Photo taken by Historic American Engineering Record
BH Photo #191268
It can take awhile
Was it worth it in the end
Only you can tell
Congrats and good luck!
Update: A formal press release will be coming soon, but the soft release was approved last week and Governor Markell has now been to the site. The McIntyre Bridge will be restored and will become one of five bridges that Workin' Bridges collaborating with BACH Steel will provide the DNREC (Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control) in the Auburn Heights area of northern Delaware. The engineering for the trusses will be SGI and the site engineering by RKK. This is a public private partnership that restores existing mill sites and develops a trail system that will allow the collection of Stanley Steemer and other vintage autos a place for a 6 mile drive, along with pedestrians and bikes
We will be pulling the original and very rare wrought and cast iron piers - this should be a fun archaeological exploration to what exists after 130+ years. We will be fabricating star iron and casting new parts with the help of our friends at Max-Cast (think Bunker Mill Bridge friends). We will mark those parts by request of Mark Brown at TxDOT and Pontists, so that our work can be differentiated from the original at part level as well as at documentation level.
The NSRGA board of directors is delighted that this bridge will be preserved, although not where any of us had intended originally. We were never able to change anyone's minds and we learned an important lesson about politics at the county level - they change and their agreements are non-binding. We are grateful for the donations that allowed us to get to this point. An added bonus is that this bridge will be done and our efforts for preservation of historic trusses can move forward.
Another bridge that will be utilized for vehicular traffic is Marsh Creek, a King bowstring that Workin' Bridges now is the interim owner during restoration.
Just to be clear we were never able to raise the funds for the restoration of this bridge though we tried for a very long time. Selling as is is one option but it won't be cheap to use anywhere. I have tried my best and that's all I have to say about this one.
Update on the sale of the McIntyre Bowstring Arch Bridge:
The following speaks for itself.
I have been delegated to inform you that Larry Wilson has rescinded his support for your grant application. He became very concerned about the language requiring the county to agree to maintain the bridge for 20 years. With this year's floods, he is afraid that this could cost the county hundreds of thousands of dollars. I replied that Julie's group has raised substantial money and has many people strongly supporting it and would not leave the county with such a burden. He was not convinced and so a resolution was passed to remove the county's support. If the grant comes through, the county will not accept it. I voted against but was out voted 2 to 1. Larry delegated me to inform you of these proceedings. I do so sadly. - Lamoyne Gaard
NSRGA doesn't understand how this came out of the blue without proper notice from Poweshiek County. How could they resolve and vote on an issue without our presence? Was it an agenda item? We believe that this is a knee jerk reaction to the crash of an oversize vehicle on the bridge in Washington last week, the county conservation board that didn't want us to do anything with that old bridge at Millgrove Access, an engineer that admits to not understanding truss bridges and the flooding.
With the recent flooding NSRGA was looking forward to getting into the area to survey the high waters and to assess the numbers with our engineer. Our numbers for reset had raised the bridge two feet, so while the flooding was concerning to us we could wait until the waters had receded and there seemed to be greater needs to the citizens than our project right now. Certainly no definite evaluation could be made while it was still so wet.
This TeAP (Transportation Enhancement Alternative Program) Grant for federal dollars was not a sure thing, but preliminary talks with the National Trust for Historic Preservation Insurance Company had begun because we were researching the insurance issue. NTHP Insurance Co began in 2004 and insures other historic projects with these kind of grant requirements, like 20 years of maintenance, were in progress. June 11 is the date the TeAP grantees will be announced. The money is competitive with only a million dollars available on a statewide base. Our regional planning area 6 declined to give out any opportunities for grants this year and provided NSRGA with their report just yesterday which defined their reasons.
NSRGA's primary donor, Marilyn Taylor Jordan of the McFarlin Family Foundation was contacted about this new roadblock immediately. She wrote from Shanghai: "Who is Larry Wilson? Can the board members and supporters write to him? I'm also concerned about the 20-year obligation, but the point is to secure the grant, then determine what is required to obtain the required coverage for the liability."
