Old Rusty Bridge
Photo taken by Jason Smith
BH Photo #101726
This long-span through truss carries county road 210th Avenue over the Little Sioux River near the northwestern city limits of Spencer. Now located at a rural crossing in Riverton Township, the structure was originally located on Main Street, south of downtown Spencer over the Little Sioux River. The first bridge at this heavily trafficked crossing was built in 1875 by J. Olson for $3,200. A timber pile structure, it lasted only six years before it was destroyed by an ice floe. The bridge was rebuilt, and then rebuilt again in 1889. Ten years later, the bridge needed a major rehabilitation, as the river had shifted its channel from under the truss. This time the Clay County Board of Supervisors opted to build a long-span steel truss, separated from the original truss by a series of timber pile spans. In the spring of 1900 the county contracted for its fabrication and erection with the Clinton Bridge and Iron Works. The Clinton, Iowa company was a prominent early twentieth-century Iowa bridge builder, responsible for constructing most of the major bridges in Clay County into the 1910s. Clinton B&I completed the pinned Pennsylvania span in 1901. The Main Street Bridge served this important route until 1915, when a new concrete arch bridge was erected. The 1901 truss was moved to this site and placed on concrete abutments prepared by the Thor Construction Company of Cedar Falls, Iowa. Here it remains today in essentially unaltered condition.
Serving as a major crossing of the Little Sioux River, the Main Street Bridge was important to transportation and commerce in Spencer, the Clay County seat. The structure's 1901 span is technologically noteworthy as a relatively well-preserved example of a Pratt truss subtype - the Pennsylvania truss. With its polygonal upper chords and subdivided panels, the truss exemplifies this relatively uncommon type, which was used primarily for long-span applications around the turn of the century. Few Pennsylvania trusses were ever built in Iowa, and only a handful remains today. The two spans in Clay County are important representatives of this uncommon early wagon truss configuration [adapted from Zibell, Roise, and Fraser 1992].
- Through truss bridge over Little Sioux River on 210th Avenue north of Spencer in Spencer
- Spencer, Clay County, Iowa
- Open to one-lane traffic
- Built 1901 by the Clinton Bridge & Iron Works; relocated here in 1915
- - Clinton Bridge & Iron Works of Clinton, Iowa
- Thor Construction Co. of Cedar Falls, Iowa
- Pennsylvania through truss
Length of largest span: 177.0 ft.
Total length: 180.0 ft.
Deck width: 18.0 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 11.0 ft.
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on June 25, 1998
- Also called
- Dump Road Bridge
- Approximate latitude, longitude
- +43.16300, -95.17013 (decimal degrees)
43°09'47" N, 95°10'12" W (degrees°minutes'seconds")
- Approximate UTM coordinates
- 15/323582/4781201 (zone/easting/northing)
- Quadrangle map:
- Inventory numbers
- IA 116790 (Iowa bridge number)
NRHP 98000810 (National Register of Historic Places reference number)
BH 13161 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
- October 11, 2012: Updated by Jason Smith: Added category "A-frame portal"
- March 12, 2012: Updated by Luke Harden: Added category "Pin-connected"
- August 31, 2011: New photos from Jason Smith
- May 16, 2011: New photos from James Baughn
- February 6, 2008: New photo from Jason Smith
- September 26, 2005: Posted photos from Jason Smith
- Jason Smith - flensburg [dot] bridgehunter [dot] av [at] googlemail [dot] com
- James Baughn - webmaster [at] bridgehunter [dot] com
- Historic Bridges of Iowa