Man of Steel

Bigfork blacksmith Jeffrey Funk is working to keep his trade’s ancient skills alive, and working on a plan for the 28,000 pounds of Old Steel Bridge in his backyard

By Myers Reece
Jeffrey Funk makes the head of a hand hoe in his metalworking shop outside Bigfork. Photo by Greg Lindstrom

Editor’s Note: This is one of the stories featured in the winter edition of Flathead Living magazine. Pick up a free copy on newsstands throughout the valley.

Give blacksmith Jeffrey Funk a piece of scrap steel, and he’ll give you back a hammer. Give him a pile of scraps, and he’ll give you back a decorative gate. Give him a 19th century bridge, and he’ll have to think about it. After all, 14 tons of wrought iron is a lot.

In April, Funk and a crew disassembled the Old Steel Bridge and transported its 28,000 pounds to his Bigfork property. The bridge had spanned the Flathead River east of Kalispell since 1894 until it was decommissioned in 2008, after which it sat unused on the riverbank until Funk claimed it. He has analyzed and organized the disparate parts into piles outside his home and workshop. He marvels at the potential they hold. He just needs a little more time to figure out exactly what to do with it all.


Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup.

Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.