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Minerva Creek Bridge


Bridge Locator

This bridge appears to be in need of serious restoration.

Photo taken by J.R. Manning in August 2007

BH Photo #109818



Before 1908 Marshall County had contracted with an array of bridge builders for an even wider array of bridge types, ranging from simple timber pile structures to long-span, iron or steel trusses. In 1908, however, the county began dealing exclusively with Des Moines contractor N.M. Stark for substantial concrete bridges. Stark built concrete girders and slabs for the county, and for longer-span crossings he build concrete arches. For the arches he used a patented design by Indianapolis engineer Daniel Luten. Luten's arch featured a filled spandrel configuration with a distinctive horseshoe-shaped profile. As a licensee for Luten, Stark built numerous Luten arches throughout the state, but Marshall County remained one of his better clients in the early 1910s. In April 1910, after soliciting competitive bids, the Marshall County Board of Supervisors awarded a construction contract to Stark for six concrete bridges. Designed from Luten's standards by county engineer W.W. Morehouse, these similarly detailed filled spandrel arches were distributed throughout the county. They ranged in span length from 30 feet to 60 feet and collectively cost $14,090 to build. Stark completed all six structures by the end of the year. This single-span bridge over Minerva Creek in Liberty Township, designated as Bridge Number 217, was the longest of the six and cost $2,660. It featured a cambered deck and solid concrete parapet walls with incised panels. Since its construction in 1910, the Minerva Creek Bridge has carried local traffic in essentially unaltered condition. Marshall County's almost exclusive dealings with Stark were to end in 1913, however, when the state legislature passed the Brockway-Balkema Act that April. The new legislation codified bridge contracting procedures and standardized bridge design under the aegis of the reorganized Iowa State Highway Commission (ISHC). N.M. Stark built numerous Luten arches in Iowa between 1905 and 1913, but relatively few remain in place today. The Minerva Creek Bridge is distinguished among these survivors for its long span and well-preserved condition. It is today a noteworthy, transportation-related resource [adapted from Fraser 1989].


Arch bridge over Minerva Creek on 140th Street
Marshall County, Iowa
Open to traffic
Built 1912
- N.M. Stark & Co. of Des Moines, Iowa
- W.W. Morehouse (Engineer)
Closed-spandrel concrete arch
Length of largest span: 64.0 ft.
Total length: 67.9 ft.
Deck width: 16.1 ft.
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on May 15, 1998
Approximate latitude, longitude
+42.15104, -93.16551   (decimal degrees)
42°09'04" N, 93°09'56" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/486324/4666559 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
State Center NW
Land survey
T. 85 N., R. 20 W., Sec. 27
Average daily traffic (as of 2013)
Inventory numbers
IA 244550 (Iowa bridge number)
NRHP 98000497 (National Register of Historic Places reference number)
BH 14024 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of November 2018)
Overall condition: Poor
Superstructure condition rating: Serious (3 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Serious (3 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Serious (3 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 19 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com


Arch (12,105)
Built 1912 (825)
Built during 1910s (9,644)
Closed-spandrel arch (3,995)
Deck arch (11,343)
Iowa (6,511)
Luten arch (95)
Marshall County, Iowa (90)
N.M. Stark & Co. (45)
NR-listed (2,961)
Open (39,897)
Owned by county (20,789)
Span length 50-75 feet (10,077)
Total length 50-75 feet (9,300)
W.W. Morehouse (1)
Wooden deck (6,069)

Update Log 

  • December 29, 2019: Updated by Luke: Doomed
  • August 15, 2011: Updated by Luke Harden: Added description, corrected design added builder
  • February 20, 2010: Updated by J.R. Manning: Updated bridge data
  • January 26, 2008: New photos from J.R. Manning


  • J.R. Manning - thekitchenguy [at] sbcglobal [dot] net
  • Historic Bridges of Iowa - History of Luten Arch Bridge over Minerva Creek
  • Luke


Minerva Creek Bridge
Posted December 29, 2019, by Luke