New bridge spans North Platte River
Early settlers along the Upper North Platte River, just north of the Wyoming/Colorado border, found themselves isolated on the fertile ranches unless they could ford the river, cross on the ice or build a bridge.
Perhaps the earliest of the bridge builders in the valley was Billy Butler who had settled in 1878 on what is now the 1 Bar 11 ranch east of Encampment. In the 40 years he was in the valley he built many bridges including one at the crossing that still bears his name – the Butler Bridge – that spans the Platte on the Brush Creek road at the One Bar Eleven.
According to articles in the Platte Valley Lyre on Feb. 4, 1892, “W. H. Butler has gone up the river to work on the Ira Barcus bridge.”
Feb. 11, 1892: “The new bridge across the Platte River at the Barcus Ranch is about completed.
“It is 208 feet long and is supported by five piers. These piers are heavy log cribs, filled with stone and are triangular in shape, the points extending up the river.
“Old timers say that it will be almost impossible for the bridge, as it is now constructed, to be washed away as was the old structure last spring.
“The bridge is being built by ranchmen of the vicinity, with Mr. Ira Barcus bearing the largest share of the expense. Others who expect to use it will have given their time and labor for one day or more in getting out logs.”