This project cost the county nothing to date.
Any questions can be directed to Julie Bowers, Executive Director of the NSRGA, at 641.260.1262.
A 2 to 1 vote moved the supervisors to sign off on a competitive grant for TAP funds. More will be revealed. The next hurdle is 20 years of maintenance and replacement if the bridge falls again. But with new metal and raising two feet we are confident.
Motorcycle Raffle Drawing April 1. $10 per. Send a check, get 6 for $50. Paypal at skunkriverbridge.org or PO Box 332, Grinnell, IA 50112. Delivery not included but we will work hard to help figure that out.
Pick it up now
or get it at the 5th Annual Historic Bridge Conference this summer.
Great way to go bridgehunting.
Seriously, we have finished the project engineering, need some working drawings and we need to start fabrication. Every penny helps. Prefer the documentary, it's fun and your family will start to understand why you do what you do.
Thanks again for your support.
Just a little powder on the top chord. Just not forgetting what our first priority is still, to get this bridge back up and over.
todays work. I am getting better at it .... come on out / over and play work with me.....
You are all most welcome to join us at our gathering October 21 at the Farm in Grinnell. We will be showcasing some construction techniques on the top chord, heat straighten two eye-bars, maybe even some hot riveting, although we aren't there yet.
Having an auction and sale, and of course MUSIC FUN FOOD. I'm making the chili and cinnamon rolls and challenging anyone to bring their own chili to the party. Of course it is byo everything else.
The bridge will be returned to Grinnell by truck ready for a fall work a thon. The volunteers and me are gonna get our hands dirty now...
Come by and visit. Just ask where or should we point to where the bridge is now on the map.
Workin' Bridges is moving forward.......
ember 10, 2012 - Grinnell, Iowa .........................The N. Skunk River Greenbelt Association is grateful to announce that Marilyn Taylor Jordan of the McFarlin Family -Montezuma has donated a generous gift of $10,000 for very specific uses in our bridge project. That comes on top of over $2500 in cash and assets to our challenge grant. LuJean DeJong of Oskaloosa, Iowa also supported the challenge with a $1000 donation. "We are pleased to continue working on our project with very meaningful progress," stated Julie Bowers, executive director of NSRGA. The site plan will commence this fall utilizing Clapsaddle Garber Associates in Marshalltown, coordinating with Mark Latsch of Spicer Engineering, Saginaw, Michigan.
Our plans include bringing the repairable portions of the bridge back here and commence repair work as we can. We have also arranged to meet with the Board of Supervisors, Engineer and County Conservation Board of Poweshiek to discuss collaborative work on a pedestrian, equestrian and water access and trail system with the bridge as the hub at Millgrove Access Wildlife Area. This grant must be administered by the County but NSRGA will help with finding the 30% match required and is hopeful that working together may even benefit the project and the economy of the county.
Bowers is presenting a paper on the Alternative Uses for Historic Truss Bridges at the Preserving Historic Roads Conference in Indianapolis, September 20-22, 2012. That presentation will also be available for local viewing this fall.
A documentary on the restoration of historic truss bridges will be viewed at the Bridgehunters Fall conference on September 21, 2012 also in Indianapolis. Copies of the documentary are selling for $10 plus $3.50 shipping. A twenty dollar donation gets your name on the list of friends of the bridge as well as a complimentary dvd.
Donations are still being sought for our work and are tax deductible at www.skunkriverbridge.org or by sending a check to NSRGA, Box 332, Grinnell, Ia 50112. Call Julie Bowers with any questions at 641.260.1262
My two cents from today.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
McFarlin Family Issues Challenge For $10,000 Grant for McIntyre Bowstring
The board of directors of The N. Skunk River Greenbelt Association is delighted to announce a $10,000 grant from Marilyn Taylor Jordan on behalf of the McFarlin Family. This grant comes with a challenge to raise at least $5000 from other sources.
