Steven A. Jent
The Historic Bridges of Denton County
In the late 19th century Denton County, Texas built iron truss bridges across many of its rivers and creeks. Today they are precious historic artifacts. Some are still in use, some have been bypassed by new bridges, and some have been dismantled and moved to save them from being scrapped. The Denton County Historical Commission publishes a brochure with photographs of the bridges and a map that shows where they are, or at least were, located. But every year more of the bridges disappear from their historic locations as Denton County’s population grows and the old bridges can’t keep up.
I live in Denton, the county seat, where I studied printmaking at the University of North Texas under Justin Quinn and Catherine Chauvin. Now I operate my own press, and I have created a series of original prints depicting the historic bridges of Denton County.
Each print begins with a visit to the bridge. I take photographs from a variety of angles, which may involve clambering over brambles and barbed wire to reach the creek bed. From the photos, I choose the perspective that makes the most appealing composition and use that as the basis for a pen-and-ink drawing. Finally I convert the drawing to a lithographic plate, which I print by hand in a limited edition of 50, signed, numbered, and titled in pencil.
I have a degree in history, in keeping with my lifelong interest in that subject (I am also the author of A Browser's Book of Texas History and A Browser’s Book of Texas Quotations). I see this printmaking project as a way to document a piece of local history and at the same time create a body of art that will be meaningful to those in the Denton area who care about the heritage of the region.
On the Old Alton Bridge
Copyright © 2012 Steven A. Jent