BHC Pic of the Week Nr. 104



This week’s Pic of the week takes us to Anamosa, Iowa and to one of the oldest bridges left in the state. The Anamosa Bridge was built in 1878 by the Milwaukee Bridge and Iron Works Company . It was replaced on a new alignment in 1929 but remained open to traffic until 1955. It would be one of the first historic bridges in the state to be converted into a pedestrian crossing, the project was finished in 1975. It was rehabbed once more in 2012 with new decking, replacing the ones damaged by flooding in 2008. The bridge can be seen from the Elm Street crossing as both span the Wapsipinicon River entering the the historic community of 5500 inhabitants, which has a historic state penitentiary on one end, a historic business district on another end and Wapsipinicon State Park on the opposite end of the two.

The bridge has a lot of angles where a person can take a lot of shots, whether it is at sundown, on a foggy night when the amber-blazing lights turn the city into a gold color, or this one, where a group of people were camping. This was taken in August 2011 during the time a full moon was coming out. It was a crystal clear night and a group decided to have a campfire next to the bridge. None of them minded as I was taking some shots with the Pentax. However, I did mind when the prints turned out darker than expected. Hence a photoshop program to lighten it up. Here’s your result.

Have you ever tried camping and/or fishing next to the bridge? If not, it’s one to mark on your bucket list, both as the camper/fisher, as well as the photographer. A good way to enjoy the summer, especially in these times.

For more on the Anamosa Bridge, click here.


bhc george floyd

Flooding update: Eastern Iowa

High water at Anamosa Bridge with broken branch stuck at the railings. Following photos courtesy of Quinn Phelan

River crest much lower than expected; Stone City and Anamosa spared damage, among many river towns; Historic Bridge Weekend on as scheduled

Residents in eastern Iowa are breathing a huge sigh of relief as many communities along major rivers avoided the worst- record flooding. The hardest hit area was along the Wapsipinicon River, where many residents in communities like Independence, Anamosa and others were sandbagging and constructing dikes feverishly to protect their houses and businesses and bracing for the river that was expected to crest at record highs last seen in the Great Flood of five years ago. Yet it never happened. While the river crested in Independence, it caused little to no damage to the community. While the river was expected to set records in Anamosa (which would have been up to a foot higher than the record of 26 feet set in 2008), it only reached 21 feet on Friday. While many roads were closed to traffic and some bridges over small creeks washed out, the region survived what would have been flooding of biblical proportions had the predictions of 27 foot crests come true.

For Anamosa and Stonc City, with its half a dozen historic bridges located within a five mile radius of each other, according to recent reports, they were spared the flooding as they only received minimal damage and will most likely be repaired and reopened very soon. This will be a blessing for many bridge enthusiasts who will be passing through Anamosa for the Historic Bridge Weekend on August 9th and 10th, visiting and photographing the structures along the way.  Because the flood waters did not reach the building, the Stone City General Store and Restaurant was also spared flood damage and is open to the public. The Friday night portion of the Historic Bridge Weekend is on as scheduled. The dedication dinner honoring James Hippen will take place August 9th beginning at 6:30 at the restaurant. Everything else for the 4-day long event August 9-12, 2013 is on as scheduled.

Note: Don’t forget that registration for the 4-day event is due July 15th. Please contact Jason D. Smith at the Chronicles at: to obtain a registration form to fill out and return. You can also register through the Chronicles’ facebook page.

Here are some photos of the flooding taken by Quinn Phelan taken as the Wapsipinicon River was dropping at an enormous rate in Anamosa. A couple videos will be posted very soon on the facebook page of the Chronicles:


Flood waters cover the entrance of Wapsipinicon State Park at Anamosa
The Wapsipinicon River at Shaw Road Bridge


Information on the flooding can be found here as well.  Ironically, one of the bridges affected by the flooding, the Hale Bowstring Arch Bridge, was the site of an evening dinner that took place prior to the flooding. More information is found here.

