DM&E Deer Creek Bridge

Pratt Pony Truss Bridge over Deer Creek
Carpenter, Mitchell County, Iowa

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Name DM&E Deer Creek Bridge
Built By Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway
Contractor Lassig Bridge & Iron Works of Chicago
Currently Owned By Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railroad
Length 110 Feet Total
Width 1 Track
Height Above Ground 15 Feet (Estimated)
Superstructure Type Pratt Pony Truss
Substructure Type Stone Masonry
Date Built 1899
Traffic Count 4 Trains/Day (Estimated)
Current Status In Use
MILW Bridge Number S-514
Significance Moderately Significant
Documentation Date November 2017
In 1869, the McGregor Western Railway Company, a subsidiary of the Milwaukee and St. Paul Railway built a line between Mason City, Iowa and Austin, Minnesota.
This new line connected the existing Minnesota Central line towards the Twin Cities at Austin to a mainline between Marquette, Iowa and South Dakota at Mason City. By 1874, the Milwaukee & St. Paul became the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway, commonly known as the Milwaukee Road.
During the early years of the 20th Century, the Milwaukee Road greatly upgraded routes, and built a new mainline to the Pacific Ocean at Seattle. An expensive route, this extension sent the Milwaukee Road into financial turmoil.
By 1925, the Milwaukee Road had declared bankruptcy and reorganized as the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific Railroad in 1928.
This line saw little change throughout the years. While the Milwaukee Road saw success in the post-WWII years, the Midwest was heavily overbuilt with numerous railroads. As a result, the Milwaukee Road again entered bankruptcy in 1974, and begun significantly trimming route mileage.
The Pacific extension was formally abandoned west of Miles City, Montana in 1980; and numerous other routes were abandoned between 1980 and 1982.
In 1985, the Soo Line Railroad purchased the struggling Milwaukee Road. On January 1st, 1986; the Milwaukee Road ceased to exist, completely merging into Soo Line.
The Soo Line had been a part of the Canadian Pacific Railway system since 1984, when they purchased Soo as a subsidiary. CP continued operations of the Mason City-Austin route under the Soo Line name, until April of 1997, when it sold nearly 1,400 miles of trackage to I&M Rail Link.
By 2002, the routes owned by I&M were transferred to Iowa, Chicago & Eastern Railroad, a subsidiary of Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern. DM&E and IC&E were purchased by Canadian Pacific Railway in October 2008.
Today, CP continues to operate this route as subsidiary Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern. It is known as the Owatonna Subdivision, seeing approximately four trains per day.

Located near the tiny town of Carpenter, this pony truss bridge crosses Deer Creek.
Built in 1899, the bridge features a 6-panel, pin connected Pratt Pony Truss, set onto stone abutments. This bridge uses a standardized design, often fabricated by Lassig Bridge & Iron Works.
Trusses like this were common as spans to cross all sized waterways. Considerably easier to assemble than through trusses, this particular design was the favorite of Milwaukee Road for nearly 20 years, between 1890 and 1910.
Currently, the bridge is owned by Canadian Pacific (DM&E). It has had little alterations since construction, other than new headwalls, installed in approximately 2016.
Overall, the bridge appears to be in good condition, with little major deterioration noted.

The author has ranked this bridge as being moderately significant, due to the truss design.
The photo above is an overview.


Source Type


Build Date Based on identical nearby trusses
Contractor Missing Lassig Bridge & Iron Works plaque
Railroad Line History Source ICC Valuation Information, Compiled by Richard S. Steele

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