Mystery Bridge Nr. 74: The Golf Course Road Bridge in Rock Rapids, Iowa

Golf Course Road BridgeThis (and the next) Mystery Bridge takes us back to Lyon County, Iowa and a couple pictures I came across of this bridge, whose information is missing. Here’s the story behind the Golf Course Road Bridge (also known as Two Mile Bridge), located north of Rock Rapids:

During the Winter Break of 1998, I took my camera and did some bridgehunting along the Rock and Big Sioux Rivers, looking for the location of this bridge. As seen in the map below, the bridge used to span the Rock River north of the site of its replacement and the golf course. It was a seven-panel Pratt through truss bridge with riveted connections. The portal bracings are Lattice-style, consisting of two-storied rows of three rhombus Howes. 45° heel bracings are found at the bottom of the portals as well as at the overhead struts, which are V-laced. According to records from the Lyon County Highway Department, the date of construction is 1900, although given its age, it could be that it was constructed much earlier in the early 1890s, for at the turn of the century, most through truss bridges used one-row Howe Lattice portals, as well as portals with lettering, such as A, W or even M-frames. The total length of the bridge was 244 feet, 130 feet belonged to the main span.

Sadly, the bridge was replaced by its current structure, a three-span concrete girder bridge with a curved roadway, in 1980. Its total length was 300 feet and still today, serves county highway A 16, the main access to Rock Rapids and the golf course to the east of the Rock Rapids. The bridge was built on a new alignment and the old structure was removed once it was opened to traffic. The steel cylindrical piers can still be seen today as the area is now privately owned but controlled by wild overgrowth.

We still don’t know when exactly it was built or whether there was a previous structure in its place. The builder’s name was not mentioned in any of the county records, however newspapers and oral history can help solve this mystery. Can you help?  Leave your comments here or contact Jason Smith at the Chronicles.  The pic can be seen at the Historical Society as they too are looking for some information on the bridges in and around Rock Rapids. This includes the crossings to the south of town and between Rock Rapids and Doon. If you know of any bridges in that area as well as photos, you can contact the Chronicles as well and they will be added to this page, as well as forwarded to the museum.

In the meantime, if you want to visit what’s left of Two Mile Bridge, a map with some pics taken by the author are below:


The current structure south of the bridge.


bhc jacob