7 votes

Hardin City Bridge


Elevation From South

Photo by Joe Elliott, Summer 1995, for HAER

View photos at Library of Congress

BH Photo #123317


Relocated through truss bridge northwest of Steamboat Rock
Hardin County, Iowa
Relocated to a wildlife refuge just off the street. Bridge is derelict but may be relocated to a park or bike trail in the future
Future prospects
Rumors have encircled that the bridge may be relocated to either a park or bike trail for according to IaDOT, a couple suitors have expressed interest in reusing the bridge although it has not been confirmed if the project will go forward at this time.
Built 1879; relocated 1989 to a location one mile from its original location
- Western Bridge Works of Fort Wayne, Indiana (Fabricator & Erector)
"Configured as a pin-connected Whipple (or double-intersection Pratt) through truss, the Hardin City Bridge is one of only eight such structures remaining in Iowa. It is the only bridge in Iowa by the short-lived Western Bridge Works, Fort Wayne, Indiana. With its Whipple web configuration, cast-iron hip blocks and bearing shoes, and rolled wrought-iron components, the Hardin City Bridge typifies wagon bridge construction of the late 1870s.

"In April of 1879 the suprevisors awarded the contract to Western Bridge Works of Fort Wayne, Indiana. Using cast-iron joint blocks and wrought-iron structural sections produced by the Passaic Rolling Mills of Paterson, New Jersey, and the Pottsville (Pennsylvania) Rolling Mills, Western Bridge completed its erection of the 140' pin-connected truss late that year at a cost of $3145.38.

"This document was prepared as part of the Iowa Historic Bridges Recording Project performed during the Summer of 1995 by the Historic American Engineering Record (HAER). The project was sponsored by the Iowa Department of Transportation. (IDOT). Preliminary research on this bridge was performed by Clayton B. Fraser of Fraserdesign, Loveland, CO."

Historian: Leslie Pitner, August 1995

Span length: 140.0 ft.
Total length: 140.0 ft.
Deck width: 16.0 ft.
Approximate latitude, longitude
+42.44872, -93.10937   (decimal degrees)
42°26'55" N, 93°06'34" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/491006/4699604 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Steamboat Rock
Inventory number
BH 37388 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • July 20, 2020: Updated by Art Suckewer: fixed typos
  • July 20, 2020: New photos from Melissa Brand-Welch
  • June 2, 2015: New photos from Kevin Skow
  • August 27, 2012: Updated by Luke Harden: Added IRON fabricator to builder's section
  • August 27, 2012: Updated by Don Morrison: moved map pin to position of bridge
  • September 8, 2011: Updated by Jason Smith: Bridge is located off of 170th Street at a wildlife refuge. Plans are to relocate the bridge although they are not etched in stone as of this entry.
  • May 27, 2011: Updated by Tony Dillon: Added new info
  • September 9, 2008: Added by J.R. Manning

Related Bridges 


  • J.R. Manning - thekitchenguy [at] sbcglobal [dot] net
  • HAER IA-57 - Hardin City Bridge
  • Tony Dillon - spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com
  • Jason Smith - flensburg [dot] bridgehunter [dot] av [at] googlemail [dot] com
  • Historic Bridges of Iowa
  • Don Morrison
  • Luke
  • Kevin Skow - weatherbum [at] hotmail [dot] com
  • Iowa History Pictures Facebook Page - Video
  • Melissa Brand-Welch - melissabrandwelch [at] msn [dot] com
  • Art Suckewer - Asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com


Hardin City Bridge
Posted July 21, 2020, by Luke

It's ultimately a shame, because Hardin City and Eagle City could easily have been reused at Pine Lake State Park as the two pedestrian structures crossing the spillway/connecting channel between Upper/Lower Pine Lake instead of the MOBs that are there now.

Hardin City Bridge
Posted July 20, 2020, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

I'm surprised Mr. Vlotho didn't have his crew dismantling this one WHILE it was being moved. The bridge would have been better off left standing next to it's replacement, as is it's going to pot.

Hardin City Bridge
Posted July 20, 2020, by Luke

Not surprising that Vlotho, who later was fired from Hardin county for illegally demolishing the Eagle City Bowstring, thought so lowly of historic structures.