Two extensions were considered for the young and prosperous railroad. One of which would extend to Decorah.
In 1880, the line was obtained by the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad, who converted it to standard guage. They ripped up the Decorah branch.
The line came out of the Mississippi River Valley through some of the hardest terrain in the midwest. It followed the Paint Creek Valley for the majority of the time.
The CM&StP became the Chicago, Milwaukee St. Paul & Pacific (Milwaukee Road) in 1913.
The line served a major lead mine until 1933, when it was removed.
By 1972, the line was starting to struggle, and the Milwaukee Road abandoned it.
Today, chunks of it serve as local roads and some structures still remain as a reminder.
Located in Waterville near the Waterville Farm, this unique girder bridge crosses Paint Creek.
Originally built in approximately 1898, it appears that the main girders were moved here from another location.
Moving old spans to routes with lighter traffic was and still is a common way for railroads to save money. The half girder design is oftentimes created out of regular through girders during times of rebuilding.
Currently, the bridge consists of a pair of through girder spans, approached by trestle on either side, set onto timber substructures. It is believed that this bridge was moved here around 1930.
Overall, the bridge appears to be in good condition. Unfortunately, so far no information has been found on this bridge.
The author has ranked this bridge as being locally significant, due to the common design, despite the history.
The photo above is an overview.