Photo taken by Daniel Barnes in September 2017
BH Photo #401751
Field visited this bridge today. In addition to the 1888 plaque, I found an 1890 plaque on an approach span and a 1916/18 plaque on the main span. Seems to suggest that this bridge was indeed relocated from elsewhere, and likely assembled at the time the center span was constructed.
I think part of it too was the breakup of the Rock island Technical Society. I suspect somewhere the documents were donated. I know another railroad that Iíve done research with has literally hundreds of banker boxes of bridge documents. Iím hoping I can find them somewhere, as itís always really cool to know the exact history of these structures. So if anyone reading this has any Rock Island Railroad bridge documents, please send them this way!
It's frustrating that something seemingly simple and relatively recent may be totally lost history. It's nice that people here and elsewhere are working to collect and save what's left to be found.
I Believe the line dates to the early or mid 1860s. This is the same route that crosses the Mississippi River on the famed bridge at Rock Island.
I found an article in a Railroad Gazette or similar publication that stated that that at one point, the Rock Island was reusing nearly 4/5 of spans it replaced on main lines. This railroad company is exceptionally difficult to find information on as well, as it seems a lot of records were destroyed, while a lot of bridges were moved around, even into the 40s.
Does the date match with when the line was built? It could be original stone piers were replaced later.
Judging by the concrete substructures, I would be shocked if this bridge was assembled at this location in 1888. Instead, I'm thinking that it was likely moved from another location or locations.