The historic Beaver Bridge – sometimes called the Little Golden Gate of Arkansas – carries Highway 187 traffic across the White River and is the last suspension bridge of its type in the Nature State.
Built in 1949, the beautiful old bridge is 554 feet long and only 11 feet wide. Because it is so narrow, cars can only cross it moving in one direction at a time. Oncoming traffic must wait its turn.
The bridge is in the little town of Beaver, Arkansas, which at last count had fewer than 100 residents. It is a much loved sight for residents and visitors to the historic and mysterious Ozarks. The community’s size adds to its charm. Historic and surrounded by rolling mountains, it features not only the bridge but a nice waterfront park and a rich history.
If Beaver looks a bit familiar to you, its bridge was featured in the 2005 movie Elizabethtown starring Orlando Bloom and Kirsten Dunst. The nearby railroad bridge also performed a starring role. It was featured in the television mini-series The Blue and the Gray.
The river crossing at Beaver has a rich history dating back to well before the Civil War. A settlement named Rector’s Place was founded here as early as 1847. The town gained its present name in 1850 when an early settler named Wilson A. Beaver came to live at the site. He operated a ferry, inn and gristmill by the White River and with his family witnessed some of the most dramatic events in American history.
Members of the ill-fated Fancher party, for example, crossed its wagons over the White River at Beaver in 1857. They joined with the Baker party and other groups in Benton County and started west for California. The Baker-Fancher Party, as it became known, was attacked in Utah and 120-140 members were murdered in an event remembered today as the Mountain Meadows Massacre.
The crossing was used extensively during the Civil War by soldiers, civilians and even bands of outlaw raiders that came from hideouts deep in the Ozarks to strike isolated family homesteads and communities. Gen. Sterling Price brought his Confederate troops here in 1862 to cross the White River in the days after the bloody Battle of Pea Ridge. The soldiers were cold, hungry and exhausted but made it across.
Beaver settled into more peaceful times as a popular recreation spot and river crossing after the war. The beautiful old suspension bridge was bid to the Pioneer Construction Company in 1947 and completed in 1949. Floods and time damaged it through the years but thanks to repairs and tender loving care it remains in use today and is a treasure of the mountains.
The bridge is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Beaver Bridge is where Arkansas Highway 187 crosses the White River (Table Rock Lake) at Beaver, Arkansas. It is just a short distance north of historic Eureka Springs or southwest of Branson, Missouri. From there, travel north on Arkansas Highway 23 (North Main Street) for 4 miles and then turn left on Arkansas Highway 187. Continue another 2.6 miles and you will arrive at the bridge. See the map at the bottom of the page for directions.
The best spot to see and photograph it is from the riverfront park areas along the banks of the river.
For a view of the bridge from above, click play to enjoy this drone footage: