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Liberty Trail Kingpost Bridge


280th Street Bridge

View from the southeast.

Photo taken by Dave King; Taken July 2, 2013


BH Photo #258143

Street View 


This kingpost pony truss carries 280th Street, a gravel-surfaced county road, across a small stream in southwestern Buchanan County, five miles southwest of Independence. This structure was built in 1898 by D.H. Young of Manchester just prior to the widespread introduction of the Pratt pony truss design in the county. The bridge was part of an eight-bridge contract let to Young for $3,304.70 that year. Young had been active in Buchanan County since 1893 and was the contractor for most of the county bridges built between 1896 and 1899. Supported by a timber substructure and featuring a timber deck with two angle lattice guardrails, this pony truss maintains an excellent degree of physical integrity, as it continues to carry traffic in its rural setting. With its roots extending to the Middle Ages, the kingpost pony truss is the most rudimentary truss type. Numerous kingposts were built on Iowa's early roads in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, executed first as timber-iron combination structures and later in all-metal configurations. The kingpost as a structural type was limited to relatively short-span applications, however, and as steel beam bridges received widespread acceptance after the turn of the century, erection of kingpost trusses declined rapidly. This bridge in Buchanan County is a typically configured early example of kingpost truss fabrication. Its modern substructure diminishes its physical integrity somewhat, but the structure is nevertheless a well-preserved and noteworthy example of a now-uncommon structural type. Since the site was nominated for the National Register, the bridge has been moved and now lies on a pedestrian trail ion the SW 6th Street Liberty Trail in a park in Independence [adapted from Hybben, Roise, and Fraser 1992].


Relocated pony truss bridge on the SW 6th Street Liberty Trail in Independence
Independence, Buchanan County, Iowa
Open to pedestrians only
Originally built 1898 southwest of Independence on 280th Street; relocated 2004
- D.H. Young of Manchester, Iowa
Kingpost pony truss
Length of largest span: 52.2 ft.
Total length: 56.1 ft.
Deck width: 27.9 ft.
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on June 25, 1998
Approximate latitude, longitude
+42.46446, -91.90495   (decimal degrees)
42°27'52" N, 91°54'18" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/590027/4701927 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Land survey
T. 87 N., R. 09 W., Sec. 06
Average daily traffic (as of 2005)
Inventory numbers
NRHP 98000756 (National Register of Historic Places reference number)
IA 81330 (Iowa bridge number)
BH 12924 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of January 2009)
Overall condition: Good
Superstructure condition rating: Very Good (8 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Very Good (8 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Very Good (8 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 97.9 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • April 2, 2015: Updated by Dave King: Added categories "Pin-connected", "Wooden deck"
  • July 2, 2013: New photos from Dave King
  • June 9, 2013: New Street View added by Dave King
  • August 15, 2011: New photo from Luke Harden