2 votes

Old Rusty Bridge



Photo taken by Jason Smith

BH Photo #101726


This long-span through truss carries county road 210th Avenue over the Little Sioux River near the northwestern city limits of Spencer. Now located at a rural crossing in Riverton Township, the structure was originally located on Main Street, south of downtown Spencer over the Little Sioux River. The first bridge at this heavily trafficked crossing was built in 1875 by J. Olson for $3,200. A timber pile structure, it lasted only six years before it was destroyed by an ice floe. The bridge was rebuilt, and then rebuilt again in 1889. Ten years later, the bridge needed a major rehabilitation, as the river had shifted its channel from under the truss. This time the Clay County Board of Supervisors opted to build a long-span steel truss, separated from the original truss by a series of timber pile spans. In the spring of 1900 the county contracted for its fabrication and erection with the Clinton Bridge and Iron Works. The Clinton, Iowa company was a prominent early twentieth-century Iowa bridge builder, responsible for constructing most of the major bridges in Clay County into the 1910s. Clinton B&I completed the pinned Pennsylvania span in 1901. The Main Street Bridge served this important route until 1915, when a new concrete arch bridge was erected. The 1901 truss was moved to this site and placed on concrete abutments prepared by the Thor Construction Company of Cedar Falls, Iowa. Here it remains today in essentially unaltered condition. Serving as a major crossing of the Little Sioux River, the Main Street Bridge was important to transportation and commerce in Spencer, the Clay County seat. The structure's 1901 span is technologically noteworthy as a relatively well-preserved example of a Pratt truss subtype - the Pennsylvania truss. With its polygonal upper chords and subdivided panels, the truss exemplifies this relatively uncommon type, which was used primarily for long-span applications around the turn of the century. Few Pennsylvania trusses were ever built in Iowa, and only a handful remains today. The two spans in Clay County are important representatives of this uncommon early wagon truss configuration [adapted from Zibell, Roise, and Fraser 1992].


Through truss bridge over Little Sioux River on 210th Avenue north of Spencer in Spencer
Spencer, Clay County, Iowa
Open to one-lane traffic
Built 1901 by the Clinton Bridge & Iron Works; relocated here in 1915
- Clinton Bridge & Iron Works of Clinton, Iowa (original fabrication in 1901)
- Thor Construction Co. of Cedar Falls, Iowa (1915 Relocator)
Pennsylvania through truss
Length of largest span: 177.0 ft.
Total length: 180.0 ft.
Deck width: 18.0 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 11.0 ft.
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on June 25, 1998
Also called
Dump Road Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+43.16300, -95.17013   (decimal degrees)
43°09'47" N, 95°10'12" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/323582/4781201 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Inventory numbers
IA 116790 (Iowa bridge number)
NRHP 98000810 (National Register of Historic Places reference number)
BH 13161 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • October 11, 2012: Updated by Jason Smith: Added category "A-frame portal"
  • March 12, 2012: Updated by Luke Harden: Added category "Pin-connected"
  • August 31, 2011: New photos from Jason Smith
  • May 16, 2011: New photos from James Baughn
  • February 6, 2008: New photo from Jason Smith
  • September 26, 2005: Posted photos from Jason Smith

Related Bridges 


  • Jason Smith - flensburg [dot] bridgehunter [dot] av [at] googlemail [dot] com
  • James Baughn - webmaster [at] bridgehunter [dot] com
  • Historic Bridges of Iowa


Old Rusty Bridge
Posted April 22, 2022, by Luke

That, and both myself and John Marvig participate in a Facebook page that would DEFINITELY have posted about this bridge being washed out.

Old Rusty Bridge
Posted April 22, 2022, by Paul Plassman

It still shows up in the 2021 NBI.

Old Rusty Bridge
Posted April 22, 2022, by Luke

Citation needed.

Old Rusty Bridge
Posted April 22, 2022, by Lonnie Donnegan

This bridge washed out a few years ago

Old Rusty Bridge
Posted May 16, 2011, by Molly Hill

I like the name, LOL!