Location & Environment

Location and Environment Publications

Cultural Resources

Historic Publications


Bowstring Arch Bridges of Iowa

Bowstring Arch Bridges of Iowa

The graceful form of the bowstring arch bridge is a reminder of the economy and elegance of the bridge technology in the 1870s and '80s. The bowstring arch was popular for a short time and ushered the way to newer, sturdier truss bridge types. Today there are only 20 bowstrings surviving in Iowa. You can find photos and maps to their locations.

Bungalows and Foursquares (2014)

Bowstring Arch Bridges of Iowa

This booklet tells the unique and shared histories of two historic homes along U.S. 63 in Waterloo. By placing these homes into their historical context and researching national building trends this booklet helps tell the story of the growth of Waterloo. Further, through additional investigation, the author has brought forth a wealth of information about architects Howard Bowman Burr and Mortimer Burnham Cleveland. Bungalows and Foursquares sheds light on these important aspects of Waterloo history, and serves to inform the public of these significant facets of Iowa history.


Clinton, Iowa: Railroad Town (2003)

Clinton, Iowa: Railroad Town

Clinton, Iowa, one of the first railroad crossings over the Mississippi River, has been a major gateway to the Great Plains and beyond since 1859. For more than 100 years, the railroads employed thousands and supported a good quality of life in Clinton. Railroad activities peaked both nationally and in Clinton during and after World War II. By the 1990s, the Union Pacific was redeveloping their railroad facilities adjacent to Camanche Avenue and U.S. Highway 30. The legacy of the railroad in Clinton has been preserved in this study.


Eureka Bridge: Below Danger Hill on the Lincoln Highway (2014)

Eureka Bridge

The Eureka Bridge, located 2.8 miles west of the City of Jefferson in Greene County, spans a difficult river crossing. Situated in a valley at the foot of a steep western slope, a tightly curved roadway, and over a river prone to flooding, a series of bridges have met these challenges—to greater or lesser degrees—for almost 150 years. This report demonstrates how 20th century engineering created a bridge of utilitarian function and aesthetic appeal, and how one hundred years later the citizens of Greene County with the aid of 21st century engineering preserved its historical significance for future generations to admire and enjoy.


Hibernia: An Irish Immigrant Neighborhood in Burlington, Iowa (2000)

Hibernia: An Irish Immigrant Neighborhood

Hibernia is mostly a memory today as is so many immigrant neighborhoods. However, there are several guideposts to the past that still witness to the history of years gone by, such as St. Patrick's Church, a beacon reflecting the Irish Catholic heritage. Murray Iron Works and the Embalming Burial Case Company and the worker's homes on the surrounding streets witness to the industrial/employee relationship of the past.


Indian Creek Channel (2010)

Indian Creek Channel Booklet

Council Bluffs, Iowa, 1936. Plagued for nearly a century by perennial flooding of Indian Creek, the City begins construction on a massive channelization project designed to confine the creek to its banks. Funded largely through a grant from the recently established Public Works Administration (PWA), the Indian Creek Channel, upon its completion two years later, would become the largest PWA undertaking in the State of Iowa. The construction of the Indian Creek Channel reduced both the number and severity of the city's subsequent floods, and profoundly impacted city's sanitary conditions, and both the residential and commercial development in Council Bluffs. The effects of the Indian Creek channelization, both practical and historical, are still realized today.

Iowa's Historic Automobile Roads (2009)

Indian Creek Channel Booklet

This thematic study encompasses the components of historic roads related to technology and engineering, materials, construction, identification, and evaluation for Section 106 review purposes.  The overlapping themes outline specific historical, technological, and political periods, trend, and eras relating to highway context evaluation.  The study presents information on how to identify, survey, and document historic roads in Iowa, and evaluate their significance under the criteria of the National Register of Historic Places. 


Land use within the Loess Hills (2008)

Memorandum Agreement - Loess Hills

WHEREAS, The Loess Hills of western Iowa represent a resource of significance to the citizens of Iowa and are a recognized land feature of national importance.

WHEREAS, The Loess Hills warrant the highest level of protection and stewardship by state agencies in carrying out their respective legislative mandates.

Leading Double Lives: The History of the Double House in Des Moines (2004)

Leading Double Lives

How people choose to live depends on a variety of social and economic circumstances. The double house balances the convenience of an apartment with the psychological comforts of a home. At the turn of the century, double houses were very popular in many cities including Des Moines. This booklet tells the story of such homes in Des Moines.

Leaner Pork for a Healthier America (2000)

Leaner Pork for a Healthier America

Since 1880, the State of Iowa has been the nation's largest pork producer; however, the popularity of pork throughout the United States has changed over time. The decline of pork among Americans during the 1960s, largely due to changing ideas about diet and the nutritional value of pork, initiated improved breeding practices to produce leaner hogs. By the 1980s, massive marketing efforts promoted pork as a healthy addition to the American dinner table. This booklet tells how the Northeast Iowa Swine Testing Station at New Hampton, Iowa, contributed to this recent chapter in the history of animal husbandry.

