Friday, July 29, 2011

Pontoon Bridge, Kerrville's Louise Hays Park

When Kerrville built Louise Hays Park in a single day, it was quite a big deal.  One of the features of that day was a pontoon bridge crossing the Guadalupe.   It didn't last long; the next flood washed it away.  Therefore, photos of the pontoon bridge are rare.
Folks who were here in 1950 tell me the bridge crossed about where the Blue Bonnet Hotel once stood. That was about where the Pavilion stands today, near the end of Earl Garrett Street.  Some suggest the concrete bridge which stands there today was built near the spot of the pontoon bridge; I'm not sure.  If you know where the old pontoon bridge stood, please fill me in in the comments section below.
This photo was sent to me by Hilma Noble, who tells me the four women are her two grandmothers, her mother, and herself.
Click on any image to enlarge
Hilma Noble and her family on Louise Hays Park Pontoon Bridge, Kerrville, around 1950

The pontoon bridge under construction, Kerrville, 1950


  1. The top photo is the best shot of the pontoon bridge that I have ever seen.

    Thank you for sharing it with us.

  2. Looking at the second photo of the pontoon bridge confuses me.

    The pontoon bridge appears to be between the dam and the Sidney Baker Street Bridge.

    If that is true then the pontoon bridge could not have been located close to the low water concrete walkway (bridge) that is below the dam.

    Does anyone know when the current dam was constructed and the old dam demolished?

  3. In the top photo of the pontoon bridge, I can't determine what the structure is on the far side of the river. It might be a dock, but I'm not certain.

    But, I am certain that I do not see any of the old mill structures on the opposite side of the river.

    If the pontoon bridge was located below the dam, close to the existing foot bridge, I believe that some of the old mill would be in the photo.

    Because I don't see any of the old mill, I believe that this photo was taken above the dam, between the dam and the Sidney Baker Street Bridge.

  4. In the first photo, across the river, there appears to be a dock.

    Behind the dock, I see three objects that look like brick or rock retaining walls.

    Do those retaining walls still exist on the riverbank?

    If so, we could determine exactly where the pontoon bridge was located.

    Joe, once again, would you please put on your investigator's hat and seek out the evidence?

    We greatly rely on you for solving such mysteries.

  5. In both photos the barrels that are supporting the pontoon bridge appear to be floating in deep water.

    The current foot bridge that is located below the dam is in shallow water.

    I don't think the water depth, below the dam, would be deep enough to float a pontoon bridge.

  6. I have a theory about the depth of the water beneath the pontoon bridge versus the depth of the water beneath the current footbridge: I think the park, built in 1950, was built before the demolition of the old mill dam.

  7. Joe,

    Your theory is very plausible.

    I looked at the 700 - 800 blocks of Water Street on Google Map.

    Google clearly shows the old mill dam location.

    If the old mill dam still existed when the pontoon bridge was built, the bridge would have been located behind the Blue Bonnet Hotel.

    Adding the old mill dam to the equation makes all the puzzle pieces fit together.

    I wonder if those retaining walls still exist.


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