NSRGA is asking 250 people to donate $20 dollars by July 30, 2012 to fulfill the challenge. That $20 will give the donors their names on a plank or a plaque at Millgrove Access Wildlife Area and a thank you gift of the Workin’ Bridges Documentary on Historic Truss Bridge Restoration. The documentary details exactly how the bridge will be restored and put back over the river. The documentary was put together to refute most of the engineer’s ideas in Iowa where they have repeatedly said that old iron can not be welded and that these bridges should be destroyed because of their age. We never bought into that, and have found engineers all over the U.S. who are restoring these bridges, including the chief Engineers of Texas Department of Transportation John Barton and our resources at Spicer Engineering in Michigan.
“Our plans continue to evolve. A bridge in northeaster Iowa has come up for replacement and parts from that bridge may be used for our vertical supports that we need to rebuild, planks for the deck and steel beams, while other parts will be recycled or retained in a parts inventory for use on other projects”, stated Julie Bowers, Executive Director for NSRGA. “We had considered using that bridge but it didn’t fit our existing piers and would have added additional costs and permitting to our project. Our goal remains to put our bridge back on the piers that remain in the N. Skunk River.”
The granted money will be spent on fulfilling the Site Survey and pier study to determine if we need to add additional height to the piers. NSRGA has been granted $1950 for this study by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and more time has been extended for that study to be performed. It is expected to cost $4000. We will also use the grant to begin engineered working drawings for the repairs and to return the viable parts to Iowa for restoration. A workshop will be conducted to train welders, engineers and other interested parties on the techniques used for hot riveting, heat straightening and welding of old iron, These techniques are showcvased in the video documentary which features an 1885 truss bridge in Texas that was recently put back into vehicular traffic surface. The full cost of bridge restoration and reset will now cost about $134,000. This does not include money for work on the road or the riverbanks. The bridge is the most important part, once that is done and reset NSRGA will work with the county on the other issues.
NSRGA is also in the running for the Iowa’s Best Bite restaurant challenge in Grinnell. We hope to take our Skunk River style foods and create a great restaurant, bring in guest chefs to keep the menu fun, and create an event space downstairs. Grinnell doesn’t really have a place for large groups to meet or bands to play. Our concept, Bridge Bistro and the Cast Iron Pub will be run by our board of directors and the profits will return to the community in projects like the bridge. We realized a long time ago that just asking for donations or trying to win grants in this economy was difficult and turned to working to bring in our capital. Workin’ Bridges consults other groups on saving bridges and has seen success in Kansas, Arkansas and Texas. Our board has a lot of experience with food and V.P. Diane Eakins will become the general manager if we win this challenge. Our goal is to create a place with excellent food and superior service, that our customers will want to return to over and over, knowing that their money will be kept in our local economy and spent on a variety of projects once our bridge project has been successfully finished.
To be part of the challenge, the $20 donation may be made online at www.skunkriverbridge.org or a check can be sent to NSRGA PO Box 332 Grinnell, IA 50112.
National Register of Historic Places Delists McIntyre (McDowell) Bridge For Immediate Release
GRINNELL, IOWA -- May 20, 2012 Two years and nine months after the McIntyre Bridge (aka McDowell) was swept off downstream the State Historic Preservation Office on March 28, 2012 asked the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) to take away the designation. SHPO by declaration on December 21, 2009 had concurred with Marlin Ingalls’Technical Advisory Report that there was enough historic material remaining for the span to remain on eligible for the National Register.
Being delisted from the NRHP means that the bridge is not eligible for the Historic Development Resource Grant (HDRP) that is granted annually by SHPO through funds provided by the Iowa legislature. We have tried for two years to win this grant and had hoped that this would finally be the year where bridge repairs would be funded, stated Julie Bowers, Executive Director of NSRGA. We are very disappointed in our SHPO, and wonder what changed”.
