Toston Bridge

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Also known as: 24BW814
Spanning the Missouri R, on abandoned segment of old US 287, at Toston, Toston, Montana

Through truss bridge over Missouri River on CR 415 (Old US 287) at Toston


Toston Bridge Toston MT

View from the west

Photo taken by David Jones in June 2015




"Norwegian immigrant Tom Toston established a ranch and ferry near here in 1871. Strategically located at the junction of the Helena-Gallatin Valley Road and the road to Radersburg, a settlement quickly grew up around Toston’s ranch. Soon the town boasted a post office, mercantile, hotel, and a smelter to process ore from the Radersburg mines. A bridge replaced Toston’s ferry in the 1890s, but by the 1910s it had become unsafe. Local residents petitioned the Broadwater County commissioners to replace it. State Highway Department engineer Charles A. Kyle developed a riveted steel Warren through truss design for this Missouri River crossing in 1918. Inexpensive to build and known for its durability, the “W” configuration of the trusses is its trademark. In July 1919, the county commissioners awarded a contract to the Billings-based Security Bridge Company, a firm known for its high quality work. The company employed eleven men on the project, many of them local. Among these was long-time Toston resident William Lorentz. A native of Pennsylvania, Lorentz came to Toston in 1884 working for the Northern Pacific Railway. A carpenter by trade, he also served as the last superintendent of the Toston smelter and helped build bridges for the Montana Railroad Company. Completed in July 1920, the Toston Bridge became an integral part of the community because of its location on the highway between Helena and Bozeman. During the 1920s, teenage girls would parade across the bridge on summer evenings for lack of something better to do. The highway bypassed Toston and the bridge in 1955." - NRHP/Montana Historical Society plaque


Written by David Jones

This riveted, steel, Warren through truss bridge was built to replace another bridge built in the 1890's that had become unsafe. It was completed in July 1920. In 1955, Highway 287 was rerouted and bypassed both Toston and the bridge.

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on July 20, 2005
Reference number
Architectural style
Other architectural type; Warren through truss
Areas of significance
Engineering; Transportation
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
A - Event; C - Design/Construction
Property type
Historic function
Current function
Periods of significance
1900-1924; 1925-1949; 1950-1974
Significant years
1919; 1920

Update Log 

  • February 5, 2020: New photo from Bill Eichelberger
  • July 18, 2019: Updated by Richard Doody: Added historical information
  • December 2, 2018: Essay added by David Jones
  • December 2, 2018: New photos from David Jones