In 1861, after the financial crisis of 1859, the Winona, St Peter, Missouri River railroad company was awarded the property. They laid the track on the graded line, and continued building. The railroad reached Rochester in 1864, and Owatonna in 1866, until they were purchased by Chicago Northwestern in 1867. The CNW continued building west in 1871.
C&NW reached Mankato, and build a little north, crossing the Minnesota River at St. Peter, staying north of the River until finally crossing back over at New Ulm. It then went to Tracy, and later Watertown, SD. It reached South Dakota in 1872.
The Chicago Northwestern opted for a new route between New Ulm and Mankato. They built it in 1899, using the old route as a backup. In 1971, the C&Nw abandoned the old route from New Ulm to Mankato, with the exception of a part from New Ulm to a small Rock Quarry.
By 1986, the C&NW was looking to abandoned this route. A group of Senators stepped in and purchasded the line, and named the Dakota Minnesota Eastern.
D&ME grew quite a bit over the next few years. They ran into trouble with Rochester MN because they were running really long trains. The one bad part of the DM&E was their Minnesota Trackage was really bad.
Since then, the DME was been purchased by Canadian Pacific, but continues to operate as a subsidiary. Lots of rail replacement projects have come up too.
This photogenic structure is one of the more popular ones in New Ulm.
The bridge contains a pair of riveted, Quadranular Through Trusses with A-Frame Portals; commonplace of later and heavier trusses.
However, the heavy members clash with the stone piers and wood approaches, which give this bridge a wonderful glimpse of a bygone era and make it an even more scenic crossing of the Cottonwood River.
The bridge can be accessed from Shag Road, or from downtown New Ulm at a fishing access point.
The bridge also is one of the more photographed structures along the Former DM&E mainline, including one photograph of the bridge on October 31st 2008, the last day of independent DM&E operations.
The photo above is looking from Shag Road.
Cottonwood River Railroad Bridges
|Upstream||M&StL Cottonwood River Bridge|
|Downstream||Confluence with Minnesota River|