A little context: historic bridges of Iowa and some Iowana photos too

Stone railroad bridge in NE Iowa – StockXchng/Kinsey

Sorry. No heroes in this post, just a little more historical context to round out the Kate Shelley story. And I found some of it right in my own hometown.

Historic Iowa bridges are a side interest related to my childhood memories of an old trestle and its use in my novel about an inventive teen battling an enemy and confronting a land conspiracy in a farm community much like my home town of West Point, Iowa. A photo of the trestle bridge of my childhood (the model for the one in my novel), and a number of other mid to late 19th century historic West Point structures can be found by visiting my Iowana page or directly through this link to Historic photos of West Point, Iowa.  The railroad depot, the trestle, and the train itself are from the era in which my last hero, Kate Shelley, lived.

As you may have noticed if you read my recent posts about Shelley, a young historical Iowa hero (Kate Shelley: train rescuer, and Kate Shelley: train rescuer Part II—and a railroad trestle in my past), bridges play a major part in her story. Kate’s heroic effort to save lives in a storm by crawling across a high wooden train trestle over a flooded river in the dark during a ferocious storm earned her the admiration of the entire country. When the railroad built a replacement steel bridge in 1900 (and more recently a new concrete bridge parallel to the steel bridge), it honored her by naming it the Kate Shelley Bridge.

To learn more about historic Iowa bridges, see:

1. Historical Overview of Iowa Bridges, Iowa Department of Transportation

An historical overview of bridges in Iowa prepared as part of Iowa Historic Bridges Recording Projects by the Historic American Engineering Record of the National Park Service. This comprehensive report cites many historic and modern sources.

2. Bridgehunter, a database of historic or notable bridges in the United States. See Iowa bridges map.

3. Thousands of photos of Iowa bridges in the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Online Collection

Of particular note:

The High Trestle Trail – a new biking and walking trail that crosses a 130′ tall, ½ mile long bridge over the Des Moines River Valley several miles from the Kate Shelley Bridge

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