Jewell Stone Arch

Double Stone Arch Bridge over Mud Creek
Jewell, Hamilton County, Iowa

Click the Photo Above to See All Photos of This Bridge!
Name Jewell Stone Arch
Built By Chicago & North Western Railway
Contractor Unknown
Currently Owned By Union Pacific Railroad
Length 48 Feet Total, 24 Foot Spans
Width 2 Tracks, 1 In Use
Height Above Ground 24 Feet (Estimated)
Superstructure Type Stone Arch
Substructure Type Stone Masonry
Date Built 1902
Traffic Count 2 Trains/Day (Estimated)
Current Status In Use
UP Bridge Number Unknown
Significance Moderate Significance
Documentation Date April 2014 (Photos 1-8); September 2017 (Photos 9-15)
In 1874 the Des Moines and Minneapolis Railway constructed a line from Des Moines to Story City, in central Iowa. It was a narrow guage railroad, later standard in 1880.

The line was continued north by the Toledo & Northwestern Railway in late 1879, and was completed to Blue Earth, Minnesota by 1883. It was a standard gauge line. The entire line came into the Chicago North Western Railway system by 1884. The C&NW owned a large amount of track around Iowa at the time.
The line was a critical C&NW route to connect to the Twin Cities.
Starting from Des Moines, the line would start in downtown, and head north towards Ankeny.
The line would cross the east/west Milwaukee Road mainline at Slater, It would go through Kelley, crossing the Fort Dodge, Des Moines & Southern before arriving in Ames.
In Ames, it would cross Squaw Creek, and the busy C&NW east/west mainline.
Near Story City, it had to cross a high trestle over Keigly Creek, which was later filled and replaced with a stone bridge.
The line continued through Randall, crossed an east/west C&NW branch line in Jewell, and came into Webster City after crossing the Boone River.
In Webster City, it crossed the Illinois Central line again, and left town crossing the Boone River again.
Continuing north, the route went through Woolstock, and in Eagle Grove crossed a Chicago Great Western Line, and had a CNW line towards Humboldt break off.
It crossed another CGW line in Goldfield, and continued through Renwick and Lu Verne.
At Algona, it crossed over another Milwaukee Road main, and continued through Burt and Bancroft before crossing a Rock Island line near Lakota.

It crossed into Minnesota at Elmore, and joined with another CNW line at Blue Earth.

Several sections were abandoned over time. This included:

Ledyard to Blue Earth in 1968, Ledyard to Bancroft in 1978, Burt to Bancroft in 1985, and Ankeny to Ames in 1985.

The C&NW merged into Union Pacific in 1995. Since this merger, the Ankeny to Des Moines route has been abandoned and will be reused a trail.
The remaining segment, from Burt to Ames is known as the Jewell Subdivision.

This large and unique stone arch bridge crosses Mud Creek in Jewell. It carries the Union Pacific Jewell Subdivision.
Built in 1902, the bridge consists of a double stone arch. While this area has many single span stone arches, this is one of the only double arches.
Unfortunately for this bridge, the base has begun to have erosion issues and the pilings are exposed. Overall, the bridge is in excellent condition, minus the exposed pilings.
A common correction for this would be to encase the lower portions of the walls in a concrete shield. This would successfully preserve the bridge.

The author has ranked this bridge as being moderately significant, due to the very small number of double stone arch structures in the area.
The photo above is an overview of the structure. It can be accessed from the JewEllsworth Trail, which runs on the north side of this bridge.


Source Type


Build Date Chicago & North Western Railway Historical Society Archives
Railroad Line History Source ICC Valuation Information, Compiled by Richard S. Steele

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