Telephone Road Bridge over Brays Bayou - 1931 -Houston, TX
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member jhuoni
N 29° 42.520 W 095° 18.796
15R E 276210 N 3288743
Quick Description: Time and too many coats of paint have made this plate a little difficult to read, but it still can be read.
Location: Texas, United States
Date Posted: 2/24/2020 8:08:03 PM
Waymark Code: WM124D0
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member wayfrog
Views: 2

Long Description:
Telephone Road Bridge
Built by
City of Houston
Walter E. Monteith, mayor
D Barker S.A. Starkey
H.A. Delery Jas.H.B. House
J.M. Nagle, City Engineer
J.G. McKenzie, Bridge Engineer
L.C. Wagner, Ass’t. Engineer
B.P. Panas & Co. Inc., Contractors
Houston, Texas

Telephone Road Bridge over Brays Bayou

Section 2, 7 Page 5

This bridge is located on Telephone Road at Brays Bayou southwest of Forest Park Cemetery in Houston, Harris County, Texas.


The 1931 Telephone Road Bridge over Brays Bayou in Houston, Texas, is a continuous span concrete girder bridge. Special design features of the bridge include cantilevered sidewalks, a concrete um balustrade railing, and battered concrete bents. The bridge retains a high degree of integrity.

General Specifications (bridge)
  • Type: continuous concrete girder
  • No. spans: 5
  • Main span length: 60'
  • Roadway Width: 40'
  • Overall length: 381
  • Deck type: concrete
  • Piers/Interior bents: concrete bents
  • Abutments/End Bents: concrete

The Telephone Road Bridge is a continuous span concrete girder bridge, composed of five reinforced concrete girder and floor beam spans. The superstructure is supported by four battered concrete bents and a concrete abutment at each end. The roadway, which is forty feet wide and carries four lanes of traffic, is flanked by cantilevered concrete sidewalks with concrete urn balustrade railings. The balustrade railings are supported by concrete newel posts decorated with square panels and capitals. The bridge retains the plaque installed during construction; the plaque lists the engineer, contractor, and city office

Section 8: Statement of Significance

The 1931 Telephone Road Bridge over Brays Bayou in Houston, Texas is significant for its unique design and balustrade um railing. The bridge's design elements were influenced by the City-Beautiful movement, as were many of the bridges designed during this time by city bridge engineer J.G. McKenzie. It is one of a handful of remaining intact examples of bayou crossings constructed in Houston as part of a 1930s street improvement bond issue. This bridge retains integrity of design, materials, workmanship, location, setting, feeling, and association and is nominated to the National Register of Historic Places under Criterion C in the area of engineering at the state level of significance

Telephone Road Bridge over Brays Bayou

The Telephone Road Bridge exists at one of the oldest crossings in Harris County, used by planters in the Clear Creek area and Sims Bayou to travel to Houston for trade. This bridge was constructed in 1931 for the City of Houston and replaced an earlier timber bridge that was frequently threatened by flooding and was at a dangerous curve on Telephone Road; the 1931 bridge was placed on new alignment to address the safety issue caused by the curve. Telephone Road remained a major travel route between Houston and its eastern suburbs, as well as to the Galveston and LaPorte Roads, until the construction of Highway 45 in the 1950s.

The bridge was designed by city bridge engineer J.G. McKenzie and constructed by contractor B.P. Panas & Company in 1931 for approximately $42,000, as part of a 1930 City of Houston bond issue. The construction of the Telephone Road Bridge was part of the final phase of Houston's parkway plan and is a typical example of McKenzie's use of reinforced concrete girder and urn balustrade design, streamlined to reflect changes in bridge design. As part of the City Beautiful aesthetic, McKenzie designed the girders with a shallow curve to soften the lines of the reinforced concrete girder bridge, and also designed battered bents.

The Telephone Road Bridge at Brays Bayou was determined eligible for the National Register of Historic Places under Criterion C at the state level of significance during a 1999 survey of non-truss historic bridges in Texas conducted by Texas Department of Transportation and Texas Historical Commission. Reinforced concrete girder bridges are considered historically significant if they retain integrity and feature decorative design. This bridge is a typical example of a reinforced concrete girder bridge constructed in the early twentieth century, and as a representative of the City Beautiful movement, features neoclassical elements such as an urn balustrade, battered bents, and other decorative features. Although records indicate that the bridge has been impacted by pier protection activities and other projects, it is largely unaltered and retains its urn balustrade bridge railing and other details that contribute to its significance for engineering and as an example of bridges constructed during the City Beautiful movement in Houston. It is a significant example of its type in the state, as it is one of only eleven Texas bridges with an urn balustrade railing. In addition, as a concrete girder bridge, it is a representative later example of the type; earlier City Beautiful bridges with urn balustrade railings in Texas were closed spandrel arch bridges.

Date built or dedicated as indicated on the date stone or plaque.: 1931

Date stone, plaque location.: South end of bridge, closest to Wheeler Street.

Road, body of water, land feature, etc. that the bridge spans.: Brays Bayou

Website (if available): Not listed

Parking (safe parking location): Not Listed

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