Natural Bridge Near Sun City, Barber County, Kansas Barber County, Kansas.  

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Natural Bridge Near Sun City, Barber County, Kansas

Natural Bridge Near Sun City, Barber County, Kansas.

Photo from the collection of Brenda McLain, courtesy of Kim Fowles.
Natural Bridge Near Sun City, Barber County, Kansas.     (Photo 1C)
Photo from the collection of Brenda McLain, courtesy of Kim Fowles.

Natural Bridge Near Sun City, Barber County, Kansas.

Photo from the collection of Brenda McLain, courtesy of Kim Fowles.
Natural Bridge Near Sun City, Barber County, Kansas.     (Photo 1A)
Photo from the collection of Brenda McLain, courtesy of Kim Fowles.

Natural Bridge Near Sun City, Barber County, Kansas.

Photo from the collection of Brenda McLain, courtesy of Kim Fowles.
Natural Bridge Near Sun City, Barber County, Kansas.     (Photo 1D)
The man standing at far right is Marion McLain.
Photo from the collection of Brenda McLain, courtesy of Kim Fowles.
(The above photo is a double exposure. Note the men in the trees in the "background".)

Natural Bridge Near Sun City, Barber County, Kansas.

Photo from the collection of Kim Fowles.
Natural Bridge Near Sun City, Barber County, Kansas.     (Photo 1D)
Photo from the collection of Kim Fowles.

Natural Bridge Near Sun City, Barber County, Kansas.

Photo from the collection of Brenda McLain, courtesy of Kim Fowles.
Natural Bridge Near Sun City, Barber County, Kansas.     (Photo 2C)
Photo from the collection of Brenda McLain, courtesy of Kim Fowles.

Natural Bridge Near Sun City, Barber County, Kansas.

Photo from the collection of Kim Fowles.
Natural Bridge Near Sun City, Barber County, Kansas.     (Photo 3)
The woman in the back row at far left may be Bernice Hoagland.
Photo from the collection of Kim Fowles.

Natural Bridge Near Sun City, Barber County, Kansas.

Photo from the collection of Brenda McLain, courtesy of Kim Fowles.
Natural Bridge Near Sun City, Barber County, Kansas.     (Photo 2D)
Photo from the collection of Brenda McLain, courtesy of Kim Fowles.

Natural Bridge Near Sun City, Barber County, Kansas.

Photo from the collection of Brenda McLain, courtesy of Kim Fowles.
Natural Bridge Near Sun City, Barber County, Kansas.     (Photo 4)
Photo from the collection of Kim Fowles.

Natural Bridge Near Sun City, Barber County, Kansas.

Photo from the collection of Kim Fowles.
Natural Bridge Near Sun City, Barber County, Kansas.     (Photo 2A)
Photo from the collection of Brenda McLain, courtesy of Kim Fowles.

Natural Bridge in Red Hills, 1952.

Photo by Stan Roth.
Natural Bridge in Red Hills, 1952.
Photo by Stan Roth, Lawrence, Kansas, courtesy of the Kansas Geological Society.
Source: http://abyss.kgs.ku.edu/pls/abyss/pubcat.phd1.View_Photo?f_id=2604&f_hd=Y

Red Hills Natural Bridge, 1960.

Photo by Stan Roth.
Red Hills Natural Bridge, 1960.
Photo by Stan Roth, Lawrence, Kansas, courtesy of the Kansas Geological Society.
Source: http://abyss.kgs.ku.edu/pls/abyss/pubcat.phd1.View_Photo?f_id=2605&f_hd=Y

Red Hills Natural Bridge, 12 August 1961.

Photo by Stan Roth.
Red Hills Natural Bridge, 12 August 1961.
Photo by Stan Roth, Lawrence, Kansas, courtesy of the Kansas Geological Society.
Source: http://abyss.kgs.ku.edu/pls/abyss/pubcat.phd1.View_Photo?f_id=2608&f_hd=Y

Natural Bridge Over Bear Creek.

Photo by Stan Roth.
Natural Bridge Over Bear Creek.
Photo by Stan Roth, Lawrence, Kansas, courtesy of the Kansas Geological Society.
Source: http://abyss.kgs.ku.edu/pls/abyss/pubcat.phd1.View_Photo?f_id=2609&f_hd=Y


Also see: Photos of Barber County - Kansas Geological Survey Photo Library from the Kansas Geological Survey, http://www.kgs.ku.edu/Images/DB/index.html

The bridge collapsed circa 1961-62, see the above link for photos of the collapsed bridge from various angles.