This is the first of three in the series on the flooding situation in the US, Canada and Europe, which has been the central theme this past month. The next installment will focus on the flooding in Germany and parts of Europe and the impact it had on the livelihood of people affected and the bridges involved.

Flooding threatens Historic Bridge Weekend

Hale Bridge near Anamosa in Jones County. Photo taken in 2010

Record Flooding Expected in Jones, Delaware and Linn Counties. Anamosa already flooded. County Fairs already cancelled.

Of all the weather-related abnormalities that we have been facing this year- late spring, drought, and unusually high number of tornadoes, the abnormality we’ve been facing the most this year has been flooding. And the one area that definitely does not need any more water now is the northern half of the United States.

This includes the State of Iowa, which is bracing itself for another record flood.

Heavy rains have caused some flooding in many parts of the state so far this summer, but the primary concern at the moment is the eastern portion of the state. There, the counties of Jones, Linn, Delaware, Allamakee, and Buchanan are bracing themselves for record floods, a first in five years in many areas.  Especially hardest hit will be the areas along the Wapsipinicon River, in places like Anamosa, Central City, Paris, Independence and Manchester, where the river has already flown over its banks and the levels are rising faster than the city can keep up with the sandbagging efforts. Already, parts of Central City and Anamosa are under water and with record crests expected, people are trying to minimize the damage as much as they can, including the ones in the vicinity of Anamosa, who had previously experienced record flooding in 2008. Already these counties have cancelled their annual fair and livestock exhibits but the cancellation of more events appear more likely as the river rises.

Historic Bridge Weekend to be relocated:

The unfortunate part about the flooding along the Wapsipinicon River and some other areas in the east central part of Iowa is that these areas are highly populated with historic bridges, including the ones in Jones County, where six bridges built in 1920 and earlier span the river. This includes the Hale, Anamosa City and Shaw Road Bridges located four miles from each other. Although these bridges are on the places to visit list for the Historic Bridge Weekend in August (even though that may change), the primary concern at the moment is the venue for Friday night. As mentioned in the announcement, the Dedication Dinner honoring James Hippen for his work on historic bridges was scheduled to take place at the Stone City General Store and Restaurant west of Anamosa on Friday night, August 9th beginning at 6:30pm.  The event is on as scheduled, but a new venue is most likely needed for according to reports, the General Store, located right next to the river, is expected to be flooded. A back-up plan is in the works and an update will be provided as soon as a venue is found. Please note that the time may change with the venue, so please plan accordingly when coming to the Friday night event.  Other changes in the schedule are expected, especially when reports come in on the damages from the flooding to not only the Anamosa area and those along the Wapsipinicon River, but also to the bridges affected by the floods.

If you have a venue that you think would be best suitable for the Friday night portion of the Historic Bridge Weekend, please contact Jason Smith at the Chronicles at  The venue of the event must be in the northeastern corner of the state in the vicinity of Dubuque, Delaware, Linn and Jones Counties, but NOT in the areas affected by the flooding.

Links to the flood update are found here:


Red Bridge in Jasper County in visier of the Historic Bridge Weekend:

While out of tour range, a pair of Jasper County bridges are on the list of bridges to visit for this year’s Historic Bridge Weekend given their proximity to Marion County, the site of the Sunday matinee at Red Rock Visitor’s Center and evening dinner in Pella. The Red Bridge and the 126th Avenue Bridge are both located over the South Skunk River, approximately five river miles from each other. The former was built in 1892 by H.S. Efnor, a local contractor, and features a Warren through truss bridge similar to the Dietzenbach Bottom Bridge in Fayette County, but with a Pratt pony truss approach span. The latter was built by George E. King in 1899 and is a Pratt through truss bridge. Both bridges are closed to traffic and are scheduled to be demolished. However, a group is trying to save the Red Bridge from being scrapped. The bridge has been closed to traffic for over 10 years and part of the structure has collapsed because of flooding. The group, which you can view the page here, wants to save the bridge and reuse it for recreational purposes.