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Miller Bridge


Iowa Department of Transportation


BH Photo #314775



Description from Iowa DOT Historic Bridges website:

Among the Madison County bridges included in Iowa's historic bridge inventory is this five-panel, pin-connected Pratt pony truss. The structure crosses an unnamed stream along a secondary road seven miles northwest of Winterset in Union Township. Named the Miller Bridge after an adjacent landowner, the structure features early Pratt truss characteristics, including, tee-iron verticals, unslotted turnbuckles and channel floor beams. The substructure is comprised of concrete-filled iron cylinder piers with timber and concrete abutments. The Miller Bridge dates to 1884. In the spring of that year the Madison County Board of Supervisors received a petition for a permanent structure at this crossing. The county contracted with local contractor V.S. Callison to provide and erect an 80-foot iron bridge. But when Callison had failed to begin construction by July, the supervisors released him from the contract and solicited competitive bids for an 82-foot iron truss. Proposals were received from the Milwaukee Bridge Company, Raymond and Campbell, the Smith Bridge Company and King and Twiss of Des Moines. Low bidder at $764.56, King and Twiss received the contract to supply the truss. The county then hired local contractors H.P. Jones and G.K. Foster to build the iron tube substructure (also supplied by King) and erect the truss. Completed later that year, the Miller Bridge has functioned in place since, with only maintenance-related repairs. From the 1880s through the 1910s, thousands of pinned Pratt pony trusses were erected on Iowa's roadways. Although several hundred of these structures remain in use today, less than fifty are known to predate the turn of the century. Fewer yet of the 19th century survivors remain structurally intact. The Miller Bridge stands out as one of Iowa's earliest documented Pratt pony trusses still intact [adapted from Fraser 1992].


Pony truss bridge over a drainage ditch on McBride Trl
Madison County, Iowa
Open to pedestrians
Future prospects
Relocated to a trail.
Built 1884
- H.P. Jones & G.K. Foster of Winterset, Iowa (Substructure)
- King & Twiss of Des Moines, Iowa (Contractor)
- King Bridge Co. of Cleveland, Ohio (Superstructure)
Pratt pony truss
Length of largest span: 80.1 ft.
Total length: 128.0 ft.
Deck width: 13.5 ft.
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on May 15, 1998
Approximate latitude, longitude
+41.41224, -93.94295   (decimal degrees)
41°24'44" N, 93°56'35" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/421191/4584950 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Saint Charles NW
Land survey
T. 76 N., R. 27 W., Sec. 3
Inventory numbers
IA 233810 (Iowa bridge number)
NRHP 98000508 (National Register of Historic Places reference number)
BH 13949 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • January 27, 2015: New photo from Luke
  • February 10, 2012: Updated by Luke Harden: Added category "Relocated"
  • December 20, 2011: Updated by Tony Dillon: Bridge has been replaced