Modern machines weren’t always used to make things easier in the days of the Great Depression. In August, 1931, Gov. Caulfield, said Missouri would do everything possible to relieve the unemployment crisis. Whenever it was possible to use manpower, machine operated equipment would set idle.

The program undoubtedly affected workers in Daviess County. Among the things suggested to achieve this goal were:

      • The replacing of old bridges over streams where old-type, narrow bridges were being used.
      • The use of manual labor in changing the channels of streams to protect bridges, and the construction of new bridges that were scheduled to be built in the next few years.
      • The bridge paint crews were to replace spray guns with brushes.
      • The mowing of weeds on right of ways by team instead of using power equipment.
      • The possible use of manual labor and teams on all contracts calling for the moving of less than 10,000 yards of dirt.
      • The grubbing and cleaning on all available right of ways to be done by hand.
      • The using of hand or team labor to widen curves on roads built on the old standards.
      • The building of culverts on all roads where the right of way had been obtained, as this type of work was not affected by winter conditions.
      • The completion of the grading of all sections then unapproved on the Centennial System as early as possible in 1933.
      • The stock piling of materials to be used in the next two or three years, and requiring the operators to use hand labor in quarrying the material.

— written, researched and presented by Wilbur Bush, Gallatin, MO


Many bridges in Daviess County as well as throughout Missouri were in use far past their life expectancy. Wooden planks laid over steel truss frameworks was construction common to the 1930s era. If flooding didn’t sweep these bridge structures away, then destruction often occurred due to aging collapse. Though picturesque in a rustic sort of way, these bridges were inadequate for modern transportation purposes. (circa 1980)