95-year-old Haskins Bridge collapses in Newton County at Jolly Mill Park

Joplin News First

Newton County, Mo. — Information obtained on site at Jolly Mill Park that a tree fell Friday striking the historic metal and wooden bridge on the western edge of the park and it came crashing down into Capps Creek, no one was injured. It had been fenced off for some time to foot traffic.

For the safety of the public for now the park has been closed until they can figure out a plan. Park officials have contacted the DNR since metal has fallen into the waterway which is stocked by the Missouri Department of Conservation.

“Donated in 2000, 3 acres with a bridge.
Donated by Frank A. and Pauline A. Haskins.
Frank – son of F.L. and Jocie Haskins was born at Jolly and lived his life as a miller and farmer in the Jolly Community.
Pauline – daughter of Willie and Bessie Wimsatt was born and raised southwest of Monett. She married Frank in 1941 and was a loving mother to 8 children.
Please enjoy their memory.
Bridge erected 1926. Donated in 2000.”

This bridge that fell is called the Haskins Bridge. It was gifted to Jolly Mill Park in 2000 by the Haskins Family along with three acres of land. For 74 years it served as the bridge for vehicle traffic on the county road, Jolly Mill Drive. The bridge this year is 95 years old.

We spent some time with with Mr. Haskins who lives nearby and is on the board of Jolly Mill Park. He told us stories of his father and grandfather. He said his grandfather bought the land that the park sits on in 1912. He points out to us the plaque on the new bridge built in 2000 over Capps Creek, which his land is adjacent to, the Haskin names. William Frank Haskins 1854 – 1934; Frank Leslie Haskins 1884 -1951; Frank Allison Haskins 1918 -1990; Norman Leslie Haskins 1921 – 1995.

The Jolly Mill Park Board has not met yet to decide the fate of the twisted metal that remains.

“Jolly Mill began in 1848 and was named after a local family by the name of Jolly. It was a grist mill built on Capps Creek which is a tributary to Shoal Creek which runs through Joplin, Missouri. Thomas Isbell and his son John ran the mill to serve as a whiskey distillery. The success of the mill led to the establishment in the 1850s and subsequent growth of the town of Jollification, the name referring to the unnaturally jovial disposition of the people who worked in and around the distillery.WIKI

The town was burned during the Civil War, but the mill survived. The town was somewhat rebuilt in the 1870’s. The mill was purchased in 1983 by The Friends of Jolly Mill and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is currently a privately supported recreational facility operated by a board of directors.

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