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Raccoon River Covered Bridge (1st)


The bridge is the one with the red ellipse around it.

Drawn by A. Ruger in 1868

BH Photo #253376



"In 1862 the first bridge over the 'Coon River was built at the junction of West Front Street by Turner and White. That bridge was carried away by high waters and rebuilt in July of that year by Dr. Turner, with the aid of subscriptions by people living in the Bloomfield Township, on the condition it was to be a free bridge. And in 1868, Dr.Turner conveyed (by deed to the city of Des Moines) in trust for the public to be forever a free bridge. When other bridges came into the control of the city and became toll bridges, in 1871, it was discovered that the 'Coon Bridge could NOT be tolled. To evade the public right, the City of Des Moines, very gravely decided the bridge to be unsafe for public travel and condemned it and ordered it removed; whereupon a posse of people from Bloomfield swooped down on the city employees who were there to tear the bridge down and drove them off. Then the Bloomfield people relaid the flooring . The Mayor, Tuttle went down and read the riot act to them. And for a day or two there was good prospect for a internecine war of considerable proportions, but wise council prevailed and bloodshed was averted. The old bridge was taken down, and a new one was built and is the only wooden bridge (and free one) owned by the city."


Lost Bridge over Raccoon River on Front Street
Des Moines, Polk County, Iowa
Replaced by a new bridge
Built 1862, Carried away in an ice jam in 1865; Replaced 1871
- M.P. Turner
Through truss
Approximate latitude, longitude
+41.57914, -93.61306   (decimal degrees)
41°34'45" N, 93°36'47" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/448894/4603232 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Des Moines SE
Inventory number
BH 56100 (Bridgehunter.com ID)


19th Century (7,963)
Built 1862 (41)
Built during 1860s (563)
Des Moines, Iowa (122)
Iowa (6,687)
Lost (26,850)
Lost 1871 (12)
Lost during 1870s (70)
M.P. Turner (1)
Polk County, Iowa (279)
Raccoon River (90)
Replaced by new bridge (18,221)
Through truss (15,956)
Truss (34,239)
Wooden deck (6,109)

Update Log 

  • January 28, 2015: Updated by Luke: Added builder
  • June 13, 2013: New photos from Michael O'Brien
  • May 8, 2013: New photo from Luke Harden
  • April 25, 2013: Added by Luke Harden

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