8 votes

RI - Lick Creek Bridge (Kilbourn)


Abandoned Railroad Bridge

Photo taken by Chris Gonnerman in May 2012

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


BH Photo #232960



This lattice truss stands as one of the few remnants of the Rock Island Railroad's K&D line, which ran from Keokuk to Des Moines. The line started out as the Des Moines Valley Railroad before becoming the Keokuk and Des Moines Railway. The Rock Island began leasing the K&D in 1878, only formally purchasing the line in 1924. The line was operated as two subdivisions; one from Eldon north to Des Moines, and the other from Eldon south to Keokuk, hence Eldon became known as KD Center. Traffic on the line was never very heavy, and the K&D line was always considered a branch line.

In its final years, the K&D line fell into sorry shape as the Rock Island began losing money in the late 1960s and track maintenance was deferred. In the late 1970s, the extreme south end of the KD line was put out of service due to a track washout or bridge failure. The section from Pella south to Keokuk was abandoned in 1980, concurrent with the Rock Island's final collapse and liquidation. Shortly thereafter the rails were pulled up and many of the steel bridges and a handful of the timber trestles were removed.

Although every other steel truss was demolished, this bridge and several TPG & DPG bridges were left in place, along with the vast majority of the timber trestles on the south end of the line. Photographic evidence proves that demolition operations were started on this bridge, but for some unknown reason they were not carried out to completion. It is a mystery why some of the steel bridges were spared demolition while others were removed. This bridge now stands as one of the Rock Island's few remaining lattice truss bridges in the state, and the only one left along the former K&D line.


Abandoned quadrangular lattice through truss bridge over Lick Creek on former Rock Island Railroad
Van Buren County, Iowa
Abandoned 1980, rails removed and partially salvaged early 1980s
- Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad (CRIP (1866-1920); RI (1920-1975) ROCK (1975-1980))
- Keokuk & Des Moines Railway (K&DM)
1 Sp. 115' Quadrangular lattice through truss
Span length: 115.0 ft.
Total length: 115.0 ft.
Deck width: 12.0 ft.
Also called
RI Bridge #477
RI - Kilbourn Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+40.80159, -91.96711   (decimal degrees)
40°48'06" N, 91°58'02" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
15/587128/4517245 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Mount Zion
Land survey
T. 69 N., R. 10 W., Sec. 2
Inventory number
BH 52616 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • May 12, 2014: New photos from Dylan VanAntwerp
  • December 10, 2013: Updated by Dylan VanAntwerp: Added/Corrected info
  • February 19, 2013: Updated by Luke Harden: Added category "Keokuk & Des Moines Railway"
  • January 28, 2013: Updated by Luke Harden: Corrected Stream Name
  • January 28, 2013: Updated by Dylan VanAntwerp: Added category "Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad"
  • June 3, 2012: Added by Chris Gonnerman


  • Chris Gonnerman
  • Dylan VanAntwerp - dylan_vanantwerp [at] live [dot] com
  • Luke