"Swing-Draw" / Pivot Bridge
The Hargrove "Swing-Draw" (or "Pivot") Bridge is located north of
Qulin, Missouri, on the Black River. This bridge was built
in 1917, when the river was used to carry goods to and from
Poplar Bluff. The Black River flows south, joining various
other rivers to become the White River. The White River
connects to the Mississippi River in southeastern Arkansas.
The structure is called the "Hargrove" bridge, because it was built
by the Butler County Court on a farm owned by the Hargrove family.
The bridge rotated horizontally on top of a large
cylindrical concrete pier in the center of the river.
The spans to the left and right of the center
pier moved away from their support piers,
to allow river traffic to pass unimpeded.
This photo of the west approach to the bridge shows the strong wooden
planking used to support vehicles. Although the bridge had not rotated
for many years, it was used by vehicular traffic until the winter of 1993,
when its west supporting pier was damaged by high-water debris,
according to John R. Stanard in Volume I of Butler County,
a Pictorial History. For many years, the highway department
blocked both bridge approaches with piles of gravel, but the
bridge can now be used by small vehicles.
A circular track with gear teeth is positioned on top of the
cylindrical center concrete pier. A crank was inserted
vertically down through the middle of the bridge, to
manually turn cogs which moved the bridge horizontally
away from the east and west support piers, to align the
bridge north and south, parallel to the river.
The Hargrove Bridge was featured in the Oct. 12, 1995,
issue of the Daily American Republic Poplar Bluff
newspaper, in an article by staff writer Linda Redifer.
The bridge can be visited by car. From the Black River bridge
on Missouri highway 53 north of Qulin, visitors can proceed
north about a mile to the intersection of highway HH.
The Hargrove Bridge is located on gravel Butler County Road 658,
about a quarter-mile east of highway 53. This old bridge over
Black River can be seen easily to the east of highway 53.
All photos ©1997 by Hal Miller
Photos taken with Sony Mavica® MVC-FD7,
except for the third photo showing the west approach.
That third photo was taken with a Kodak DC-40.