for graft, but in this case the court found no wrongdoing. Construction resumed in June, and on December 17, 1912, the Troy Bridge (later renamed after President Theodore Roosevelt) opened to traffic. "The bridge is the best of its kind," crowed a local newspaper. "Two spans, with a middle pier, and is perfect in every respect." In fact, the bridge's Parker through-truss design was well-suited for the location. The rigid triangle trusses provided the structural stability needed to span the wide river, and the pre-manufactured rolled steel beams made on-site assembly relatively simple. Of the three Kootenai valley bridges to share the standardized design, this is the only one still standing.

Images

Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Bridge Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Bridge. Overview sighting of the bridge to offer perspective on the span of the structure, facing southeast from the west bank of the Kootenai River towards Kootenai River Road located on the east bank that runs north to south. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Sandra Johnson Date: Jan. 2007
Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Bridge Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Bridge. Side view of the bridge, facing southwest on the west bank of the Kootenai River. This photograph provides a close perspective of the west section of the bridge closest to the town of Troy, Montana. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Sandra Johnson Date: 2006
Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Bridge Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Bridge. Side view of the bridge, facing east from the west bank of the Kootenai River near the town of Troy, Montana. This photograph provides a close perspective on the east section of the bridge that is opposite of the town of Troy near Kootenai River Road on the east bank of the river. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Sandra Johnson Date: 2006

Location

Crossing the Kootenai River at Roosevelt Parkway, Troy, Montana | Public

Metadata

The Montana National Register Sign Program, “Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Bridge,” Historic Montana, accessed December 7, 2022, https://historicmt.org/items/show/841.