Darlington Black Bridge

Through Plate Girder Bridge over Pecatonica River
Darlington, Lafayette County, Wisconsin

Click the Photo Above to See All Photos of This Bridge!
Name Darlington Black Bridge
Built By Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway
Contractor Wisconsin Bridge & Iron Works of Milwaukee
Currently Owned By State of Wisconsin
Currently Operated By Wisconsin & Southern Railroad
Length 168 Feet Total, 84 Foot Spans
Width 1 Track
Height Above Ground 10 Feet (Estimated)
Superstructure Type Through Plate Girder
Substructure Type Concrete
Date Built 1905
Traffic Count 0 Trains/Day (Bridge is a Trail)
Current Status Rails to Trails
WSOR Bridge Number F-272
Significance Local Significance
In 1850, the Milwaukee and Mississippi Railroad began construction of a line charted to connect 196 miles between Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Prairie Du Chein, Wisconsin.
By the end of the year, the railroad reached from Milwaukee to Elm Grove, and went through Wausautosa. The following year, an extension would be made another 10 miles to Waukesha.
In 1852 and 1853, the railroad built another 42 miles of track to Milton, and 18 miles from Milton to Stoughton, respectively.
Between 1854 and 1856, the railroad was extended through Madison, to Boscobel, an addition of 86 miles.
In 1858, the railroad completed to Prarie du Chein, and opened the opportunity for expansion westwards.
With a successful and mainline completed and fully operational, the M&M was purchased by the Milwaukee and Prairie du Chen Railway in 1861. In turn, the M&PdC was purchased by the Milwaukee and St. Paul Railway in 1867.
The M&StL operated numerous railroads throughout Wisconsin, and was merged into the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway in 1874. Known as the Milwaukee Road, the system expanded rapidly over the upper midwest.
The CM&StP later became known as the Chicago, Milwaukee St. Paul & Pacific Railway in 1915, after completing a transcontinental route.

This route would quickly be downgraded to a secondary mainline, after other routes became preferable.
While this was one of the first railroads completed, the route was sold in 1980 to the State of Wisconsin, who picked Wisconsin & Southern to operate the route. This arrangement is still ongoing in 2018.

This large through girder bridge is the northern crossing of the Pecatonica River in Darlington.
Built in 1905, this bridge consists of a pair of through girder spans set onto concrete substructures. In addition, the bridge is heavily skewed.
Bridges like this are standard in design, and are seen all over the railroad system. This structure replaced a wooden Howe Through Truss, built in 1893.
Overall, the bridge appears to be in good condition. It currently carries the Cheese Country Trail.

The author has ranked this bridge as being locally significant, due to the common design.
The photo above is an overview. The bridge can be accessed from the trail it carries.

Pecatonica River Railroad Bridges
Upstream Pecatonica River Bridge #3
Downstream Pecatonica River Bridge #5


Source Type


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

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