3 votes

Eveland Bridge


Photo taken by Historic American Engineering Record

BH Photo #115357


More commonly known as the Eveland Bridge, this large-scale structure had been contemplated by Mahaska County almost as long as people crossed the river at this point. The Eveland Ferry began operating here around 1854. After receiving citizens' petitions from time to time urging the county to replace the ferry with a permanent bridge, the county board of supervisors finally agreed in April 1875 to undertake the bridge's construction, provided that a sufficient local subscription of funds could be raised. In June 1876 the supervisors solicited competitive bids, based on a design by civil engineer C.W. Tracy; in September they awarded a contract to fabricate and build the multiple-span iron structure to McKay and Nelson, proprietors of the Fort Wayne [Indiana] Bridge Works. A Fort Wayne crew worked through on the massive stone piers through the winter and following spring, completing the bridge n the summer of 1877. The Eveland Bridge functioned as a regionally important crossing for some 90 years before its closure. It now stands abandoned, with the deck and stonework deteriorating but the superstructure intact. The importance of the Eveland Bridge to regional commerce endured for decades, and for this the structure is historically significant. The Eveland Bridge is further distinguished as a well-preserved, large-scale example of the Whipple through truss. Basically a Pratt with diagonals that extend over two panels, the Whipple truss was seldom employed for wagon trusses in the state. Few were ever erected and fewer yet remain today. For its exceedingly rare use of wrought and cast iron components, its rare truss configuration, and its long-standing role in regional transportation, the Eveland Bridge is one of the most significant wagon crossings in Iowa [adapted from Fraser 1992].

The Ft. Wayne Iron Works was the short-lived precursor to the Western Bridge Works. John McKay was a well known builder of covered bridges in the area before venturing into iron trusses.


Abandoned Whipple through truss bridge over the Des Moines River on Fulton Avenue
Mahaska County, Iowa
Abandoned with deck missing
Future prospects
Mahaska County is looking into possible trail usage for this span.
Built 1876-77 by McKay & Nelson(Ft. Wayne Iron Works); one span replaced in 1903
- C.W. Tracy
- Ft. Wayne Iron Works of Fort Wayne, Indiana
- John McKay
- McKay & Nelson of Ft. Wayne, Indiana
- Seevers Manufacturing Co. of Oskaloosa, Iowa (1903 Pratt)
(3) 11-panel, pinned Whipple through trusses
(1) pinned Pratt through truss
Length of largest span: 164.0 ft.
Total length: 647.0 ft.
Deck width: 18.0 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 17.4 ft.
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on May 15, 1998
Also called
Wilson's Ferry Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+41.24209, -92.75661   (decimal degrees)
41°14'32" N, 92°45'24" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/520394/4565660 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Land survey
T. 74 N., R. 17 W., Sec. 1
Inventory numbers
IA 235880 (Iowa bridge number)
NRHP 98000504 (National Register of Historic Places reference number)
BH 13981 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • September 27, 2021: New photos from Mitch N.
  • January 1, 2018: Updated by Luke: Added builder for 1903 truss
  • August 5, 2015: New photos from Chris Meiners
  • December 21, 2012: Photo imported by Luke Harden
  • April 3, 2012: New photos from Jason Smith
  • April 27, 2011: Updated by Tony Dillon: Added new information
  • April 28, 2010: Updated by Anthony Dillon: Added Ft. Wayne Iron Works to builders. This was the predecessor to the Western Bridge Works.
  • September 2, 2008: Updated by Anthony Dillon
  • June 18, 2008: Updated by Historic American Engineering Record
  • June 16, 2008: New photos from Historic American Engineering Record


  • Historic American Engineering Record
  • HAER IA-65 - Eveland Bridge
  • Tony Dillon - spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com
  • Jason Smith - flensburg [dot] bridgehunter [dot] av [at] googlemail [dot] com
  • Historicbridges.org - by Nathan Holth
  • Luke


Eveland Bridge
Posted September 27, 2021, by Luke

If anyone is ever bored, and wants to look at neat abandoned stuff in Iowa that ISN'T bridge related, check out Mitch's stuff.

Awesome that they're sharing the bridge stuff on here, but it's barely scratching the surface of the good work they've done.

Eveland Bridge
Posted November 28, 2019, by Art S. (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)
Eveland Bridge
Posted April 3, 2012, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Definitely shares some heritage with the Western Bridge Works as evidenced by the portal decoration and the hip connections.

Eveland Bridge
Posted April 25, 2011, by Julie Bowers (jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

it was cool alright. I think this one is a prime candidate for restoration into a pedestrian equestrian crossing. It was missing a vertical post, I went to both sides. 4 spans. some concrete missing around the stone piers in the river. lots of river rat homes there, evidence of flooding. It's a Whipple - how could I not care about it. 35 miles from my house and I didn't know.

Eveland Bridge
Posted April 25, 2011, by Julie Bowers (jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

It looks nice out for the moment, maybe I will take a little ride down to this bridge today, this week. Thanks for the heads up Tony.

Eveland Bridge
Posted April 25, 2011, by Julie Bowers (jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

It looks nice out for the moment, maybe I will take a little ride down to this bridge today, this week. Thanks for the heads up Tony.