Natural Bridge near Sun City, Kansas, circa 1955.  

Photo from the collection of Myrna Henson Russ, courtesy of Bonnie (Garten) Shaffer.
Natural Bridge near Sun City, Kansas, circa 1955.
Photo from the collection of Myrna Henson Russ, courtesy of Bonnie (Garten) Shaffer.

Men at one entrance of the small tunnel at the Natural Bridge near Sun City, Barber County, Kansas.

Photo from the collection of Elizabeth Hoagland, 
courtesy of Kim (Hoagland) Fowles.

CLICK HERE to view a larger copy of this image.
Men at one entrance of the small tunnel at the Natural Bridge
near Sun City, Barber County, Kansas
Photo from the collection of Elizabeth (Covington) Hoagland,
courtesy of Kim (Hoagland) Fowles.

View Larger Image

Natural Bridge Near Sun City, Barber County, Kansas.

Photo from the collection of Lee (Massey) Ives, courtesy of Kim Fowles.
Lee Massey at the Natural Bridge Near Sun City, Barber County, Kansas.
Photo from the collection of Lee (Massey) Ives, courtesy of Kim Fowles.

(L-R) Small child, David Massey, Nathan Massey, Mark McLain, Kent Massey and  Lee Massey at the Natural Bridge Near Sun City, Barber County, Kansas.

Photo from the collection of Lee (Massey) Ives, courtesy of Kim Fowles.
(L-R) Small child, David Massey, Nathan Massey, Mark McLain, Kent Massey and Lee Massey
at the Natural Bridge Near Sun City, Barber County, Kansas.
Photo from the collection of Lee (Massey) Ives, courtesy of Kim Fowles.

"These pictures were taken when we had a family picnic at the Natural Bridge. We went many times. There was a cave that ran from one side to the other. It was exciting to go thru. I was always afraid of Rattlesnakes. It was always cool. There was a ledge along one wall and I was afraid snakes would like it." - Lee (Massey) Ives, 28 October 2005.


Natural Bridge

The western part of Barber and the eastern portion of Comanche counties furnish specimens of natural bridges, which are located in the gypsum deposits of that locality. These bridges represent remnants of old caves or underground water channels, whose roofs have partly fallen in. One of the best specimens of these bridges is found on Bear creek, south of Sun City, Barber county, and is thus described by Prof. F. W. Cragin: "This bridge spans the canyon of the creek, here about 55 feet from wall to wall. The height of the bridge above the bed of the creek is at the highest point 47 feet, at lowest 31, and at middle 38. The width of the bridge at the middle is 35 feet. The upper surface of the bridge declines toward the down-stream side, but not so much that a wagon drawn by a steady team could not be driven across it. The thickness of the arch is therefore greater on the up-stream side, where it measures 26 feet, than on the down-stream. The relief of the vicinity seems to indicate that at a geologically recent time Bear creek here flowed to the east of its present course, and that its waters, becoming partially diverted by an incipient cave, enlarged the latter, and finally were entirely stolen by it, the cave at length collapsing, save at the portion now constituting the natural bridge." -- Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history... Vol. II, p. 336, Chicago, 1912.


Barber County Index, February 20, 1942.

One of Barber County's scenic wonders, the Natural Bridge, a well known rock formation near Sun City, will become state property if a resolution now pending in the Kansas legislature is passed. Thursday the house passed and sent to the senate a joint resolution directing the Kansas Fish and Game Commission to acquire without cost the following historical sites: Not to exceed 75 acres in Gove County known as Monument Rocks and Sphynx, not to exceed 200 acres in the same county known as Castle Rock, not to exceed 30 acres in Ottawa County known as Rock City, not to exceed 30 acres in Barber County known as Natural Bridge.

Proponents argued the sites were of unusual historical interest and should be supervised and promoted by a state body.

(Article contributed by Phyllis Scherich.)


Exchange of emails, 30 April 2005:

Nancy Smith: "Did you ever go to the Natural Bridge that was somewhere in the vicinity of Sun City, Kansas? It's gone now too - caved in years ago. In some of those old 8MM movies I had transferred to DVD, there are shots of our family (Grandma and Grandpa Smith, Grandma's sister Maude Taves and her husband Bill, my dad's siblings and their families, and us. I think we must have all crawled through the really small tunnel that was under the bridge, as most everyone was seen coming out of it, shaking the dirt off, laughing and having a good time!"

