The Asylum Bridge in Osawatomie, Kansas is one of the most bizarre bridges that you will ever encounter. The first thing that you will notice is the name. The State of Kansas established a mental health facility in Osawatomie in the mid 1800s. Today, the facility is known as the Osawatomie State Hospital. The bridge, which was built in 1905 provided access to the facility from the town of Osawatomie.
The bridge is unique due to its unconventional design. The Kansas State Historical Society has classified it as a Reverse Parker Truss. It consists of one main span and two approach spans. The main span looks a bit like a Parker truss, but with the top chords upside down. Two strange metal towers connect the main span with the approach spans. These towers also hold large plaques commemorating the completion of the bridge. The Asylum Bridge was built by the Kansas City Bridge Company, but it looks nothing like other bridges built by the same firm. In fact, there are no other examples of this type of truss bridge anywhere in the world.
The bridge is abandoned now. It has survived floods and the march of time. I hope that someday this unique bridge can be restored. It is on the National Register of Historic Places. You can visit the bridge although it is abandoned. You just cannot walk or drive on it. This bridge has extremely high historical significance.