Hawarden Rail Bridge (N)

Pratt Through Truss Bridge over Big Sioux River
Hawarden, Sioux County, Iowa
To Rural Union County, South Dakota

Click the Photo Above to See All Photos of This Bridge!
Name Hawarden Rail Bridge (N)
Built By Chicago, Milwaukee St. Paul & Pacific Railway
Contractor Lassig Bridge & Iron Works of Chicago
Currently Owned By Dakota & Iowa Railroad
Length 585 Feet Total, 135 Foot Main Span
Width 1 Track
Height Above Ground 20 Feet (Estimated)
Superstructure Type Pratt Through Truss and Trestle
Substructure Type Stone Masonry and Timber Pile
Date Built Ca. 1894, Relocated Here Ca. 1914
Traffic Count 2 Trains/Day (Estimated)
Current Status In Use
DAIR Bridge Number T-574
Significance Moderately Significant
In 1878, the Sioux City & Pembina Railway built a line from Elk Point, South Dakota to Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

The line crossed across the Big Sioux a number of times, crossing between Iowa and South Dakota.

The line was merged into the Sioux City and Dakota Railroad in 1879.

By 1881, the line became a branch of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway, also known as the Milwaukee Road.

In 1913, following an escapade to the Pacific Ocean, the railroad became known as the Chicago, Milwaukee St. Paul & Pacific Railway.

Heading north out of Sioux Falls, the Milwaukee Road also operated a branch to North Dakota.

By 1981, with the Milwaukee Road falling to bankruptcy, the Dakota & Iowa (D&I) Railroad was formed as a joint coalition between Iowa and South Dakota to operate the former branch to Sioux City.

Today, D&I continues to operate the line from Sioux Falls to Sioux City, as well as the Dell Rapids branch.

This beautiful old truss bridge crosses the Big Sioux River just downstream of IA-10/SD-46.

The truss bridge is one of several past and present with this design. The design features a decorative portal bracing, with lightly built up members and a 6 panel pin connected Pratt Through Truss.
Similar structures have been found in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin. It is likely these were all related.
Because of this, the build date for this structure has been listed as approximately 1894 (the date confirmed on two other identical spans), relocated here in approximately 1914 (found on two other spans) and would have been built by Lassig Bridge & iron Works.
More on this speculation will come as soon as details are found.

This bridge sits on stone piers, and is approached by trestle on either side. The trestle has been rebuilt with steel stringers, after the 2014 flood.
This is likely because of the flooding in 2014.
The author has ranked this bridge as moderately significant, mainly because of the lack of known information. The approximate date, and the relocation history may later factor into a more significant rating.

The photo above is an overview of the bridge.

Big Sioux River Railroad Bridges
Upstream DAIR Big Sioux River Bridge (Hudson)
Downstream Hawarden Rail Bridge (S)


Source Type


Main Span Build Date Estimated based on identical spans
Contractor Based on identical spans
Railroad Line History Source ICC Valuation Information, Compiled by Richard S. Steele

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