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Elkader Truesdell Bridge


Public Domain: Published Prior to 1923

BH Photo #336050



"They decided that a bridge was necessary and made a request to town officials. In 1851 they responded with the construction of the city's first bridge, an iron truss, located just downstream from the grist mill.

The early Elkader Bridge was an iron bridge of Truesdell patent design. It was poorly constructed and suffered badly under the ever increasing loads of this growing community.

In 1888, the Clayton County Board of Supervisors hired M. Tschirgi Jr., a respected civil engineer from the city of Dubuque, to assess the condition oftheir troubling bridge.

After a thorough examination, he submitted the following evaluation on June 6:

"the superstructure, consisting of four spans of Truesdell design, aggregating 202 feet in length is both faulty in design and in very poor condition to withstand the maximum load usually allowed for highway bridges, and judged by the standard of the specifications for iron highway bridges, it would be condemned."

Tschirgi stated that this type of bridge, even in perfect condition, could only carry 50 pounds per square foot, due to the faulty design of Truesdell.

This bridge in its current condition could fail under even less load. Heeding his advice, county supervisors condemned the old bridge immediately." - HAER No. IA-47


Lost Truesdell Truss bridge over Turkey River on Road
Elkader, Clayton County, Iowa
Replaced by a new bridge
Built 1851; Replaced 1889
Truesdell Truss
Total length: 202.0 ft.
Approximate latitude, longitude
+42.85503, -91.40383   (decimal degrees)
42°51'18" N, 91°24'14" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/630407/4745951 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Inventory number
BH 62539 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • February 23, 2021: New photos from David Beck
  • August 20, 2015: New photo from Luke
  • August 17, 2014: Added by Luke

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