2 votes

Delta Covered Bridge


Sometime prior to the arson.

Photo taken by Jerrye & Roy Klotz

License: Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike (CC BY-SA)


View this photo on Wikipedia

BH Photo #246256



The Delta Covered Bridge was constructed in 1869 at a cost of $1,620 and was the only arch-style covered bridge west of the Mississippi River. The bridge hovered over the North Skunk River south of Delta. The bridge was completed in 1869 with an architectural design by Jerry Merrifield and carried traffic such as steam engines for threshing machines. The roof was covered by hand-hewned shakes and was replaced with cedar shingles. The bridge spanned 12 feet wide and 80 feet long and built of native timbers, oak and red elm, with pine framework. The beams and timbers were held with wooden pegs. The bridge was said to be the oldest covered bridge in Iowa and to be the only bridge of the Burr Arch type of construction west of the Mississippi. The "Pennsylvania" arch style of the bridge has made the bridge even more historic. In 1955, the bridge was listed as one of 12 covered bridges in Iowa, and, at the time, the only one outside of Madison and Marion counties. Travel though the bridge became difficult as holes wore through. The bridge was rededicated on Oct. 21, 1956 and the Delta Lions Club and Delta Womens Club began fundraising efforts to restore the bridge. In 1959, the bridge was taken off the county road system and closed to vehicle traffic. It became a park for the Keokuk County Conservation Department and remained a pedestrian bridge. As flooding became a problem, a channel was cut north in 1973 to preserve the bridge. The bridge was then added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. In 1982, the bridge was reconstructed largely from original materials.

September 3, 2003 around 8:30 p.m. the 136 year old bridge was burned. Keokuk County Sheriff Ron George said the fire was arson and that the fire started in the middle of the bridge.


Lost Covered Burr Arch Bridge over South Skunk River
Keokuk County, Iowa
Destroyed by arson in 2003
Built 1867; Rebuilt 1982, Destroyed by arson in 2003
- James Harlan
- Joseph Merrifield of Brown, Ohio (Designer)
Burr Arch
Total length: 80.0 ft.
Deck width: 12.0 ft.
Also called
Kissing Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+41.29895, -92.32305   (decimal degrees)
41°17'56" N, 92°19'23" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/556674/4572165 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Inventory numbers
NRHP 74000795 (National Register of Historic Places reference number)
WGCB 15-54-01x (World Guide to Covered Bridges number)
BH 49356 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • January 21, 2013: Photo imported by Luke Harden
  • January 4, 2013: Updated by Luke Harden: Added more recent photograph
  • January 2, 2013: New photos from Luke Harden
  • August 15, 2012: Photo imported by Luke Harden
  • May 3, 2012: Updated by Luke Harden: Added info
  • August 15, 2011: Added by Luke Harden


  • Luke


Delta Covered Bridge
Posted April 24, 2015, by Luke

The queenpost pony had been removed long before the fire:

Delta Bridge
Posted January 4, 2013, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Exactly - but if the Queenpost did not have a shed over top, it might not have been seen as historic by some folks.

Robert has nothing against covered bridges, he just wishes that metal truss bridges (especially the pre-1900 variety would receive a similar interest).

Delta Bridge
Posted January 4, 2013, by Matt Lohry

It could have been if Robert were there to cover it with his tool shed...

Delta Bridge
Posted January 3, 2013, by Nathan Holth

Surely the beautiful metal queenpost truss span COULD have been salvaged after the fire?