Gotch Park Trail Bridge

Pratt Through Truss Bridge over E. Fork Des Moines River
Rogerton, Humboldt County, Iowa

Click the Photo Above to See All Photos of This Bridge!
Name Gotch Park Trail Bridge
Built By Minneapolis & St. Louis Railway
Contractor Detroit Bridge & Iron Works of Detroit
Currently Owned By Humboldt County
Length 335 Feet Total, 158 Foot Main Span
Width 1 Track, 2 Trail Lanes
Height Above Ground 20 Feet (Estimated)
Superstructure Type Pratt Through Truss and Trestle
Substructure Type Stone Masonry and Timber Pile
Date Built 1901
Traffic Count 0 Train/Day (Bridge is a Trail)
Current Status Rails to Trails
M&StL Bridge Number 136
Significance Regional Significance
Documentation Date August 2013
In 1878, the Minnesota and Iowa Southern Railway built a 60 mile line from the Minnesota/Iowa State Line near Emmons to Livermore, Iowa.

By 1879, the Fort Dodge & Fort Ridgeley Railroad built 29 miles from Livermore to Fort Dodge, Iowa.

By 1881, the Minneapolis & St. Louis Railway consumed both railroad companies, and connected the line to their own rails at Albert Lea, Minnesota.

In addition, they built a short expansion of 3 miles to Kalo, Iowa from Fort Dodge; to facilitate the mining of coal.

The Minneapolis & St. Louis Railway became part of the Chicago & North Western in 1960, who ran what was their lines into the ground.
The first abandonment came in 1976, and was between Lake Mills and Albert Lea.
The second abandonment came in 1977, when the Kalo branch was abandoned.
The next portion came in 1979, when the Humboldt to Luverne portion was abandoned.
In 1981, a portion from Fort Dodge to Rogerton was abandoned; along with Luverne to Lake Mills. From Rogerton to Humboldt was abandoned in 1985.

Today, small portions of the line exist as recreational trails. In Humboldt, a trail exists from about a mile north of Humboldt to Gotch Park.

In Fort Dodge, a portion from County Highway D-14 to downtown also exists.

Located in Gotch Park at the confluence of the East and West Forks of the Des Moines River, this large through truss bridge crosses the East Fork Des Moines River.
Built in 1901, the bridge features a 6-panel pin connected Pratt Through Truss. This truss features a lattice portal and an overall unique design. It is approached by trestle spans on each side.
This truss appears to be unique to the Minneapolis & St. Louis, as no similar span has been seen elsewhere on the system.
Currently, the bridge serves as a part of the Three Rivers Trail.
Overall, the bridge appears to be in very good condition. Little major deterioration was noted on the structure.

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

W. Fork Des Moines River Railroad Bridges
Upstream Dakota City Rail Bridge
Downstream Confluence With West Fork Des Moines River


Source Type


Build Dates ICC Valuation Summary Report, courtesy Doug Harding collection
Contractor Missing Detroit Bridge & Iron Works plaque
Railroad Line History Source ICC Valuation Information, Compiled by Richard S. Steele

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