In May of 2013 I bought $5.00 worth of raffle tickets when I was back visiting in Kansas. The town of Galena, Kansas has several events of this nature during it’s annual “Galena Days” festivities. I believe that the town’s Fire Department benefits from the sales of the tickets. I saw this wonderful photograph of Rainbow Bridge, and just hoped that somehow I might end up with this prize. I was with my cousin, David Outt, and yammered on & on to him about how much I liked the photograph. This bridge is a place that, like Nelson’s Old Riverton Store, goes back to some of my earliest earth-bound memories. I returned home to my father’s house well before the raffled tickets were spun & randomly attached to their lucky winners. About 10:00 pm of that evening, my cousin called me to let me know that I had won an outside cooking grille. I thanked him, and told him that he could keep it, that the only prize in the array to be awarded that interested me was the photograph of the Rainbow Bridge. “You really would rather have that?” he asked me. “Let me see if I can do something,” he told me after I indicated the affirmative. Ten minutes later, he rang me up again, asking if he could drop by & deliver the photograph. I gather there were two happy campers from this raffle swap. It’s nice to be lucky, and to have a bit of benevolent nepotism once in a while. At any rate, it worked for the benefit of all concerned, and I am the happy owner of this lovely photograph of an old bridge that is still standing, beautifully doing what bridges have done for centuries, quietly making our journey easier.
Research on the Internet indicates that it was “slated for destruction but was finally saved with the help of the Kansas Route 66 Association.”
It must have taken all the powers of Heaven & Earth to keep it from being torn down. The Midwest is not a culture that shows much kindness for the preservation of historic architecture. Throughout most of the small towns in that area, wonderful, old buildings, mainly in business districts, are treated like old growth forests, and get torn down, or are allowed to turn into a state of perpetual dilapidation. Doubtless a lot of factors go into this, but some ‘need’ other than dollar value by square footage must enter the collective consciousness to reverse the trend of mindless Walmart takeovers. That this bridge still exists & was spared the usual destruction, is nearly up there with a Lourdes miracle.
Wikipedia adds that this bridge is “the sole surviving bridge of this type” on the Old Route 66. It was built in 1923. On 10 March 1983, it was protected from destruction by being placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Zoning laws often are the last resort over rampant profiteering in terms of saving these treasures.
This You Tube Video Tells of Route 66 Demise
One footnote, in the year 2000, country singer Brad Paisley performed "Route 66" on this Bridge for the The Learning Channel special "Route 66: Main Street America.”
You Tube Showing Brad Paisley, Rainbow Bridge, and Nelson’s Old Riverton Store–all within easy access of our Kansas home.
Thanks to the efforts of those who had the vision to put their collective talents together in the saving of the Marsh Arch Bridge, Rainbow Bridge, near Riverton, Kansas.
Route 66 Theme-Television Series