3 votes

Abandoned CNW - Cottonwood River Bridge


Dotson Railroad Bridge


Photo taken by John Marvig in January 2013


BH Photo #247404


History, and Access to the Bridge 

Written by John Marvig

Here is what I was told about the bridge.
-Built around or in 1924
-Original Bridge was wood trestle
Used to be lift bridge
Outlaw Jesse James blew up bank near here in Dotson, a now non existant town.

Here is what I observed
The bridge could indeed have been a lift bridge, as the bridge shoes have hinges.
A Tree is growing through the truss structure.
Both the piers have huge scour line across them, and need attention
The Quadrangular truss is very heavily built.
The ties on the east end are almost all loose, and are very beat up.
There are several weeds on the west end that look really nasty.
You COULD drive a 4-wheeler over this bridge.
Go in the fall, winter or spring for the best views, and to get down on the west side.

If you want to go to this bridge, I would drive or walk down the old railbeds. They are public property. There is a trestle on the railbeds, so be aware of that. The railbeds are flattened down by snowmobiles in the winter, making the 1/2 mile walk much easier.

I am going to tell you now, a lot of the photos I have are from private property, and I was on there with permission.

A big thanks to Edward and Jonlee Brown for letting me on your property!!!


Quadrangular lattice through truss bridge over Cottonwood River on Abandoned CNW Railroad
Brown County, Minnesota
Built 1924
- Chicago & North Western Railway (CNW)
- Dakota, Minnesota, & Eastern Railroad (DME)
Quadrangular lattice through truss
Length of largest span: 160.0 ft.
Total length: 442.0 ft.
Also called
CNW Bridge #610
Dotson Railroad Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+44.20035, -95.07753   (decimal degrees)
44°12'01" N, 95°04'39" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/333996/4896224 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Sanborn NE
Inventory numer
BH 51271 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • January 26, 2013: New photos from John Marvig
  • August 10, 2012: Updated by John Marvig: Added category "railroad"
  • February 17, 2012: Essay added by John Marvig
  • February 12, 2012: Updated by John Marvig: Added categories "Skewed", "Abandoned"