2 votes

Motor Mill Bridge (1899)


Taken for the NRHP


View this photo at npgallery.nps.gov

BH Photo #529628


Located adjacent to historic Motor Mill, the Motor Mill Bridge is part of a historic district listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. Until recently, the Motor Mill Bridge was configured as a two-span structure, carrying local traffic across the Turkey River some four miles southeast of Elkader. Intense flooding, however, washed out one of the bridge's south span in the spring of 1991, leaving the crossing unusable. The structure's history dates to just prior to the turn of the century. On June 9, 1898, the Clayton County Board of Supervisors awarded contracts to local builder A.C. Boyle to erect eleven bridges at various locations throughout the county. The largest of these was for a three-span steel truss across the Turkey River at Motor Mill, built to replace a 185-foot wood combination bridge that was no longer serviceable. Boyle, of nearby McGregor, Iowa, erected the structure over the course of the following year, completing the project in April 1899. At some point during the construction process, it was decided that only two spans were needed, rather than the three spans originally delineated. Between November 1898 and April 1899, Boyle was issued warrants totaling $3,024.45 for the Motor Mill Bridge. Until its untimely closure in 1991, the bridge served to carry local traffic and to accommodate travelers visiting the Motor Mill Historic Site, its historical integrity intact. With its pinned connections and Pratt web configuration, the Motor Mill Bridge typifies wagon bridge construction in Iowa in the late 19th century [adapted from Crow-Dolby 1992]


Pratt through truss bridge over Turkey River on Galaxy Road
Motor, Clayton County, Iowa
Destroyed by flooding in 2008; replica spans now in place and open to traffic
Built 1899, One span destroyed by flooding in 1991, the other in 2008. Replica spans installed in late 2012
- A.C. Boyle & Co. of McGregor, Iowa
Pinned Pratt through truss
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on August 2, 1977
Also called
Turkey River bridge
Motor bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+42.80662, -91.35139   (decimal degrees)
42°48'24" N, 91°21'05" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/634797/4740658 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Inventory numbers
NRHP 77000502 (National Register of Historic Places reference number)
BH 51090 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • April 6, 2022: New photo from Luke
  • July 11, 2021: New photo from Geoff Hubbs
  • May 28, 2017: Updated by Luke: Noted this is the old bridge
  • May 28, 2017: New photo from Ray Kasal
  • June 22, 2013: New photos from J.R. Manning
  • January 3, 2013: Updated by Luke Harden: Updated future plans.
  • September 9, 2012: Photo imported by Luke Harden
  • January 25, 2012: Updated by Luke Harden: One span was lost to flooding in 1998, and then the other remaining span was lost in the flooing in 2008.

Related Bridges 


  • Luke
  • Historic Bridges of Iowa
  • Image
  • Jason Smith - flensburg [dot] bridgehunter [dot] av [at] googlemail [dot] com
  • J.R. Manning - thekitchenguy [at] sbcglobal [dot] net
  • Ray Kasal - raykasal [at] yahoo [dot] com
  • Geoff Hubbs


Motor Mill Bridge (1899)
Posted July 12, 2021, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

Photos Moved.

Motor Mill Bridge (1899)
Posted July 11, 2021, by Luke

JR's and Ray's pics are of the replica span and should be relocated to the proper entry.