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Devil's Elbow Bridge

The town’s picturesque setting has led film producers from around the world to record parts of their movies and TV shows in the area. Upon viewing the guest registry at Sheldon’s Market, one will discover that many of the visitors are from overseas.

Although Devil’s Elbow is a sleepy Ozark town, the fame of Route 66 and its scenery attract visitors from worldwide. The visitor to Devil’s Elbow will also notice others slowly driving across the old steel truss bridge taking both still and moving pictures, no matter the time of day or week.

Devil's Elbow Bridge

The bridge was constructed by use of hot rivets in 1923 to serve Missouri Route 14. When Route 66 was laid across the country in 1926, the pre-existing bridge served as a convenient and cost saving alignment over the Big Piney River.

Picturesque view from Devil's Elbow Bridge

The view of the 200 foot tall bluffs of Gasconade dolomite visible from the bridge was once described as being one of the "seven scenic wonders of Missouri" in literature from the Missouri Planning Commission. (reference)

As war spread around the world in the late 1930’s, the United States government began to prepare for the worst while hoping for peace. Existing military installations were improved and many new bases were constructed around the country. Ft. Leonard Wood in Pulaski County, MO was built in a matter of months to serve as an Army training center.

During the 1970’s, it was noticed that the concrete bridge piers were cracking and starting to spread apart. Steel plates were attached to the top of the piers and pressed against the concrete by using tensioned steel cables in order to confine the concrete and hold the piers intact. This was the last major maintenance performed on the old bridge.

Upon driving across the bridge, it appears to need sandblasting and a paint job. Surface rust is visible on the steel but the structure is sound. Unfortunately it is a whole different scene underneath the bridge. The paint has deteriorated and severe rust has set in where moisture collects, especially at the south end of the bridge.

Surface rust is visible on the steel but the structure is sound.

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