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Entry Category: Water - Starting with D

Dardanelle Pontoon Bridge

The Dardanelle Pontoon Bridge was the largest pontoon bridge in existence in the United States, crossing the Arkansas River between Dardanelle (Yell County) and Russellville (Pope County). A toll bridge, it opened for traffic in 1891 and lasted until the construction of a steel bridge replacement in 1929. The bridge cost $25,000, financed by a group of stockholders and built by Roberts and Sons of Independence, Missouri. Construction started in 1889, and the bridge opened for traffic on April 1, 1891. It was over 2,200 feet long and eighteen feet wide, with a load limit of 9,000 pounds. Originally, each end of the bridge was anchored to a piling, and only the center actually floated. However, the fluctuation of the …

Defender [Steamboat]

The Defender was a Mississippi River steamboat that sank after hitting a snag near Laconia (Desha County) on April 14, 1860, killing at least three people. The Defender was a 294-ton sternwheel paddleboat built at Brownsville, Pennsylvania, in 1855. In 1860, it was commanded by a Captain Evans and running between New Orleans, Louisiana, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The vessel left New Orleans in April 1860 with a full load of cargo, including a reported “560 hogsheads sugar, 330 barrels molasses, 60 crates, 400 dry hides, 30 tons copper and iron, 300 sacks coffee, and a large amount of miscellaneous freight.” The steamboat also carried forty cabin passengers and thirty deck passengers. The Defender was steaming up the Mississippi River near …