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UP - Tiffany Stone Arch Bridge

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Tiffany Stone Arch Bridge

Photo taken by J.R. Manning in August 2008

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The Tiffany Stone Arch Bridge Over Turtle Creek 

Written by J.R. Manning

I found a book in my local library that is, apparently, one of those paperback books that is self-published by a museum for sale in their gift shop. It's from the Milwaukee Public Museum, called Historic Wisconsin Buildings: Survey in Pioneer Architecture by Richard W.E. Perrin. (Second Edition, 1981, Original Pub date 1973.) Perrin has photos of three Wisconsin stone arch bridges, including the Shioc River Stone Bridge in Outagamie County between Shiocton and Shawano, and the Palm Tree Road Bridge over the Sheboygan River, near St. Cloud in Fond du Lac County.

Perrin says that when the Tiffany Stone Bridge was built, locomotives didn't weigh much more than 43 tons but since modern diesel locomotives weigh upward of 250 tons, the arches were reinforced with concrete rings.

He goes on to say that the Tiffany Stone Bridge was built in 1869, designed by a Chicago engineer named Van Mienen¹. The limestone from the area was not considered to be strong enough to hold locomotives, so the substructure stone was shipped in from Wapun and the superstructure stone came from Duck Creek in Brown County, near Green Bay.

It is a stunning structure and local residents are justifiably proud of it. It is considered to be the oldest stone arch bridge extant in the state of Wisconsin, predating the Goette Road Bridge by 8 years. A friend of mine, who is the director of the historic Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay, put me on to this bridge a couple of years ago. A tip o' the hat to Jim for sending me on the hunt for this bridge.

¹ - Author's Note: Van Mienen was the chief engineer of the Chicago & Northwestern Railway Company, that had been formed by the merger of several railroad companies. Van Mienen's designs were inspired by classical arch bridges, this one, in particular, from a bridge in Campiègne, France. (The Chicago & Northwestern provided the link between Chicago and Omaha in the transcontinental railroad. The Union Pacific continued the transcontinental railroad west from Omaha. Today, the Union Pacific owns much of the old C&NW, including this bridge.)

Facts 

Overview
Stone arch bridge over Turtle Creek on Union Pacific Railroad in Town of Turtle
Location
Turtle, Rock County, Wisconsin
Status
Open to traffic
History
Built in 1869 by the C&NW; Iron pipe railing replaced a post-and-chain railing in 1935; Sometime in the 1930s a steel grid, covered with concrete, was added to reinforce the arches
Builder
- John Watson
Design
Stone arch
Dimensions
Total length: 387.0 ft.
Deck width: 16.0 ft.
Recognition
Eligible for the National Register of Historic Places
Also called
UP - Turtle Creek Stone Arch Bridge
Chicago & Northwestern Railway Bridge No. 128
Tiffany Stone Bridge
CNW - Turtle Creek Stone Arch Bridge
CNW - Tiffany Stone Arch Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+42.58080, -88.92340   (decimal degrees)
42°34'51" N, 88°55'24" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/342162/4716057 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Shopiere
Inventory numbers
NRHP 82005121 (National Register of Historic Places reference number)
BH 37109 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • June 16, 2014: New photos from John Marvig
  • October 23, 2012: Photo imported by Luke Harden
  • August 14, 2012: Updated by Luke Harden: Corrected typos and added panoramic photograph.
  • July 2, 2011: Updated by J.R. Manning: Added Length and Width Stats
  • June 18, 2009: Essay added by J.R. Manning
  • June 17, 2009: New photos from J.R. Manning
  • August 8, 2008: Added by J.R. Manning

Sources 

  • J.R. Manning - thekitchenguy [at] sbcglobal [dot] net
  • HAER WI-24 - Chicago & North Western Railway Bridge No. 128, Spanning Turtle Creek, Tiffany, Rock, WI
  • Luke
  • John Marvig - marvigj27 [at] gmail [dot] com

Comments 

UP - Tiffany Stone Arch Bridge
Posted June 11, 2014, by John Marvig (marvigj27 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Upon further research, I learned Rock County paid a lot of money to buy up land for a park, which is open to the public, offering good views of this bridge.

Tiffany Stone Bridge
Posted December 5, 2009, by J.R. Manning (thekitchenguy [at] sbcglobal [dot] net)

It appears to me that this bridge is, in fact, listed on the NRHP. Here is the listing from the database of the National Register of Historic Places:

Tiffany Stone Bridge (added 1982 - Structure - #82005121)

Also known as Chicago and Northwestern Railway Bridge No. 128

SE of Tiffany, Tiffany

Historic Significance: Architecture/Engineering

Architect, builder, or engineer: Watson,John, Mienen,Van

Architectural Style: No Style Listed

Area of Significance: Engineering

Period of Significance: 1850-1874

Owner: Private

Historic Function: Transportation

Historic Sub-function: Rail-Related

Current Function: Transportation

Current Sub-function: Rail-Related

Source: http://www.nationalregisterofhistoricplaces.com/WI/Rock/state3.html

Uploaded file: JPEG image data, JFIF standard 1.02, 158979 bytes

Tiffany Stone Bridge
Posted November 24, 2009, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

This bridge is not "Listed" on the National Register, it was "Determined Eligible" after an "Owner Objection" which basically means the bridge is historic and if the federal government is involved all associated processes must be followed as if it were listed. However, the owner (the railroad company) did not want the bridge listed probably because they do not care about the bridge's historic significance and do not want to preserve the bridge.