Miller’s Ree Creek Bridge is the oldest and best-preserved example of only three surviving Marsh rainbow arch bridges in South Dakota. James B. Marsh patented this structure type in 1912, and although his design was popular in the 1920s throughout the eastern and Midwestern states, it was rarely used in South Dakota, where Pratt steel pony trusses were more common.
The Iowa Bridge Company of Des Moines erected the bridge in 1914 on the western edge of Miller. The single-span, reinforced concrete bridge consists of two parallel semicircular arches, with the deck system suspended by four pairs of reinforced concrete hangars. The bridge is 42 feet long and 22 feet wide, and the deck is suspended 10 feet above the creek. A reinforced concrete railing runs along each side of the bridge. A characteristic of the Marsh rainbow arch system is that the arch and deck systems can move independently of each other to accommodate temperature changes. This is accomplished through the use of expansion plates between the deck and the arches; the deck can also move freely over the concrete abutments connecting the lower and upper portions.
The Ree Creek drains into the James River, and the bridge’s construction allowed rural Hand County residents to access Miller, the county seat. Today, the City of Miller owns and maintains the bridge.
Nelson, Jim, “Miller Ree Creek Bridge,” Hand County, South Dakota. National Register of Historic Places Registration Form, 1988. National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C.