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Dry Run Bridge


Iowa Department of Transportation


BH Photo #270762



At the turn of the century, Clayton County contracted with a variety of firms and individuals to build bridges across the county's myriad streams and ditches. For longer-span crossings (often across the Turkey River) the county opted for iron or steel trusses, whereas at shorter crossings, timber stringer structures and stone arches were often erected. Timber bridges were typically inexpensive, but had brief life spans. As a result, steel stringers gradually began to find favor in bridge building circles, instead of their unreliable timber counterparts. This transition, however, did not truly evolve until well after the turn of the century, and consequently pre-1900 steel stringers are exceedingly rare. Erected in 1898 in the small town of Littleport, the Dry Run Bridge is the earliest documented steel stringer still functioning on Iowa's roadways. On June 9, 1898, the Clayton County Board of Supervisor awarded A.C. Boyle contracts to erect eleven bridges at various locations throughout the county, including this modest steel stringer structure. Based in nearby McGregor, Iowa, Boyle erected the 30-foot structure for $6.15 per lineal foot. By early fall the same year Boyle had completed the bridge, and on September 16, 1898, he was paid $184.50 for his services. Nine years later, local stonemason A.J. Nading was paid $471 for the construction of two new stone abutments. Since that date, the modest crossing has carried local traffic with only minimal maintenance-related repairs [adapted from Fraser 1991].


Steel stringer bridge over Dry Run on Town Road
Littleport, Clayton County, Iowa
Open to traffic
Built 1898
- A.C. Boyle & Co. of McGregor, Iowa
- A.J. Nading of Clayton County, Iowa (Abutments)
Steel stringer
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on June 25, 1998
Approximate latitude, longitude
+42.75605, -91.37105   (decimal degrees)
42°45'22" N, 91°22'16" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/633298/4735011 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Inventory numbers
NRHP 98000803 (National Register of Historic Places reference number)
BH 51087 (Bridgehunter.com ID)


19th Century (7,744)
A.C. Boyle & Co. (3)
A.J. Nading (1)
Beam (16,018)
Built 1898 (310)
Built during 1890s (3,029)
Clayton County, Iowa (113)
Iowa (6,563)
Littleport, Iowa (5)
NR-listed (2,974)
Open (40,081)
Owned privately (1,794)
Steel stringer (6,376)

Update Log 

  • November 20, 2013: New photo from Luke Harden
  • January 25, 2012: Added by Luke Harden