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M&StL - Des Moines River Bridge (Tracy)

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BH Photo #252009

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CRUSHED TO DEATH UNDER RAIL BRIDGE (1950) 

Oskaloosa Daily Herald

There was an air of death around an old railroad bridge across the Des Moines River near Bellefountaine Saturday afternoon. Silent, grim faced workmen cleaned up debris where one end of the bridge had fallen off its concrete pier, crushed one workman to death and injured another.

Boyd A. Morgan of Harvey, the injured man, said he and Sam Smotherman 40, Chicago negro, were working atop the East concrete pier of the bridge about 12:30 p.m. Smotherman was cutting a huge I beam with an acetylene torch and Morgan stood on a nearby beam.

Suddenly without apparent reason, the East end of the bridge gave way and plunged 30 feet into the river. Smotherman was crushed under the I beam and almost cut in two. He died instantly.

Morgan was hurled to the ground. Fortunately none of the debris fell on him. He escaped with a few cuts and bruises.

The J. J. Wrecking Company of Chicago was the firm wrecking the old M. and St. L. Bridge. The West span had already been removed and the crew was working on the East span, the one that directly crossed the Des Moines River. It is located about one mile South of the Bellefountaine highway bridge.

It had been many years since trains ran across the bridge.

Several months after the accident a wrecking crew from Des Moines finished dismantling the bridge.

Facts 

Overview
Lost Whipple through truss bridge over over Des Moines River on Railroad
Location
Mahaska County, Iowa
Status
Removed
History
Built 1907 using parts from the CBQ bridge at Plattsmouth, removed 1950
Builder
- Keystone Bridge Co. of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Railroads
- Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad (CBQ)
- Minneapolis & St. Louis Railway (M&StL; MSTL)
Design
Whipple through truss
Also called
CBQ - Des Moines River Bridge (Tracy)
Approximate latitude, longitude
+41.27000, -92.82658   (decimal degrees)
41°16'12" N, 92°49'36" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/514525/4568744 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Leighton
Inventory number
BH 55666 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • April 3, 2013: New photo from Luke Harden
  • February 28, 2013: Essay added by Luke Harden

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