CGW Deer Creek Bridge

Steel Stringer Bridge over Deer Creek
West of Carpenter, Worth County, Iowa

Click the Photo Above to See All Photos of This Bridge!
Name CGW Deer Creek Bridge
Built By Chicago Great Western Railway
Contractor Unknown
Currently Owned By State of Iowa
Length 97 Feet Total, 25 Foot Largest Spans
Width 1 Track
Height Above Ground 15 Feet (Estimated)
Superstructure Type Steel Stringer
Substructure Type Stone Masonry and Concrete
Date Built Ca. 1910
Traffic Count 0 Trains/Day (Bridge is Abandoned)
Current Status Abandoned and Failing
Significance Local Significance
Documentation Date April 2021
In 1885, the Minnesota and Northwestern Railroad began construction on 129 miles of railroad between St. Paul, Minnesota and Manly, Iowa.
In 1887, this line became a part of the Chicago, St. Paul and Kansas City Railway. By 1893, the CStP&KC was merged into the Chicago Great Western Railway.
CGW had a moderate amount of trackage throughout Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri and Illinois. The CGW linked Kansas City, Des Moines, Chicago and St. Paul at the time of creation.
In 1901, the Mason City & Fort Dodge Railway continued construction on the route with a 10 mile line into Mason City, which the Rock Island would later use as well.
In 1902, 47 miles of railroad between Manly and Hayfield, Minnesota were sold back to the Mason City & Fort Dodge.
While the CGW and MC&FD remained separate on paper, the two were closely tied. By 1940, the CGW took full ownership of the MC&FD.

The CGW was never a strong railroad. As a result, it was purchased by the Chicago & North Western Railway in 1968. This segment of line remained somewhat important for the C&NW, particularly north of Hayfield.
The first abandonment consisted of a short segment of line between Waltham and Austin, Minnesota in 1977.
However, the parallel Rock Island route was a straighter and all around better route. When the Rock Island fell bankrupt, the C&NW purchased the Saint Paul-Kansas City line, rendering this route,as well as the parallel Minneapolis & St. Louis route, useless.
By 1981, the route between Manly and Austin would be abandoned. In 1982, the route between Randolph and Waltham would follow.
The final abandonment came in 1984, and included a section between Roseport and Randolph.
Currently, the Manly-Mason City and St. Paul-Roseport sections are operated as the Union Pacific Albert Lea Subdivision.

Located west of Carpenter, this steel stringer bridge is located in the Deer Creek Wildlife Management Area and once carried the Chicago Great Western over Deer Creek.
Little is known about the history of this bridge. It appears that it replaced an older steel or wooden truss bridge, which sat on stone abutments. Probably built around 1910, the current bridge is a four span steel stringer bridge, set onto concrete and stone substructures. The three southern spans are built of six beams, arranged in two rows of three. The northern span is built of four beams, arranged in two rows of two.
Unfortunately, no plaques or dates could be found on this bridge. Like many CGW bridges, the records may exist, but will be difficult to find. The author hopes to do more research on it soon.
Worse yet, the bridge is in critical condition, and appears to be in danger of imminent failure. The center pier is heavily leaning, and the south abutment is very scoured. This has pushed the bridge severely out of alignment, and is a major cause for concern.
While the author advocates for preservation wherever possible, this bridge is too far gone to save. As a result, the author recommends that this bridge be taken down as soon as possible, as it is a hazard.
Overall, the bridge is in extremely poor condition, and immediate danger of complete failure.

The author has ranked this bridge as being locally significant, due to the common design.
The photo above is an overview. Despite being listed in Carpenter, this bridge is actually in Worth County.


Source Type


Build Date Estimated
Railroad Line History Source ICC Valuation Information, Compiled by Richard S. Steele

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