3 votes

Quarry Bridge


The west face

Photo taken by J.R. Manning in July 2007

BH Photo #109764


The bridge over the Iowa River near the town of Quarry in Le Grand Township was one of Marshall County's oldest spans when it collapsed during late spring flooding in 1885. In June the board of supervisors hired the Wright Brothers, local contractors, to pull the wrecked structure from the river, and subsequently solicited competitive proposals from bridge companies for a replacement span. On July 1st the board awarded a construction contract to low-bidder King and Twiss of Des Moines for a 150-foot Whipple truss identical to the Stanley Mill Bridge, built by the county the year before. Using a superstructure fabricated by the King Iron Bridge Company of Cleveland, Ohio, the builders completed the bridge by September at a total cost of $3,295. The Quarry Bridge has carried traffic since, with the reconstruction of its north abutment with concrete the only major alteration of note. As Marshall County's oldest originally placed wagon bridge, the Quarry Bridge is historically significant as an early wagon crossing. The structure is further distinguished as a well-preserved example of the Whipple through truss. Basically a Pratt with diagonals that extend over two panels, the Whipple truss was seldom employed for wagon trusses in the state. Few were ever erected and fewer yet remain today. For its exceedingly rare use of wrought and cast iron components, its rare truss configuration, and its long-standing role in regional transportation, the Quarry Bridge is a significant early transportation-related resource [adapted from Fraser 1989].


Through truss bridge over Iowa River on 3 Bridges Road
Marshall County, Iowa
Closed to all traffic
Built 1885
- King & Twiss of Des Moines, Iowa
- King Bridge Co. of Cleveland, Ohio
- Lackawanna Steel Co. of Lackawanna, New York (Iron/Steel Manufacturer)
Wrought iron, pin-connected Whipple through truss
Length of largest span: 148.0 ft.
Total length: 149.9 ft.
Deck width: 16.1 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 14.2 ft.
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on May 15, 1998
Also called
Iowa River Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+42.02618, -92.80806   (decimal degrees)
42°01'34" N, 92°48'29" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/515889/4652700 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Le Grand
Land survey
T. 83 N., R. 17 W., Sec. 03
Average daily traffic (as of 2013)
Inventory numbers
IA 242320 (Iowa bridge number)
NRHP 98000498 (National Register of Historic Places reference number)
BH 14018 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of November 2016)
Sufficiency rating: 18.9 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • September 4, 2012: Photo imported by Luke Harden
  • September 3, 2012: Updated by Fmiser: Added wrought iron to description and categories
  • August 15, 2011: Updated by Luke Harden: corrected builder and added description
  • September 2, 2010: Updated by Anthony Dillon: Added builder
  • September 1, 2010: Updated by J.R. Manning: Updated NRHP Listing
  • February 20, 2010: Updated by J.R. Manning: Updated bridge data
  • January 26, 2008: New photos from J.R. Manning



Quarry Bridge
Posted August 29, 2012, by Julie Bowers (jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Then I learned something too. Thanks Nathan. We were all correct.

Quarry Bridge
Posted August 29, 2012, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

Fishbelly is a term used interchangeably for the triangular floorbeams on some bridges as well as deck truss bridges with a polygonal bottom chord, with a truss deeper in the center. Example: http://www.historicbridges.org/truss/millcr/

Quarry Bridge
Posted August 29, 2012, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Yes, I have always understood the term "fishbelly" to refer to the type of floor beams used in this, and other bridges from the time period.

I am unfamiliar with the type of fishbelly to which Fmiser is referring. Might be something to check on before we add a category for this.

Quarry Bridge
Posted August 29, 2012, by Julie Bowers (jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

In my world thay are the floor beams with the triangle shape.

Quarry Bridge
Posted August 28, 2012, by Fmiser (fmiser [at] gmail [dot] com)

I'm confused. I thought the term "fishbelly" (as it applied to bridges) referred to polygonal or curverd lower chords, usually on a deck truss. But I don't see any curved lower chords in any of these photos. Do I have the definition wrong, or am I missing something in the photos?

Quarry Bridge
Posted August 28, 2012, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Fishbellies do indeed rock Jules!

Quarry Bridge
Posted August 28, 2012, by Julie Bowers (jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

I finally visited this bridge today....another King and a Whipple. I love the fishbellies. Saw an eagle and a blue heron.