Mystery Bridge Nr. 82: Abandoned Truss Bridge in Page County, Iowa

Our 81st mystery bridge takes us back to Iowa, but only barely, and a bridge that literally missed the record books. This bridge- or what’s left of it- spans the Nodaway River at 294th/295th Lane, a half mile east of US Hwy. 71 between Braddyville and Shambaugh, 2.5 miles north of the Missouri border. Only the easternmost span of a major structure remains and judging by its appearance, the through truss bridge built using a simple Pratt through truss design was part of a multiple-span through truss structure that had once existed. Looking more closely at the structure via Googlemap, the portal bracing appears to have a curved heal bracing with some ornamental features, thus putting the construction date back to pre-1885 for letter-framed common portal bracings started to make its way to the American landscapes, including its most popular A-frame portals. The bridge appears to have been abandoned for over a half decade  and up to now, has missed every possible bridge survey conducted by the state and other engineering groups. Even the late James Hippen could not get to the structure as the roads to the bridge have since been made inaccessible except by foot and most likely through a permit by the landowners on both sides of the river. The possibility of accessing the remains by boat are also limited because of the shallowness of the river and the vegetation that has overgrown on the bridge.

Judging by the observations, one can conclude that the bridge was built before 1885, was either destroyed by flooding or partially removed more than 50 years ago and has been abandoned ever since with just the skeletal remains that can be seen from the air. However, how can we round out the history of this structure which has long since had its place on the east bank of the Nodaway?

Check out the map, check out the bridge itself, and check out the museum and library, plsu other sources and check us out at the Chronicles with some facts that you have on this bridge.


Good luck! 🙂