Jerry Ferrin: "Yes, I did. Dad took my brothers and me to see the natural bridge and crawl through that tunnel (which I recall as being to the left side of the main opening as we approached the natural bridge from where we parked) just before the landowner had the bridge and tunnel dynamited, which is what Dad said happened to it. It was a liability issue, I was told, and the landowner didn't want people going on his or her land to visit it, which people had been doing for years. Dad had heard the natural bridge was to be destroyed, and took us to see it soon before that was done."


Exchange of emails, Kim Fowles & David Massey, 27 Oct 2005:

Kim Fowles: This page has photos of the natural bridge. Did you guys ever go there?

David Massey: Yes, we sure did, Kim. It was one of those places that you visited so regularly that you don't remember the first time. After you got to be high school age I think the Natural Bridge and Hell's Half-Acre were some of the more favored places to go to take snap-shots with your Kodaks (Brownies).

One other place the high school boys would oft times go was to Havard's cave. It was no place for girls 'cause you had to be real brave to go into them (because after you got inside it was more like a series of caves.) The tough part was the entrance as you had to lower yourself down into a sink-hole finally get yourself flat on your stomach and wiggle yourself in for several feet, then it would open up and finally you could stand up. It was fairly spacious and don't remember how big it was now, but I'm sure it was a lot less than I remember it. The first fellow that entered it had to have had nerves of steel as there is very little wiggle room at the beginning and its not easy to wiggle backwards if you met something that did not welcome you.

Sam Helton.  Photo courtesy of Beth Larkin Davis.


At left: Sam Helton. Photo courtesy of Beth Larkin Davis.

One of the oft told stories of the older guys was the story of Sam Helton, Louie Bissantz and the Cougar.

Irl Shutts told it to me last and he was a good story teller. Although Louie was a merchant, his heart's desire was to be a cowboy, or a hunter, trapper or most anything romantic. Sam hunted and trapped and Louie ever bothered Sam to take him with him to hunt coyotes, bob-cats and sometimes wolves or cougars.

There had been a cougar in the area and Sam had been hunting him, finally allowing Louie to accompany him. Sam tracked the Cougar to Havard's cave and determined to go in and check it out (that was a fellow with more than his share of nerve). Louie posted himself on the surface at the top of the sink-hole to shoot the critter if he got by Sam.

Sure enough that sucker was in there and Sam shot him right at the bottom of the hole and in his death throes the cat lept straight up Louie was so startled he fell over on his back and shot straight up in the air (this was the story according to Sam). The story according to Louie was that Sam went in, spooked him, took a shot at him, missed, the critter jumped out and Louie said "Pie Chinks, I shot the sonofapitch".


"The Hutchinson News-Herald has continued the publication of a series of pictures of "Historic, Beautiful Kansas," by Russell Walker of St. John, which was begun in August, 1947. Included among recent pictures are: Coronado Heights, near Lindsborg, September 8; Horse Thief canyon, west of Jetmore, September 15; old Fort Fletcher, near Walker, September 22; buffalo tracks, between Ellsworth and Lyons, September 29; the First Territorial Capitol building, near Fort Riley, October 6; Castle Rock, Gove county, 13 miles south of Collyer, October 13; Negro Baptist church that was once the Stevens county courthouse, Hugoton, November 3; the Morton county courthouse, Richfield, built in 1889, November 10; the home of Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, Abilene, November 17; Hell's Half-Acre, ten miles west of Sun City, November 24; chalk formations, Logan county, December 1; Natural Bridge, five miles south of Sun City, December 8; Mushroom or Toadstool Rock, near Carneiro..." -- Kansas History as Published in the Press, Kansas State Historical Society.


Also see:

Cowboy Rock near Sun City, Barber County, Kansas   Photos from the collection of Kim Fowles.

Gypsum Quarries, Mines and Mills in Barber County, Kansas

Photos of Barber County, Kansas, from the Kansas Geological Society

Papers of the Federal Writer's Project of the Works Projects Administration for Kansas, MS 71-1 Box 2, FF 4, Title/County: Barber County. Description/Author: Watson, Horace J. - Topic: Points of Scenic Interest -- The Natural Bridge. Topic: Points of Interest -- History - Sun City.


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