Local historian to give lecture on Rockville Bridge

Rockville Bridge, Rockville, Utah, Date not given | Photo courtesy of Washington County Historical Society, St. George News

ROCKVILLE— Richard R. Kohler, the president of the Washington County Historical Society, will discuss the historical and architectural significance of the Rockville Bridge on Thursday at 6 p.m. in the Rockville Community Center located at 43 E. Main Street in Rockville,  Utah. Attendance is free and open to the public; doors open at 5:30 p.m.

Rockville Bridge, Rockville, Utah, Date not given | Photo courtesy of Washington County Historical Society, St. George News
Rockville Bridge, Rockville, Utah, Date not given | Photo courtesy of Washington County Historical Society, St. George News

The Rockville Bridge is a Parker through-truss bridge crossing the Virgin River. Built in 1924 as an essential automobile link between the recently established Zion Nation Park and the north rim of the Grand Canyon, this bridge was mostly funded by the National Park Service. The first NPS director, Stephen Mather, personally paid $5,000 towards its construction, the equivalent to $68,000 today.

Architecturally and technologically significant, the Rockville Bridge is the last surviving Parker through truss bridge in the state of Utah. A single lane structure spanning 217 feet across the Virgin River, it is the only public crossing of the river for 14.5 miles. Connecting locals and tourists alike to Goosberry Mesa, Smithsonian Butte and Grafton, this iconic landmark is part of the reason Rockville residents refer to their town as “Utah’s last treasure”.

Richard P. Kohler President of the Washington County Historical Society, Rome, Italy, Date not given | Photo courtesy of Washington County Historical Society, St. George News
Richard P. Kohler President of the Washington County Historical Society, Rome, Italy, Date not given | Photo courtesy of Washington County Historical Society, St. George News

“The Rockville Bridge has been on the National Register since 1995, and the US Secretary of the Interior’s standards state that ‘every reasonable effort shall be made to continue a historic bridge in useful transportation service,'” Kohler said. “‘Primary consideration shall be given to rehabilitation of the bridge site. Only when this option has been considered shall other alternatives be explored.'”

Come and learn  more about this rare Southern Utah gem. The talk is sure to be informative and refreshments will be served. For more information, please call 435-772-0992.

Richard P. Kohler is an architect and historian currently serving as president of the Washington County Historical Society. He received a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Utah and a Master of Architecture from the University of Hawaii, completing postgraduate studies at Harvard University.

Event details

  • What: Lecture on historic Rockville Bridge
  • When: Thursday, April 7, 5:30 p.m.
  • Where: Rockville Community Center, 43 E. Main Street in Rockville
  • Admission: Free

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