A site survey was scheduled for summer of 2012 utilizing grant funds from the National Trust for Historic Preservation. NSRGA was granted an extension of time to put this survey together while finding more funds for the match. The National Trust will be contacted to see if we remain eligible to use those grant funds after being delisted from the NRHP.
The association’s intention is to find the funds and product donors to rebuild the bridge in Grinnell, Iowa in the fall of 2012. Howard McDonough has offered a place just southeast of Grinnell for the hands on seminar. The workshop will be marketed to engineers, students, welders and steel fabricators interested in learning the crafts utilized in iron truss bridge repair. Heat Straightening eye-bars, welding angle to fabricate the vertical posts, hot riveting, fabricating the laterals and diagonal rods and repairing the top chord span will be topics covered over the two week workshop. The bridge will then be put back together and reset over the N. Skunk River.
Workin’ Bridges documentary of the restoration of Piano Bridge, an 1885 Pratt trust built by the King Iron Bridge Company has been submitted to the Snake Alley Festival of Films in Burilngton, Iowa June 8-11. The documentary educates while entertaining the viewer on construction methods for iron truss bridge repair from the lift to the reset. It features interviews with John Barton, Chief Engineer of Texas Department of Transportation and Nels Raynor of BACH Steel who will be overseeing all of the repairs of the McIntyre Bowstring. The distribution plan is being generated and samples have been sent to television/cable outlets. The dvd’s will be available for sale through NSRGA in June.
Eligibility Statement from SHPO 12/21/09
NRHP Letter to Delist the bridge
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Jules... It sounds like from all I have heard that the SHPO is what is SCREWED UP...just my observation.
The latest update is that SHPO put in a request to delist our bridge on March 28, 2012. This was not something we were told and we are fighting that determination in Washington DC. It affects our ability to write for a grant and it is "SCREWED up....we have paperwork signed by SHPO in January 0f 2011 stating that we would remain listed.
Thanks. Not on twitter. Here is a poster.
Yup...doing it right now!
I cast my vote, hopefully everyone else at Bridgehunter does the same. I also posted a notice of this vote on my Historic Bridge Newsroom twitter.
OK FOLKS - here's your chance to help our bridge restoration efforts. It would mean a lot. Pleas and thank you.
We are up at the Pepsi Refresh Challenge for voting for the McIntyre Bowstring Bridge. I can't tell you all how much it would mean if you would click on the link and vote for our project. YIPPPEEE..
Get It Up & Get It Over Restoration - 1883 McIntyre Bowstring Bridge - Pepsi Refresh Project
Off to the river to enjoy a day by my NOT bridge. All those good thoughts should translate to good deeds, someday she will be fixed and back over the river, but not this day. It was my goal to have that bridge done by now and that goal did not happen.
Go out and do some bridge spotting today folks and see what you can do to be part of the solution to save a bridge.
Wish I could be there!
OCTOBER 23rd....Skunk River Sunday. Come bridge spotting in central Iowa. Great Food and Fun....All day from bacon to beef. Bring anything you think you might need and share the rest....
Pepsi Refresh Project is reviewing our project proposal for $50,000 to "Get it Up & Get it Over" - Restoration of the McIntyre Bowstring.
We'll let you know when you can make a difference, hopefully starting November 1. It would help us a lot towards our project as we help others in their projects....
Julie = Undaunted
As a former graphic design major (I still do a lot of artwork though) let me say nice job on the painting julie.
maybe, maybe not. incredibly long wait to find out the future of our bridge. I'm sure those nice folks at SHPO have no idea that their vacations and getting a job done on deadline are just no big deal to most people. I just wanted my bridge to stay standing all this time, then when it fell down, I didn't want the county to get to "scrap" her. I can put her down after, because we've done our best, but I continue to hope for good news.
Webmaster's note: The photo that was here has been incorporated into the main site.
Tony, man. didn't know. we were just there assessing the bowstring. on ...I have complete empathy. Pull it out. See what's up.
Fryer's Ford Bridge is in Conway County, Arkansas Julie.....same as the Springfield Bowstring.
