1 vote

Brooke Creek Bridge


Photo taken by Lynn Graesing//Provided by Linn Grove Iowa.org


BH Photo #273581



Arch bridge over Brooke Creek on 470th Street
Buena Vista County, Iowa
Closed to all traffic
Built 1906; bypassed 2001
- George K. McCollough of Storm Lake, Iowa (Design)
- W.A. Barnes of Storm Lake, Iowa (Contractor)
Closed-spandrel arch
Length of largest span: 59.0 ft.
Total length: 60.0 ft.
Deck width: 17.8 ft.
Eligible for the National Register of Historic Places
Approximate latitude, longitude
+42.83645, -95.28598   (decimal degrees)
42°50'11" N, 95°17'10" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/313175/4745187 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Peterson SE
Land survey
T. 93 N., R. 38 W., Sec. 36
Inventory numbers
IA 86550 (Iowa bridge number)
BH 12958 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • January 29, 2014: New photos from Luke Harden
  • November 26, 2011: Removed duplicate listing
  • April 14, 2010: Updated by J.R. Manning: Added Road Name



Brooke Creek bridge
Posted July 28, 2011, by Michael Goff (michael [dot] goff [at] odot [dot] state [dot] or [dot] us)

The court cases mentioned in the description were a major spring board in the career of Conde McCullough, famed Oregon bridge engineer. McCullough was the lead bridge engineer for the Iowa State Highway Commission at the time of many of these court cases and served as an expert witness assisting in breaking Lutenís hold on the concrete bridge market. McCullough also worked for James Marsh for a short period prior to becoming an engineer with the ISHC, which may have also been a factor in taking on the Luten lawsuits.

I find it amusing that this subject should come up, since I was just in the process of seeing if I could find any remaining McCullough designed bridges in Iowa.

Brooke Creek bridge
Posted July 28, 2011, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

Based on the information from the historic bridge inventory, it appears that this bridge is not a true "Luten arch" because usually that is reserved for bridges that Luten himself was associated with. However, it would appear to be a bridge that uses a reinforcing that is at least somewhat similar to Luten's design. I honestly believe these patent-happy engineers, (Joseph Strauss is another good example) purposely came up with as many patents as they could think of and used as broad language as they could in the patent text so that they could sue the maximum number of people possible. It was a business strategy, a way to defeat and scare away the competition.

Brooke Creek bridge
Posted July 28, 2011, by Clark Vance (cvance [at] dogmail [dot] com)

Yep--my error. My description was a Melan, not Luten. This bridge must have used the Luten type of reinforcing--not the internal structure of a Melan--based on the assumption that Luten thought he should get credit for the design.

Brooke Creek bridge
Posted July 28, 2011, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

Deck arch bridges which are essentially a steel arch encased in concrete are generally called Melan arches. The Luten system used reinforcing rods, according to Luten's own literature.

Brooke Creek bridge
Posted July 28, 2011, by Clark Vance (cvance [at] dogmail [dot] com)

It sounds like it's close enough copy of a Luten to annoy Luten. I think technically the Luten system uses internal steel arches to carry the load and encases them in concrete. Without seeing the internals it can't be verified but closed spandrel, subtype Luten, seems about right.