Barteau Bridge

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Also known as: Shioc Road Bridge, B-44-912
N. of WI 187 crossing of Shioc R., Bovina, Wisconsin

Stone arch bridge over Shioc River on Pedestrian Walkway


The North Face

"The ring stones are uniformly about 2 feet in height and 6 to 9 inches across."¹

Photo taken by J.R. Manning in August 2007


Brief History of the Bridge 

Written by J.R. Manning

"In May, 1875, the county board appropriated $300 to assist the town of Bovina to build a bridge across Shioc river on Section 16. Resolutions deploring the removal of John Stephens from the state were passed; he was one of the first settlers and afterward prominent. There was much contention as to which paper should be given the county printing."

--Part 1 | History of Outagamie County, Wisconsin by Thomas Henry Ryan.

The bridge built was a wood and iron bridge that was seriously deteriorated by the early 1900's. The town board voted to build a stone bridge at the same location, and hired John H. Hayes of Appleton, a civil engineer responsible for the design of 19 of the 35 stone arch bridges built in Outagamie County in this era. James P. Garvey was hired to build the bridge at the unheard-of cost of $7,633.

Hayes abandoned local limestone and specified stone from a quarry in the Town of Cicero, about 10 miles to the north. The bridge took two years to build, due to difficulty in building a solid foundation that required extensive blasting. "1905" is scratched into the concrete in the northeast corner of the bridge.

According to measurements taken in a 1986 State DOT sponsored survey, the center arches "...rise 4 feet over spans of 32 feet 6 inches. The end arches rise about 4 feet over spans of 30 feet 6 inches. The ring stones are uniformly about 2 feet in height and 6 to 9 inches across. Cast iron drain spouts are set in the spandrel walls."¹

The bridge was part of State Highway 187. In the 1980's, the historical significance of the bridge was recognized and bypassed by new bridges that carry 187 today.

The bridge is significant for several reasons. One, it is part of the heritage of John Hayes, who designed over half of the stone arch bridges in Wisconsin in the early 20th Century. This bridge is the best-preserved example of the stone arch designs of the era. The four arches are long, enhancing the graceful lines of the structure.

Matt Carpenter, of the Fox Valley History Project told me that the first bridge was built in 1881. He confirmed that the contractor for the stone arch bridge was Mr. Garvey, from Town of Freedom.

Q: How did Embarrass, Wisconsin, and the Embarrass River, get their name?

A: The village's founding fathers weren't commemorating an event that left them red-faced. They took the name from a local river that lumberjacks often found impassable--and embarras is French for "hindrance" or "obstacle."

¹Hess, Jeffrey A. and Frame, Robert M. III, Historic Highway Bridges In Wisconsin (Madison, WI: Wisconsin Department of Transportation, 1986, p. 151)

Essay edited and updated August 1, 2008.

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on March 28, 2002
Reference number
Architectural style
Other architectural type; Stone arch Bridge
Area of significance
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
C - Design/Construction
Property type
Historic function
Period of significance
Significant year

Update Log 

  • July 5, 2010: Essay added by J.R. Manning
  • July 5, 2010: New photos from J.R. Manning