This fine old iron bridge was built in 1885 by the King Bridge Company of Cleveland, Ohio. Called the “Piano Bridge,” some say the name was derived from the twanging sound made while driving over it. Technically the sound was due to the piano-wire truss design.
But that twanging sound has been silenced since the bridge was renovated in 2011-2012 and the planks nailed down. Actually, it was a bit more involved than that: the bridge was lifted out of place, disassembled, repaired, reassembled and returned to it’s place over the river. You can read more about the repair and see photos here.
The bridge spans the Navidad River and connects the communities of High Hill and Dubina, Texas’ first Czech community. The connection enhanced the economic and social value of the communities. Piano Bridge has seen crossings made by horseback and horse-drawn carriages, Model T cars, and now, our modern vehicles.
It’s one of the few remaining iron bridges in Fayette County. Dimensions: 137.1 feet long (truss span 79 feet) and 11 feet wide. Vertical clearance is 14.8 feet.
Here’s a 360-degree view from the center of the bridge.
The Piano Bridge is located near Dubina on Piano Bridge Road 0.6 mile from the Saints Cyril and Methodius Church, one of the noted Painted Churches of Texas. Turning west off of FM 1383, a narrow gravel road curves north, passing in front of the church and social hall before curving west and descending toward the nearby Navidad River. This road, identified as County Road (CR) 480 or “Piano Bridge Road,” represents the remainder of the original route through Dubina, and the historic road bed is still visible heading north from the town. Sts. Cyril and Methodius Church, one of the painted churches, sits just a few yards east of the road. Just across the road to the west, and included in the church’s property, is an undeveloped piece of native prairie, referred to as the “Fayette Grasslands.”
This area has a lot of great back roads, and is home to several of the fabulous and famous painted churches.
Photo Mabry Campbell, Erik Pronske