Fryer Bridge. Where is that?
I have written a story to go in our Iowa preservation magazine. I would like comments, critique, spell checking, fact addtitions if anyone is interested. It's up on facebook at Workin' Bridges.
If only that could be done with Fryer Bridge.
Loading requirements, look at how they dealt with this, rather than the 85 lb pedestrian limit. Very creative. Of course this bridge is out there, not like others that require that kind of limit. Thinking out of the box is good. Thanks Spicer.!)
That's GREAT news!!!
The plans have been finalized by the engineer and we have a stamped "SEALED" drawing from SPICER Group in Saginaw Michigan. Now all we need is the money to fix it. HRDP grant applied for and the wait begins....but it is one more step on the way to a successful restoration.
In the meantime Workin' Bridges estimated rehabilitions for 6 bridges, estimated at 1,000,000. That's not big zeros for that many bridges. Pretty cool. Not looking for more at the moment but if they come our way, bring em on. The bridges need to have groups in place that want to fix them for a starter. Then we can give you a Scope of Work.
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The bridge has been fished out of the water by BACH Steel of Holt, Michigan and the pieces have been transported to Michigan for repair. She was a mangled mess but these guys know what they are doing.
Our efforts right now are to keep the bridge on the historic register which will allow for some funding but we need $10,000 out of the $100,000 to get the engineers feasibility study commissioned.
We have also been given the rights to take the Corbetts Mill Bowstring out of the water and work with it.
These bridges do not have to be scrapped. Tell your counties about our group. We want to save bridges and find new homes or uses for them if they can't stay where they are.
Our bridge will go back over the Skunk River next year, with any amount of luck.
Had a great event, and met with Conservation Board. They are with us and our next step is the Board of Supervisors. We have a plan, have met with experts, are raising funds, and are on to the next phase.
THanks for your help.
It looks like the floodwaters did do some significant damage as the bowstring arch is tilting and the roadway slanted. Even though I'm from the region, I've never been to the bridge, but from what I see, it looks like the best possible solution would be to dismantle the structure, sandblast it and rebuild it on a new roadway in order to prolong its life significantly. The costs may be high but at the same time, you have a lot of support behind you as it is one of a few left over. I don't think the county wants to see the structure go without any effort to rehabilitate it. Good luck with your project.
You people ROCK!.......I know the whole Bridgehunter family will be supporting you as well!
Our group is off and running, after having gotten our Board of Supervisors for Poweshiek County to give us some time to figure out a plan, we have met and will start fund raising soon.
We are looking for an independent engineer to give us an estimate on repair, if not the dismantling and repairing.
If anyone knows any person who might fit this bill, please let us know.
These pictures reflect the work that my father (91) did to crawl around down there. He also has a plan that an engineer needs to look at.
Webmaster's note: The photos that were here have been incorporated into the main site.
Because the span in question is a King Bridge, you might also look for resources that might be available through the King Bridge Museum and those who are trying to preserve examples of King Bridges.
There are over 70 examples of King Bridges on this site. You can find the listings at
There was a great effort to preserve a King Bridge in Helena, Montana that doesn't have a very happy ending.
Check out the resources should give you an outline of how to go about your preservation efforts. Good luck, and thanks for trying to save another historic structure!
Check out the National Trust for Historic Preservation that did a case study of the Michigan Street Bridge in Sturgeon Bay, Door County, Wisconsin. (The bridge can be seen on this site at http://bridgehunter.com/wi/door/B15010000030000/.)
In fact, the Michigan Street Bridge has two entries on this site, one if for the multi-span through truss approaches to the rolling Scherzer type bascule span. A white paper about the bridge and its preservation was reprinted on the bridge listing, which you can find at
(To be continued)
This bridge was damaged by spring ice flows. The bridge was scheduled for demolition but a reprieve was granted to allow efforts to raise funds for repairs. Anyone having suggestions regarding funding and repair methods is asked to pass along that advice. Thanks in advance.