Owatonna Rail Crossing

Through Plate Girder Bridge over Union Pacific Railroad
Owatonna, Steele County, Minnesota

Click the Photo Above to See All Photos of This Bridge!
Name Owatonna Rail Crossing
Built By Chicago & North Western Railway
Contractor King Bridge Company of Cleveland
Currently Owned By Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railroad
Length 45 Feet Total
Width 1 Track
Height Above Ground 20 Feet (Estimated)
Superstructure Type Through Plate Girder
Substructure Type Stone Masonry
Date Built 1901
Traffic Count 5 Trains/Day (Estimated)
Current Status In Use
DM&E Bridge Number M216.25
Significance Local Significance
In 1861, after the financial crisis of 1859, the Winona, St Peter, Missouri River railroad company was awarded the property to build across Minnesota. They laid the track on the graded line, and continued building. The railroad reached Rochester in 1864, and Owatonna in 1866, until they were largely purchased by Chicago & North Western Railway in 1867. The CNW operated the W&StP as a subsidiary, and continued building west in 1871.
C&NW reached Mankato, and built 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 & North Western opted for a new route between New Ulm and Mankato. They built it in 1899, using the old route as a backup.
A portion between Burdette (East Mankato) and Kasota was abandoned in 1937, and the remainder between Kasota and just east of New Ulm abandoned in 1954 and 1959. The line east of New Ulm was retained as a spur to a quarry.

By 1986, the C&NW was looking to abandoned this route. A group of Senators stepped in and purchased the line, and named the Dakota Minnesota & Eastern.
After many years of independent and rapidly expanding operations, the DM&E was purchased by the Canadian Pacific in 2008. CP continues to operate the route between Winona and Tracy, with the Waseca to Winona portion known as the Waseca Subdivision.

Located on the north side of Owatonna, this through girder span crosses the Union Pacific Albert Lea Subdivision.
Built in 1901 to cross the Burlington, Cedar Rapids & Northern (later Rock Island), the bridge features a single through girder span. This span sits on stone abutments.
An identical bridge crosses Riverside Avenue to the west of this bridge.
Overall, this bridge appears to be in good condition.

The author has ranked the bridge as being locally significant, due to the common design.
The photo above is an overview.


Source Type


Build Date King Bridge & Iron Company plaque
Contractor King Bridge & Iron Company plaque
Railroad Line History Source ICC Valuation Information, Compiled by Richard S. Steele

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