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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 above.) The first bridge was built in 1851 just north of present-day Glenrock at the site of an old Indian ford andPhotograph of bridge across the first crossing of the North Platte  1869 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.

In 1859, 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.

National 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.

The site is not listed on the National Register.

Ownership
Public. Owned by City of Evansville and State of Wyoming.

Directions to Reshaw’s Second Bridge
Natrona County, Wyoming. T34N/R79W

In Evansville, 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 Town Park.

Additional Information
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."

 

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