Historic District - Beaver Creek Bridge
NPS Photo by Jim Pisarowicz
The Beaver Creek Bridge is located 2 miles (3.2k) north of Wind Cave visitor center on S.D. Highway 87. It is also visible from a pullout on S.D. 87 near Centennial Trailhead 1.6 miles (2.6k) north of the visitor center. The Beaver Creek Bridge spans one of two perennial streams that flow into Wind Cave National Park. It is a deck arch bridge built of concrete and steel. It is 225 feet (69m) long and sits 115 feet (35m) above the canyon floor. The purpose of constructing the bridge in 1929 was to provide travelers a more suitable access to the newly developing Custer State Park to the north of Wind Cave National Park.
One of the significant accomplishments of the builders of the bridge was to create the illusion that the concrete arches rise naturally from the rock walls on opposite sides of the canyon. The nature of this bridge makes it historically significant. It is the only bridge of its particular arch type in the State of South Dakota. It is also only one of three "most significant bridges" in the Rocky Mountain region of the National Park System. Construction of this bridge was made possible through the efforts of Peter Norbeck, U.S. Senator from South Dakota. Senator Norbeck was also involved with the development of Custer State Park and scenic highways within the Black Hills.