Elmen Park Rail Bridge

Quadrangular Through Truss Bridge over Big Sioux River
Sioux Falls, Minnehaha County, South Dakota

Click the Photo Above to See All Photos of This Bridge!
Name Elmen Park Rail Bridge
Built By Chicago & North Western Railway
Contractor Lassig Bridge & Iron Works of Chicago
Currently Owned By Ellis & Eastern Railway
Length 325 Feet Total, 100 Foot Longest Span
Width 1 Track
Height Above Ground 12 Feet (Estimated)
Superstructure Type Quadrangular Through Truss and Trestle
Substructure Type Stone Masonry and Timber Pile
Date Built 1892
Traffic Count 1 Train/Day (Estimated)
Current Status In Use
C&NW Bridge Number P-131
Significance Moderate Significance
In 1875, the Saint Paul & Sioux City Railway began feeling threatened by the competing Southern Minnesota Railway, which was beginning construction on building to Sioux Falls.

They formed the subsidiary Worthington & Sioux Falls Railway to construct the approximately 50 mile segment of main line from Agate Junction (near Worthington) to Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

It opened to Adrian, Minnesota by 1875, Luverne, Minnesota in 1876 and Sioux Falls in 1878.

In 1879, it would be continued west by the Chicago, St. Paul Minneapolis & Omaha Railway, reaching Mitchell by 1882.

In 1882, the CStPM&O became a subsidiary of the Chicago & North Western Railway.

The Chicago & North Western operated this line as a branch line, until 1888, when it abandoned the whole Agate Junction to Mitchell segment.

The Buffalo Ridge Railroad Authority stepped in and purchased the line from Buffalo Ridge, through Sioux Falls to Agate the same year.

In 2015, the Minnesota Southern operates from Valley Junction to Agate, where it meets a Union Pacific mainline.

In addition, the Ellis & Eastern Railway serves from Brandon to Sioux Falls.

Yet another Quadrangular Through Truss bridge makes up the third and westernmost crossing of the Big Sioux River along the former CM&O mainline.
This one is considerably shorter than the other two, consisting of just a single short Quadrangular Through Truss span. This span contains the typical details for these spans, including riveted connections and pedimented portal bracing.
Built in 1892, this bridge likely replaced a wooden trestle or a wooden Howe Truss. The bridge is approached by a long wooden trestle on the east end.
The truss rests on stone substructures, while the approach spans are supported by wooden bents.
Overall, the bridge remains in good condition. The bridge sees little traffic, and it is hoped that it will someday become part of a trail.

The author has ranked the bridge as being moderately significant, due to the historic age. Despite this, the bridge did not receive a higher rating because of the large number of railroad trusses in Western South Dakota that are identical in design, yet older and relocated.
The photo above is an overview. The bridge can be accessed from local trails.

Big Sioux River Railroad Bridges
Upstream BNSF Big Sioux River Bridge
Downstream Sertoma Park Trail Bridge


Source Type


Main Spans Build Date Lassig Bridge & Iron Works plaque
Main Spans Build Date Twelfth Annual Report of the Chicago, Minneapolis St. Paul & Omaha Railway
Contractor Lassig Bridge & Iron Works plaque
Railroad Line History Source ICC Valuation Information, Compiled by Richard S. Steele

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