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Stone Arch Bridges DVD/VHS

Nestled in the valleys and hollars of Cowley County, Kansas, are eighteen stone arch bridges, all built before 1920. In recent years, they've become a popular tour destination as well as subjects for artists and photographers thoughout the region. They have also been featured in magazines, newspapers, and, since 1997, over 2000 people have taken the annual fall and spring tours sponsored by the Denton Art Center.

Now the bridges have become the 'stars' of a new DVD/VHS produced by Gary Gackstatter and Michael Beauchamp which weaves art, music, photography and film into a unique program designed to share the bridges' beauty and history, and hopefully raise awareness about preserving them for future generations. The 55-minute film starts with "A Little Bridge Story" in which Gackstatter tells a brief history of the bridges and pays tribute to the men who built them, which is followed by the PBS "Sunflower Journeys" PBS documentary done by Jim Kelly in 2000.

 

Next, each bridge in the county is featured, showing their dates and dedication plaques. The next chapter focuses on Gackstatter's pen and ink drawings of the bridges, churches and barns in the area, which is followed by film of the destruction of the Dutch Creek Bridge near Floral, KS, in which a county road crew uses a wrecking ball to knock the bridge into the water with a huge splash. "It's pretty horrifying to see. I was the last person to stand on that bridge," said Gackstatter.

Also on the DVD/VHS is film of the annual tours and Beauchamp's photographyof limestone bridges and buildings in the county. Gackstatter's acoustic guitar playing and songs, "This Old Bridge" and "The Muse Song" are featured throughout the DVD. Proceeds from the sales of the DVD/VHS benefit the Denton Art Center.