John Baptiste Richard, a French mountain man and Indian trader, built
a series of bridges to cross the North Platte.(
Americans pronounced his name Reshaw, leading to the popular spelling
The first bridge was built in 1851 just north of present-day Glenrock
at the site of an old Indian ford and
popular 1849 ferry. This bridge was described as a financial success but
an engineering failure; it washed away in the spring floods of 1852.In
1853, Reshaw built his second toll bridge twenty-two miles upstream from
his first bridge in what is now Evansville, Wyoming. The bridge cost between
$14,000 to $16,000 to build and lasted until 1865. It put the ferries
on the North Platte River out of business. During high water, Richard
charged a $5 toll to cross. When the river was low, the fee dropped so
that Richard could continue to keep his customers. It was the dominant
crossing site for the North Platte, even after construction of the Guinard
Bridge at Fort Caspar. Fort Clay, also known as Camp Davis, was established
here in 1855/56 to protect the bridge traffic. Later," Camp Payne"
or Post at Platte Bridge was located here in 1858/59.
another bridge was built about six miles upstream, at the site of old
Fort Caspar. Northside travelers would use Reshaw's Bridge to cross the
Platte and avoid the old road’s difficult sandhills. They would then cross
back over on the upper bridge.
Park Service Comprehensive Management Plan
There is an interpretive marker at the second site placed by the Oregon-California
Trails Association. This site could use better interpretation. In addition,
the replica bridge is deteriorating and its future status is not clear.
The NPS lists this as ahigh potential site.
is not listed on the National Register.
Public. Owned by City of Evansville and State of Wyoming.
to Reshaw’s Second Bridge
Natrona County, Wyoming. T34N/R79W
Wyoming (on the east edge of Casper), go north to the Oregon Trail Cemetery
Road, turn left at the river’s edge. The site is located in the Evansville
Sir Richard Burton on Reshaw’s Second Bridge (1860): "A wooden
bridge was built at this point some years ago at an expense of $26,000
by one Reshaw, who, if report does not belie him, has gained and lost
more fortunes than a Wall Street professional."