5 votes

Manitowoc Rapids Truss Bridge


Looking north

Preserved in place in a public park.

Photo taken by Robert Thompson in February 2011


BH Photo #193342


Street Views 


This is an early truss bridge, thankfully, the locals had the foresight to preserve this lovely specimen in place. The replacement (riveted deck girder) bridge is a few hundred feet downstream.

EDITED TO ADD: The history of this bridge likely goes back to the military road, constructed by the army, to connect Fort Dearborn, in Chicago, to Fort Howard, near Green Bay. The names "Green Bay Road/Avenue/Trail" are still in use from Chicago to the Wisconsin-Illinois state line to Green Bay, most of them following the alignment of the original military road. (Most of the route has been signed by the State of Wisconsin as the Green Bay Ethnic Trail.)

According to Christopher Bessert, in 1926, when the US government took over management of the federal highway system and implemented today's familiar numbering scheme, US-141 was designated to connect Milwaukee and Green Bay along the Lake Michigan shore. The "1" shows it to be the offspring of its parent route, US-41, that connects Milwaukee to Green Bay along the west shore of Lake Winnebago.

When Manitowoc was bypassed in 1956 by rerouting US-141, this bridge obviously could not handle highway traffic. The referenced Rapids Road bridge was built, just a few yards to the south, to accommodate the new bypass. For more about the history of US-141, see Christopher Bessert's Wisconsin Highways website.)

Somewhere along the line, the road name was changed from Green Bay Road to Mill Road to commemorate the Manitowoc Rapids mill operated by the Klingholz family. (Thanks to the Manitowoc County Historical Society for that bit of information.)

(US-141 itself was bypassed when it was upgraded to a full freeway, just a mile west of here. Today, it is known as I-43 and little of US-141 still exists.)


Through truss bridge over Manitowoc River on foot/bicycle trail
Manitowoc, Manitowoc County, Wisconsin
Open to pedestrians
Future prospects
Used as part of a pedestrian / bicycle trail, connecting to a public park.
Built 1887 by Wisconsin Bridge & Iron Co.
- Wisconsin Bridge & Iron Co. of Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Pinned Pratt through truss.
Vertical clearance above deck: 9.0 ft.
Also called
Green Bay Road Bridge
Mill Road Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+44.09613, -87.70172   (decimal degrees)
44°05'46" N, 87°42'06" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/443831/4882788 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Land survey
T. 19 N., R. 23 E., Sec. 23
580 ft. above sea level
Inventory numbers
BH 48041 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • July 15, 2014: New Street View added by Ralph Demars
  • February 26, 2014: New Street View added by Dave King
  • June 30, 2012: Updated by J.R. Manning: Added photos and added to the description.
  • February 6, 2011: Updated by Anthony Dillon: Added truss type
  • February 6, 2011: Added by Robert Thompson



Manitowoc Rapids Truss Bridge
Posted December 11, 2013, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

That postcard shows a 2 span truss of similar design, reportedly the 2 span was on nearby Broadway Street.

Manitowoc Rapids truss bridge
Posted December 11, 2013, by Robert Thompson
Manitowoc Rapids truss bridge
Posted February 7, 2011, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Five stars from me!

Manitowoc Rapids truss bridge
Posted February 6, 2011, by Anthony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Indeed.....an absolute beauty!

Would love to see what it would look like with a proper restoration!

Manitowoc Rapids truss bridge
Posted February 6, 2011, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

Spectacular bridge!