The location of the lost bridge
Photo taken by J.R. Manning in July 2007
BH Photo #109887
In 1912 Carl G. Fisher, founder of the Prest-O-Lite headlight company, began boosting what he called the Coast-to-Coast Rock Highway, a continuous line that extended from New York to San Francisco. The road was soon renamed the Lincoln Highway, and in July 1913 the Lincoln Highway Association was formed to promote it. Although not the first to propose such a venture, Fisher had timed his promotion well. Some 2.5 million miles of roadway had been laid in the country, but less than 7% of these had been improved by grading or graveling. Only a few hundred miles had been paved with brick; concrete was as yet untried in rural areas. Moreover, since roads were by and large a county-level function, the roads that did exist lacked any coordination, resulting in an uneven patchwork of dissimilar routes, making travel difficult for all but a few areas and virtually impossible on a country-wide basis. "The highways of America, " Fisher stated, "are built chiefly of politics, whereas the proper material is crushed rock or concrete." With the numbers of automobiles growing geometrically and their drivers becoming increasingly more adventurous, the transcontinental route was an idea whose time had come. In its formative years, the Lincoln Highway was more imaginary than real. Using existing section-line roads and county-built river crossings, it zigzagged across central Iowa on its way between Clinton on the Mississippi River, and Council Bluffs on the Missouri. In Tama County the highway was routed through Toledo, the county seat. At the west edge of town, the route crossed Deer Creek on a truss built for the county by the Clinton Bridge and Iron Works in 1912. Comprised of a single rigid-connected Pratt truss, supported by a timber substructure, the Toledo Bridge carried mainline traffic for decades before it was bypassed in a highway re-alignment. It now carries local traffic, in unaltered condition.
The Toledo Bridge is historically significant for its integral role as a locally prominent part of the Lincoln Highway, Iowa's most important early highway. It is technologically significant as a well-preserved, early example of a mainstay structural type in Iowa: the rigid-connected Pratt through truss. The Clinton Bridge and Iron Works first introduced the riveted Pratts to the state around 1910; in 1913 the state codified bridge design, effectively eliminating independent design by the bridge companies. Only a handful of riveted Pratts remain from this three-year transitional period--all attributable to Clinton B&I--of which the Toledo Bridge is a noteworthy, well-preserved representative [adapted from Fraser 1990].
- Lost through truss bridge over Deer Creek on Ross Street in Toledo
- Tama County, Iowa
- Replaced by a new bridge
- Built 1912; Replaced 2006
- - Clinton Bridge & Iron Works of Clinton, Iowa
- Through truss
Length of largest span: 120.1 ft.
Total length: 124.0 ft.
Deck width: 15.4 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 17.0 ft.
Eligible for the National Register of Historic Places
- Approximate latitude, longitude
- +41.99276, -92.59206 (decimal degrees)
41°59'34" N, 92°35'31" W (degrees°minutes'seconds")
- Approximate UTM coordinates
- 15/533788/4649052 (zone/easting/northing)
- Quadrangle map:
- Land survey
- T. 83 N., R. 15 W., Sec. 21
- Inventory numbers
- IA 11320 (Iowa bridge number)
BH 14462 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
- February 16, 2014: New photo from Luke Harden
- July 26, 2011: Updated by Luke Harden: Added description
- September 1, 2010: Updated by J.R. Manning: Updated date of replacement
- January 26, 2008: New photos from J.R. Manning