This edition of Pic of the Week is the first of a two-pack series that takes us back to 2013 and the Historic Bridge Weekend, which was held in Iowa. There will be more pics from the series in the near future, but I decided to show you a couple examples for now.
Our first one takes us to Marion County in Iowa and specifically, the Red Rock Lake area. You will find this bridge on the northern part of Red Rock Lake at a park near the junction of Iowa Highway 14 and County Highway G 28. The Brush Creek Bridge is a single span concrete beam bridge that used to carry the highway until the creation of Red Rock Lake. According to information from bridgehunter.com, the bridge was built in 1940 and was one of three bridges that carried the original highway, crossing this stream, plus Teter Creek on the southern end. The main crossing was a four-span, polygonal Warren through truss bridge that used to span the Des Moines River and had existed two decades earlier. Due to years of flooding in the Des Moines River valley between Des Moines and Ottumwa resulting in the loss of housing and lives, the US Corp. of Engineers unveiled a plan for flood control, where a dam would be built and a reservoir would be built. Major flooding occurred in 1851, 1859, 1903, 1944, 1947, and 1954.
The Red Rock Dam was constructed from 1960 until 1969 at the cost of $88 million. At the same time, to make way for the reservoir to be built, residents in villages and farmers in the low-lying areas were forced to relocate on higher ground. Bridges in the area were removed, among them the Highway 14 Des Moines River Truss Bridges. The spans at Teter and Brush Creeks, along with the highway itself were eventually inundated. The creation of the dam came in the nick of time in 1969, for flooding from upstream during the spring thaw resulted in the reservoir being filled up within three days. The Corps of Engineer had expected the reservoir to be filled within five years. The dam held up and passed its first stress test in real time!
Since its opening in 1969, Red Rock Lake has become a tourist attraction. The reservoir extends for 41 miles from a village near Swan (SE of Des Moines) all the way to the dam next to Horn’s Ferry Bridge, five miles south of Pella. The area provides multiple opportunities for camping, fishing and boating. Even at the Brush Creek Crossing one can fish from the bridge, as the span, plus the approach is now a pier.
And in the picture taken in 2013, even though the bridge is technically abandoned, it is still a tourist magnet for fishermen and swimmers alike. It’s one of those attractions which is not mentioned in any broschure but should be considered if you want to have an experience that is for free, out of the way of other pubic attractions and sometimes a quiet spot. For photographers like myself, it’s a jewel that can be photographed from all angles. A tip for those who visit Iowa and in particular, the Red Rock Lake region.
More photos and other info on this bridge can be found here. Bridgehunter.com also has some information on other bridges in Marion County and the Red Rock Lake area which you can click on and read about. BHC also has a lot of Red Rock Bridges in its Mystery Bridge section. Click here and check out the first ten entries.