1 vote

Davis Bridge


Overall View Of Bridge And Upper Iowa River, Looking South

"With a 120-foot span length and a 15-foot roadway, the Davis Bridge displays relatively modest dimensions. The superstructure consists of a single bowstring through arch-truss, the webs of which are subdivided into ten panels. The span is configured like all of WIBCo's bowstrings, with the arches and verticals acting in compression and the lower chords and diagonals acting in tension."

HAER Report, August 1991

Photo by Clayton B. Fraser, August 1991, for HAER

View photos at Library of Congress

BH Photo #122915



This was one of the Wrought Iron Bridge Company's lesser known "Plate channel" type bowstrings. I'm not sure how many they built of this type, but they were less popular than the firm's tubular ones. The Panther Creek Bridge in Miami County, Ohio may be the only survivor.



Lost Bowstring through truss bridge over Upper Iowa River on Mill Road in Forest City Township
Forest City Township, Howard County, Iowa
Replaced by new bridge
Built 1879; Replaced 1992
- Wrought Iron Bridge Co. of Canton, Ohio
"Built in 1879, the Davis Bridge was one of a handful of iron spans erected in Howard County following the failure of several early timber structures. It was fabricated and built by the Wrought Iron Bridge Company, perhaps the most prolific 19th century iron bridge fabricator in the country. The wrought iron composition and bowstring configuration of the Davis Bridge clearly place it in the milieu of 1870's bridge construction. But its pinned connections and boxed-channel arches are features more commonly associated with later truss technology. The Davis Bridge is thus distinguished as a transition between two mainstay 19th century wagon bridge types: the bolted bowstring arch-truss and the pinned Pratt truss. The oldest wagon bridge remaining in Howard County and one of the oldest in Iowa, the Davis Bridge is both historically and technologically significant to the development of bridge building in Iowa."

Ron D. Ashback-Sladek and Clayton B. Fraser
Loveland, Colorado
December 1991


Span length: 120.0 ft.
Total length: 120.0 ft.
Deck width: 15.0 ft.
Approximate latitude, longitude
+43.46678, -92.29754   (decimal degrees)
43°28'00" N, 92°17'51" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/556821/4812891 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Lime Springs
Inventory number
BH 37363 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • October 7, 2012: Updated by Tony Dillon: This was a through and not a pony truss
  • September 7, 2012: Updated by Don Morrison: moved map pin to position of replacement bridge
  • September 4, 2008: Added by J.R. Manning


  • J.R. Manning - thekitchenguy [at] sbcglobal [dot] net
  • HAER IA-35 - Davis Bridge
  • Don Morrison
  • Tony Dillon - spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com