- 1871: 28 miles completed from Minneapolis to Merriam Junction, Minnesota by the Minneapolis & St. Louis Railway
- 1871: 65 miles completed from Northwood to Ackley, Iowa by the Central Railroad Company of Iowa
- 1878: 93 miles completed from Merriam Junction to the Iowa/Minnesota border by the Minneapolis & St. Louis Railway, trackage rights granted to Northwood
- 1878: Central Railroad Company of Iowa sold to Central Iowa Railway
- 1889: Central Iowa Railway sold to the Iowa Central Railway
- 1895: Minneapolis & St. Louis Railway reorganizes as the Minneapolis & St. Louis Railroad
- 1901: Iowa Central Railway controlled by the Minneapolis & St. Louis Railroad
- 1902: Realignment and reconstruction of "Chaska Hill" between Hopkins, Minnesota and Chaska, Minnesota
- 1912: Iowa Central Railway sold to the Minneapolis & St. Louis Railroad
- Ca. 1920: Minneapolis & St. Louis Railroad reorganizes as the Minneapolis & St. Louis Railway
- 1960: Minneapolis & St. Louis purchased by the Chicago & North Western Railway
- 1970: Manly, Iowa to Mason City, Iowa segment abandoned
- 1984: Montgomery, Minnesota to Waseca, Minnesota segment abandoned
- 1986: Waseca, Minnesota to Hartland, Minnesota segment sold to Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railroad
- 1988: Hampton, Iowa to Ackley, Iowa segment abandoned
- 1990: Rockwell, Iowa to Sheffield, Iowa segment abandoned
- 1991: Minneapolis, Minnesota to Chaska, Minnesota segment abandoned and purchased by Hennepin and Carver Counties
- 1995: C&NW purchased by Union Pacific Railroad
- 2001: Sheffield, Iowa to Hampton, Iowa segment abandoned
- 2008: Merriam Junction to Chaska, Minnesota segment abandoned following trestle collapse in 2007
- 2008: DM&E purchased by the Canadian Pacific Railway
- 2008: Hartland, Minnesota to Albert Lea, Minnesota segment abandoned
- 2011: Minnesota River Bridge at Carver removed, Chaska to Merriam segment purchased by Carver and Scott Counties
- 1991-Present: Minnesota River Bluffs Trail and Cedar Lake Trail operate on the railroad grade between Minneapolis and Chaska
- 1995-Present: Union Pacific operates the Montgomery Subdivision between Merriam Junction and Montgomery
- 2022-Present: High Line Trail being developed through Mason City
The sole remaining railroad bridge in the river town of Carver crosses Main Street.
Originally built in 1871, the bridge was connected to the Carver Railroad Bridge by means of trestle spans on the south end.
When built in 1871, the bridge looked very similar to how it does now. A simple I-Beam bridge was set onto stone piers. This beam was again replaced in 1889 by another beam span.
1910 photo of the previous bridge, courtesy of Carver on the Minnesota.
In 1926, the older I-Beam was upgraded with a new I-Beam structure. This was set onto the original 1871 piers, and approached by wooden trestle spans.
With little change, much of the south approach was put under an earthen dike in the 1990s. However, it was still connected to the main bridge until the removal of the main bridge.
In 2011, this bridge was faced with demolition. While the river bridge was contracted for removal for understandable reasons, this landmark structure was also contracted for demolition, for less understandable reasons.
However, the author teamed with a gentleman from Carver to convince the City of Carver to take ownership of the landmark bridge.
In a 4-1 vote, the city council voted to acquire the bridge for future preservation. The structure is important to the town, mainly because of the "gate" feeling it has had to the park behind it.
That park originally served as the first location of the Carver County Fair, and is a popular place to camp currently.
Since 2011, the bridge has stood unchanged, although stenciling has been added to the bridge saying "Riverside Park" on one side. The deck of the bridge was fenced off, and its apparent that the bridge may never be reused for trail use.
However, the author agrees with this decision. Keeping the bridge in original condition is important for a landmark in the small town of Carver.
The author has ranked this bridge as being moderately significant, due to the common design but lack of historic bridges in the region.
Being built in 1926 wouldn't make a bridge like this notable in most counties, however Carver County has very few historic bridges. This structure, and a 1913 overpass in Chaska are the oldest structures in the county.
The photo above is an overview. The bridge can easily be accessed from the road below.