After providing the answers and some interesting facts about Iowa’s transportation heritage, part II features the answers to the questions dealing with the history of Iowa’s bridges, the state’s bridge builders and the engineers who left their mark in the state.Without commenting any further, here they are!
Which bridge is in the picture above?
Green Bridge in Waverly
Ft. Atkinson Bridge near Decorah
Red Bridge in Des Moines
Rusty Bridge near Spencer
The Kate Shelley Viaduct, located in Boone was named after a girl who was famous for this heroic deed?
She stopped a train from falling into a flooded creek
She rescued the brakeman and engineer from the train that had fallen into a flooded creek
Both a & b -> both deeds occurred on the same night in 1881. She later became station agent for the train station in Moingona, the site west of where Kate crawled across the Des Moines River bridge and where the bridge was washed away and the train fell into the creek.
She became president of the Chicago and Northwestern Railways.
Where was the first railroad bridge built over the Mississippi River located?
Quad Cities -> The wooden Howe through truss bridge was completed in 1856 and was located in Moline, at the site of the present-day Arsenal Bridge
Which of the following Iowa communities did NOT have a bridge building company
Okoboji -> Okoboji was a tourist community and never had a bridge builder
The Melan Arch Bridge, located in Rock Rapids, was the first of its kind to be built using reinforced steel rods. Its designer and inventor Josef Melan originated from which European country?
Austria -> Melan originated and spent his life in Vienna. His student, Frederik von Emperger, who built the bridge in 1894 originated from Bohemia.
Bohemia (now Czechia)
Prussia (now part of Germany)
Zenas King, who built many bridges in Iowa under the name King Bridge Company in the 1880s and 90s had a nephew (not son), George, who started his own bridge building business in which Iowa community?
Des Moines -> George E. King established this business in 1889 and ran it until ca. the 1930s
Note: Zenas King did have a son who took over his business after his death in 1892. James A. King was president of the company from 1894 until his death in 1922. The company ceased operations within a year after his death and with that a 50+ year family-owned business where many of Zenas’ children and extended family members were all part of the business. More information can be found here.
Which bridge type was not developed and experimented in Iowa?
Pratt truss -> First patented in 1844 two years before Iowa was established as a state.
Iowa was the first state in the country and the first in the world to invent and construct this bridge type?
Bowstring arch bridge made of steel
Steel girder bridge made of aluminum -> It was built in 1958 over I-35/80 at 86th Street in Urbandale. Served traffic until its replacement in 1994.
Parker truss bridge made of metal
Marsh arch bridge using recycled concrete
Edwin Thacher patented the first Thacher truss bridge, a bridge with an A-frame in the center panel, in 1884, and the first bridge of its kind was built where?
Independence -> Built in 1884 to serve rail traffic over the Wapsipinicon River.
Which Iowa river has the most number of steel railroad viaducts in the state
Big Sioux River
Little Sioux River
Des Moines River -> as many as 10 railroad viaducts still cross the river today, including the Kate Shelley, Ft. Dodge, Armstrong and Madrid Viaducts. The Kate Shelley and Ft. Dodge Viaducts are the longest and second longest along the river, respectively.
Which Iowa bridge builder later made a career as a school board president?
A.H. Austin -> He was active in the Webster City school council including his tenure as president.
George E. King
Author’s note: Another Iowa bridge quiz is in the making and will come soon. The state has the third highest number of (historic) bridges in the country. With that comes several categories one could write about. This is just an introduction.