10 votes

High Bridge


BH Photo #223252

Street View 


Demolition GIF

GIF image (1.8 MB)

Fair Use



The road deck was 18 feet wide with a 4 foot wide sidewalk on the downstream side. Was also a toll bridge. The bridge collapsed in 1899 during winter when a piece of ice slammed into the third steel cylindrical pier on the Illinois side, causing and approach span to fall. They replaced all cylindrical piers with masonry piers (made with stone from Cedar Valley, Iowa) and reset the bridge. The bridge collapsed again on June 1, 1956 when Duane Allen Chelf crashed his Ford convertible into a wooden railing and a girder whilst running from the police (he had been speeding without his lights on). The bridge was repaired and remained open until its replacement in the 1970s It was demolished in 1973 after the completion of the Norbert F. Becky Bridge.


Lost Cantilevered Pennsylvania through truss bridge over Mississippi River on Walnut Street
Muscatine, Muscatine County, Iowa, and Rock Island County, Illinois
Replaced by a new bridge upriver.
Future prospects
Single stone pier preserved
Built 1891; Collapsed in 1899; Collapsed in again in 1956; Demolished in 1973
- Cedar Valley Quarry of Cedar Valley, Iowa (Substructure Quarrier)
- Elmer J.C. Bealer of Cedar Valley, Iowa (Substructure Quarrier)
- James B. Locke of Binghampton, New York (Substructure Contractor)
- Milwaukee Bridge & Iron Works of Milwaukee, Wisconsin (Superstructure)
- Muscatine Bridge Co. of Muscatine, Iowa (Operator)
Cantilevered Pennsylvania through truss
Length of largest span: 442.0 ft.
Total length: 2,000.0 ft.
Deck width: 18.0 ft.
Also called
Muscatine Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+41.42161, -91.04104   (decimal degrees)
41°25'18" N, 91°02'28" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/663701/4587413 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Inventory number
BH 48881 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • December 6, 2021: New photo from Luke
  • May 7, 2020: New photo from Geoff Hubbs
  • July 2, 2019: New photo from Melissa Brand-Welch
  • July 2, 2019: Updated by Luke: Added substructure contractor from Newspapers.com article/obit
  • January 18, 2019: New photo from Melissa Brand-Welch
  • September 8, 2017: Document added by Luke
  • April 14, 2014: New photo from Luke Harden
  • October 18, 2013: New Street View added by Luke Harden
  • March 19, 2013: New photos from Luke Harden
  • March 19, 2013: Photo imported by Nathan Holth
  • September 23, 2012: New photos from Luke Harden
  • September 16, 2012: Updated by Luke Harden: Added another builder
  • September 12, 2012: Photo imported by Luke Harden
  • June 18, 2012: Updated by Luke Harden: Edited description
  • June 16, 2012: Updated by Luke Harden: Built by Milwaukee Bridge & Iron
  • March 23, 2012: Photo imported by Luke Harden
  • March 10, 2012: Updated by Owen McCormick: Fixed Status Typo. Added former road information (Route 92)
  • January 11, 2012: Photo imported by Luke Harden
  • June 8, 2011: Updated by Luke Harden: Updated info

Related Bridges 



Muscatine Iowa High Bridge
Posted May 9, 2020, by Mark Mitchell (mrmit [at] southslope [dot] net)

The old Muscatine high bridge did indeed retain it's wood decking for most of the length to the end. Many stories are told of walking across the bridge. Gaps in the boards let everyone know they were high above the river and it was an adrenaline rush when crossed. While driving across the river you could feel the base "give" a little. After the midsection of the bridge was blown up it dropped in the Mississippi channel and all river traffic was stopped until the pieces of the bridge could be removed by a crane and barge setup. It took longer than planned as the middle section was to be cut by the explosives into 5 or 6 sections by the explosives. Some of the metal was not cut and slowed down removal process. Word was the contractor noted after the job was done key points on the bridge were nothing but rust. Turns out rust takes more explosives to cut through the forms as it is spongy. Explosives were placed on each side of the beams and when detonated caused the steel to flow like a liquid away from the pressure of the blast "cutting" the steel.

High Bridge
Posted July 2, 2019, by Luke

Another article for Melissa to merge: https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/543659069/

An unfun historical note is that the contractor sued the Chicago Chronicle for libel after they posted an erroneous article in which Mr. Locke was accused of being a graverobber:


Muscatine High Bridge
Posted June 8, 2011, by Lyon Wonder (lyon_wonder [at] yahoo [dot] com)

This website has early 1970s pictures of the Muscatine waterfront that includes photos of the original high bridge that was demolished after the current Norbert F. Beckey Bridge was built.


The original old bridge looks like it retained it's original wood deck until the end.


It also has a 1973 photo with the old high bridge being imploded with the then new bridge in the background.


Muscatine High Bridge
Posted June 8, 2011, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

Even more information including span lengths and details of construction can be found here: http://books.google.com/books?id=3mDOAAAAMAAJ&dq=Muscatine%2...

Muscatine High Bridge
Posted June 8, 2011, by Nathan Holth

Information about this bridge can be found here: http://books.google.com/books?id=cHkUAAAAYAAJ&dq=Muscatine%2...