1 vote

Mill Creek Bridge


Iowa Department of Transportation


BH Photo #271278



"The most disastrous and harrowing calamity that has befallen this city and, in fact the country in the valley of the Little Sioux occurred June 24, 1891, by reason of a flood which inundated the entire valley, carrying before it houses, barns, stock and property of every kind," reported a 1914 county history. The flood produced widespread damage throughout the county and capital city of Cherokee. "Every bridge in town is swept away," a reporter stated immediately after the flood, "and communication between the main part and the addition is difficult. An effort was made to save the iron bridge across the [Little Sioux] river on Second Street by tearing off the planking, but soon after the work was completed the huge structure was seen to totter and fall." Cherokee County was faced with the daunting task of rebuilding virtually every major bridge in the county. On July 6th the Board of Supervisors convened a special session to receive competitive proposals for 11 new iron spans over the Little Sioux River and Mill Creek. The supervisors that day awarded a contract for all of the bridges to the George E. King Bridge Company of Des Moines for $17,650. Using trusses fabricated by the King Iron Bridge and Manufacturing Company, parent to the Des Moines King firm, a King Bridge crew completed this 128-foot span, pinned Pratt through truss along with the other bridges later that year. This bridge and a truss over Mill Creek northwest of Larrabee are the only two spans left from the extensive 1891 bridge construction. With both superstructures and substructures intact, the Mill Creek Bridge has retained an exceptional degree of physical integrity. Virtually all of Iowa's in-state bridge contractors relied heavily on pin-connected Pratt construction for roadway trusses in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. So much so, in fact, that Pratts outnumbered all other types of bridges combined in the state during this period. The George King Bridge Company, a western satellite of the gargantuan King Bridge Company of Cleveland, typified this reliance on pin-connected truss construction, and several King-built through trusses have been identified in Iowa by the statewide bridge inventory. The Little Sioux River Bridge is noteworthy as an early, well-preserved example of truss construction, erected by one of the state's most important early bridge contractor [adapted from Fraser 1992].


Through truss bridge over Mill Creek on Old IA 21
Cherokee County, Iowa
Bypassed by a new bridge on a different alignment and abandoned
Built 1891 by the George E. King Bridge Co.; bypassed in 2006 but appears to remain
- George E. King Bridge Co. of Des Moines, Iowa
Pratt through truss
Length of largest span: 128.0 ft.
Total length: 207.0 ft.
Deck width: 15.4 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 13.0 ft.
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on June 25, 1998
Approximate latitude, longitude
+42.77668, -95.52974   (decimal degrees)
42°46'36" N, 95°31'47" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/293054/4739120 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Cherokee North
Land survey
T. 92 N., R. 40 W., Sec. 23
Inventory numbers
NRHP 98000811 (National Register of Historic Places reference number)
IA 108950 (Iowa bridge number)
BH 13122 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • November 29, 2013: New photo from Luke Harden
  • February 20, 2012: Updated by Luke Harden: Bridge was built by the George E. King Bridge Co.
  • July 29, 2011: Updated by Luke Harden: Added description and photograph
  • May 5, 2011: Updated by Tony Dillon: This bridge has been bypassed but is still extant in satellite view