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Pine Creek Grist Mill Bridge


Photo taken by Historic American Engineering Record

BH Photo #115229


Street View 


In June 1877 the Muscatine County Board of Supervisors received a petition from citizens in Montpelier Township requesting a permanent bridge over Pine Creek at the Pine Creek Grist Mill. The supervisors were in favor of building the bridge, "as soon as the finances of that county will permit." But the finances would not allow the construction that year they concluded. The petitioners approached the board again in January 1878, but again the supervisors delayed action on the proposed bridge, this time until that June. In June the county surveyor was instructed to visit the site, take measurements and prepare cost estimates. By July the county signaled that it was finally ready to build the bridge by hiring a contractor to construct the stone abutments. In August the auditor solicited petitions from the various bridge companies; in September a contract to fabricate and erect the truss was issued to the Wrought Iron Bridge company of Canton, Ohio. The Pine Creek Grist Mill Bridge was completed by the end of the year. Configured as a pinned Pratt though truss, it has functioned in place since, in essentially unaltered condition. The bridge has been closed to vehicular traffic, and today it is used as part of a pedestrian trail in Wild Cat Den State Park. From the early 1880s until the establishment of state bridge standards in 1913, the pin-connected Pratt through truss was virtually the exclusive structural type for medium-span roadway crossings in Iowa. Its standardized fabrication, economy of materials and ease of erection made it a mainstay among the various state and regional bridge companies. Thousands of such trusses were built through the state during this period, and numerous examples remain in use today. The Pine Creek Grist Mill Bridge is distinguished among these for its relatively early construction date and high degree of structural integrity. Located in a pristine setting next to the restored Pine Creek Grist Mill, it is one of the state's most picturesque wagon bridges [adapted from Fraser 1991].


Pratt through truss bridge over Pine Creek in Wild Cat Den State Park
Muscatine County, Iowa
Open to pedestrians
Built 1878 by the Wrought Iron Bridge Co.; Replaced on a new alignment 1963 and converted to pedestrian use.
- Wrought Iron Bridge Co. of Canton, Ohio
Pin-connected, 7-panel Pratt through truss
Span length: 96.0 ft.
Total length: 96.0 ft.
Deck width: 16.0 ft.
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on May 15, 1998
Also called
Wildcat Den Bridge
Pine Mill Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+41.46742, -90.86751   (decimal degrees)
41°28'03" N, 90°52'03" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/678078/4592842 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Inventory numbers
NRHP 98000493 (National Register of Historic Places reference number)
BH 36707 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • December 13, 2020: New photos from Luke
  • August 24, 2019: Updated by Luke: Noted conversion year.
  • April 16, 2016: Updated by Luke: Added photographs
  • March 11, 2016: New photo from Lee Smith
  • September 10, 2015: New Street View added by Luke
  • May 3, 2012: Updated by Luke Harden: Added category "Pin-connected"
  • January 11, 2012: Photo imported by Luke Harden
  • October 8, 2011: New photos from Luke Harden
  • July 22, 2011: Updated by Luke Harden: Added description and alternate name
  • June 10, 2011: Updated by Luke Harden: Added location on map
  • June 9, 2011: New photo from Luke Harden
  • June 16, 2008: New photos from Historic American Engineering Record