Historic Bridges

Fort Atkinson Bridge

Winneshiek County

Bridge information

Year constructed: 1892
Bridge type: Pin-Connected Pratt Through Truss
National Register of Historic Places status: Listed
Length: 183 feet
Width: 16 feet
Spans: 1
FHWA: 346320
Jurisdiction: Winneshiek County
Location: 150th Street over the Turkey River in Fort Atkinson, Section 8, T96N-R9W (Washington Township)


Located in the small town of Fort Atkinson in southwestern Winneshiek County, this medium-span truss carries a county road over an intermittent stream. The structure dates to 1892. That year the Winneshiek county Board of Supervisors let a series of private contracts for fabrication and erection of this 135-foot, pinned Pratt truss. As indicated by a plate on the bridge itself, it was built by D.H. Young of Manchester, Iowa. County records do not reveal the total cost of the bridge. Called the Fort Atkinson Bridge locally, this steel truss features a Pratt configuration and is supported by a timber and concrete substructure. This early Winneshiek County bridge continues to carry local traffic with partial substructural and approach span replacement as the only alterations of note.

From the early 1880s to the establishment of state bridge standards in 1913, the pin-connected Pratt through truss was virtually the exclusive structural type for medium-span roadway crossings in Iowa. Its standardized fabrication, economy of materials and ease of erection made it a mainstay among the various state and regional bridge companies. Thousands of such trusses were built throughout the state during this period, and numerous examples remain in place today. The Fort Atkinson Bridge is distinguished among these for its relatively early erection date, well-preserved condition and the decorative iron cresting on its portals adapted from [Crow-Dolby and Fraser 1992].


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