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La Grange Rail Bridge

Pratt Through Truss Bridge over Wyaconda River
La Grange, Lewis County, Missouri

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Name La Grange Rail Bridge
Built By Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad
Contractor Unknown
Currently Owned By BNSF Railway
Length 184 Feet Total, 148 Foot Main Span
Width 1 Track
Height Above Ground 10 Feet (Estimated)
Type Pratt Through Truss and Deck Girder
Date Built 1894
Traffic Count 15 Trains/Day (Estimated)
Current Status In Use
BNSF Bridge Number 151.11
Significance Local Significance
In 1855, the Keokuk, Mount Pleasant and Muscatine Railroad began construction of a 16 mile line from Keokuk, Iowa to Veile, Iowa. This new line would run roughly parallel to the Mississippi River.

This line would be completed in 1857, and by 1858 the Iowa Southern Junction Railroad began construction on an extension into Fort Madison. This would be completed in 1859 by the Iowa Southern Railroad.

These two railroad would become a part of the Keokuk and St. Paul Railway in 1866. By 1867, the line would be extended to Burlington, Iowa where it would meet a mainline. The line would be completed in late 1869.

Far south of Iowa, a railroad known as the Clarksville and Western Railroad begun construction of a 54 mile line stretching from St. Peters, Missouri to Louisiana, Missouri.

Similarly, the Mississippi Valley and Western Railway completed a 34 mile segment from West Quincy, Missouri to Buena Vista, Iowa in 1872. This segment was started by the Mississippi and Missouri River Air Line Railroad in 1868.

In 1873, the Clarksville and Western Railroad was purchased by the Mississippi Valley and Western Railway in 1873. This railroad would complete segments from West Quincy to Hannibal, Missouri and from Lousiana to Clarksville.

In 1875, the railroad would become part of the St. Louis, Keokuk and North Western Railway. This railroad would complete the line between Buena Vista, Iowa and St. Peters Missouri in 1879.
Finally, in 1881; the railroad built a portion from Buena Vista to Keokuk. This created a continuous line between St. Peters and Burlington.

After a rename in 1887, the St. Louis, Keokuk and North Western Railroad built a final 49 miles from Cuivre Junction (at Old Monroe) to St. Louis in 1892. The entire line was considered critical to the development of industry along the Mississippi River.

Both the Keokuk and St. Paul Railway, as well as the St. Louis, Keokuk and North Western Railroad were purchased by the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railway in 1901. The CB&Q had been constructing a significant amount of track throughout the midwest.
In 1907, the 10 mile spur to St. Peters would be abandoned, considered unnecessary.

The remainder of the line remained critical to the CB&Q, which would eventually merge with the Northern Pacific and Great Northern to form Burlington Northern in 1970.

By 1996, the thriving BN decided to merge with the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe to form BNSF Railway, the current owner of the line. It currently sees a solid traffic base, and is operated as the Hannibal Subdivision.
03/13/17


This large Pratt Through Truss bridge crosses the Wyaconda River at La Grange, Missouri.
Built in 1894 by the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy; it features a large Pratt Through Truss main span. This span features pinned connections and 7 panels.

The bridge also features a single deck girder on the south end. The entire structure rests on concrete substructures. The truss is similar to many other CB&Q designs used throughout the era.

An inscription on the south face of the lone pier gives the date of 1894, which seems very likely for the structure.

As for the condition of the bridge, it seems to retain a high level of historic integrity without compromising structural strength.
Because of this, the author has ranked this bridge as locally significant; due to the common design.

The photo above is an overview.



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