The Lincoln Highway Association's "Object Lessons:" (2004)
The Seedling Mile in Linn County, Iowa

The Lincoln Highway Association

As early as 1913, the Lincoln Highway Association (LHA) proposed a paved roadway from ocean to ocean. There were over a million motor vehicles while the road systems were unreliable, depending upon the weather. Because roadway improvements were initiated at the local level, the LHA encouraged "Seedling Miles" by obtaining corporate sponsors to donate cement to the locals that would pave a one mile segment. This would demonstrate the benefits of hard surface roadways. In 1917, Linn County was assured delivery of 3,000 barrels of concrete for their seedling mile.

Little Dairy on the Prairie (2005)

Little Dairy on the Prairie

Iowa's dairy industry today looks very different from its heritage. Around the turn-of-the-20th century, dairy production moved from homemade cheese and butter production to the industrialization of the dairy farm and opening of cheese factories and butter creameries. The Oneida Cheese Factory in Jones County was archaeologically excavated in 2001. The dairy trends witnessed in Jones County are a microcosm of the larger premier dairy–producing region of northeast Iowa.


Making a Modern Highway (2014)

Making of a Modern Highway Cover

The booklet tells the history of the construction of the Iowa Highway 376 Bridge within the context of significant modernization and expansion of the highway system in Iowa in the 1950s. Curvy, narrow highways were widened and straightened and narrow iron truss bridges were replaced with more modern concrete and steel structures, changing the landscape of rural Iowa. Bridge engineer Herbert A Arthur, who designed the Iowa Highway 376 Bridge, was a prolific bridge engineer in the 1950s. This booklet serves to inform the public of this significant aspect of Iowa transportation history.

Marsh Rainbow Arch Bridges in Iowa (1997)

Marsh Rainbow Arch Bridges in Iowa

The Marsh Rainbow Arch Bridge is a patented bridge design by James Barney Marsh, a graduate of Iowa State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts (now Iowa State University). Around the turn of the 20 th Century, reinforced concrete was introduced in Iowa as an important new bridge construction material. Marsh used the new technology to encased steel truss arches in concrete to produce a sturdy yet esthetic arch bridge. This booklet touches on the important aspects of Marsh's life, business and industrial contributions.


Nishnabotna River Bridge: A Historic Resource Study

Nishnabotna River Bridge Cover

This study highlights the character, location and history of the Nishnabotna River Bridge which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1998 for its engineering significance. Constructed with beams from the Inland Steel Company of Chicago and erected as one of the few Warren trusses in the state, the Nishnabotna River Bridge holds and important place in the transportation history of the state.


Places of Repose (2013)

Places of Repose

The creation of this booklet has given those who are interested in the history of travel and the interstate highway system an opportunity to learn more about something most of us take for granted. Traveling the state of Iowa to see each rest area may not seem like a destination vacation (and it never was intended to be), but taking a moment to appreciate your surroundings can make an otherwise standard trip from point A to point B across the state much more interesting and relaxing. The long and rich history of Iowa’s Rest Area Program has not been forgotten. Today, just as when the program began, each new rest area is constructed with the needs of modern travelers in mind.


Sioux City Grand Avenue Viaduct (2010)

Sioux city Grand Avenue Viaduct

Although nearly 75 years old, the Grand Avenue Viaduct remains an engineering achievement that solved one of Sioux City's worst traffic problems. In the 1930s, Sioux City's new viaduct offered a nearly mile-long colonnade that lifted motorists 28 feet above congested city streets and carried them from one end of the Floyd River industrial valley to the other in a matter of minutes. At a time when urban highways and elevated motorways captivated city planners and the public alike, the Grand Avenue Viaduct brought Sioux City fully into modern automobile age.


Traveling Through the Ages: Preserving Iowa's Historic Railroad Architecture

Traveling through the ages booklet

This booklet celebrates the historic preservation efforts of the project sponsors in collaboration with the Iowa Department of Transportation (Iowa DOT) and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). It serves as an example of how rehabilitation, restoration, and reuse of these historic structures can bring them a second life.


The Wever Bypass Excavations - Highway Archaeology Along the Great River Road in Southeast Iowa (2012)

Wever Bypass

This is a story about a highway project near the small town of Wever, Iowa, and an American Indian village that existed at the location prior to the Europeans' arrival.  The culture that lived in this village existed in a 10 state region of the Upper Midwest and may have been the ancestors of tribes living in the Midwest when European explorers entered the region. 

An archaeological recovery of information from the site was undertaken by the Iowa Department of Transportation because four-lane construction of U.S. 61 could not be accomplished without destroying most of the site. This site proved to be one of the richest archaeological finds in the State of Iowa.

NEPA Agreements and Reports

Project Planning and Location Design


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