4 votes

Hale Bridge


Elevation From West

The bridge was relocated to Wapsipinicon State Park in Anamosa. For more about the relocation, see the State Historical Society of Iowa website page about the Hale Bridge.

Photo taken by Joe Elliott, Summer, 1995

View photos at Library of Congress

BH Photo #123466

Street View 


The airlift

Play video on YouTube


Located at the small village of Hale, this structure crosses the Wapsipinicon River in Hale Township, some six miles northwest of Oxford Junction. This extraordinary three-span bowstring structure is supported by stone abutments and massive piers with concrete vertical extensions and angled cutwaters. The history of the bridge can be traced to 1877. In April of that year the Jones County Board of Supervisors let a comprehensive contract to the King Iron Bridge and Manufacturing Company to furnish all iron bridges in the county from April 1877 until early 1878. Evidently, the Hale location had already been slated for a permanent crossing, because pile driving for the bridge's substructure was begun shortly thereafter. The piling for the center pier was recorded as being "drove and capped" in early fall. The Cleveland, Ohio fabricator used wrought iron components rolled by the Trenton (New Jersey) Iron Works to construct a 100-foot through arch-truss and one shorter pony arch that winter, using King's patented tubular bowstring design. The county evidently changed the bridge's configuration the following spring and contracted with King Bridge to fabricate and erect one additional pony arch to replace the earlier timber approaches. The Hale Bridge was finally completed in June 1879. It has functioned in place since that time, with the replacement of various superstructural members and buttressing and raising of the piers as the most serious alterations. The bowstring arch-truss was the iron span of choice for Iowa counties in the late 1860s and 1870s. Marketed exclusively throughout the Midwest by such industry giants as the King Iron Bridge and Manufacturing Company and the Wrought Iron Bridge Company, these often-patented bridge configurations featured a wide range of span lengths, economical fabrication cost and relatively quick erection. The proliferation of the bowstring corresponded with the initial development of Iowa's road system; as a result, perhaps thousands of these prototypical iron spans were erected throughout the state. The bowstring had some rather severe structural flaws, however, relating primarily to lateral stability of the arches, and it was largely superseded by the pin-connected truss in the early 1880s. Despite this, some bowstrings were still erected in Iowa in the 1880s, although the number dwindled precipitously by the decade's end. Through subsequent attrition, almost all of Iowa's bowstrings have since been replace and demolished. Now less than twenty remain in place. Through its association with the King Iron Bridge and Manufacturing Company and owing to its multiplicity of spans, the Hale Bridge is both historically and technologically significant as one of the last remaining examples in the state of what was once a mainstay structural type [adapted from Hybben, Roise, and Fraser 1992].


Relocated Bowstring through truss bridge over Wapsipinicon River on 100th Avenue in Hale Township
Hale Township, Jones County, Iowa
Open to pedestrians only
Built 1877-1879; Replaced 2003; Relocated 2006
- King Bridge Co. of Cleveland, Ohio
The three-span Hale Bridge is a striking, and extremely rare, example of what was once a common bridge form: the bowstring arch-truss. In the 1860s and 1870s bowstring arch-trusses were used extensively because of their great structural efficiency and relatively low construction costs. The Hale Bridge is an excellent example of the work of the King Iron Bridge and Manufacturing Company, a major bridge fabricator who erected a great number of this type of bridge throughout the nation, including in Iowa.

Historian: Geoffrey H. Goldberg, Engineer, August 1995

"This [HAER] document was prepared as part of the Iowa Historic Bridges Recording Project performed durng 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."
Webmaster's note: Original location was 42.004570, -91.065110.

Length of largest span: 100.0 ft.
Total length: 263.0 ft.
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on May 15, 1998
Also called
Wapsipinicon River Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+42.09271, -91.27468   (decimal degrees)
42°05'34" N, 91°16'29" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/642681/4661510 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Inventory numbers
NRHP 98000539 (National Register of Historic Places reference number)
BH 37394 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • December 26, 2020: New photo from Luke
  • October 5, 2020: New video from Art Suckewer
  • October 9, 2016: New photos from Quinn Phelan
  • October 1, 2013: Photo imported by Dave King
  • July 26, 2011: Updated by Luke Harden: added descrip
  • October 22, 2010: New photos from Jason Smith
  • March 26, 2009: Updated by Anthony Dillon
  • September 9, 2008: Added by J.R. Manning

Related Bridges 


  • J.R. Manning - thekitchenguy [at] sbcglobal [dot] net
  • HAER IA-59 - Hale Bridge
  • State Historical Society of Iowa - Documentation of the relocation of the Hale Bridge to Wapsipinicon State Park in Anamosa.
  • Tony Dillon - spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com
  • Anamosa Journal-Eureka "Bridge Makes Move from Hale to Anamosa" - March 16, 2006 newspaper report of the National Guard move of the bridge to its new location.
  • Jason Smith - flensburg [dot] bridgehunter [dot] av [at] googlemail [dot] com
  • Luke
  • Dave King - DKinghawkfan [at] hotmail [dot] com
  • Quinn Phelan - qphelan [at] earthlink [dot] net
  • Art Suckewer - Asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com


Hale Bridge
Posted May 9, 2012, by julie bowers (jbowerz)

I have all of that info. they rehabed that bridge with bolts. contact your atate national guard. they might help. dont xall us though we are out of business with our nonprofit.

Hale Bridge
Posted May 9, 2012, by Luke Harden (lmharden [at] iastate [dot] edu)

Contact the Nation Guard, because that's who actually moved the bridge via helicopter.

Hale Bridge
Posted May 9, 2012, by J. Randall Houp (ghostbridgehunter [at] yahoo [dot] com)

I need the current e-mail address for ROSE ROHR who was influential in saving the Hale Bridge. We are wanting to use a helicopter in relocating the Danville-Mickles Bowstring Bridge in Yell County, Arkansas. We need her advice and input. Allan King Sloan told me to contact her. Thanx! Please contact:

J. Randall Houp, email: ghostbridgehunter@yahoo.com

Yell County, Arkansas Bridge Historian,

Yell County Historical & Genealogical Society,

Petit Jean River Bridge Restoration Member.

Hale Bridge
Posted October 8, 2010, by Anonymous

Moved by helicopter in 2006