MILW Paint Creek Bridge #7

Half Through Gider Bridge over Paint Creek
Waterville, Allamakee County, Iowa

Click the Photo Above to See All Photos of This Bridge!
Name MILW Paint Creek Bridge #7
Built By Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway
Contractor Lassig Bridge & Iron Works of Chicago
Currently Owned By Private Owner
Length 130 Feet Total, 55 Foot Main Spans
Width 1 Track
Height Above Ground 10 Feet (Estimated)
Superstructure Type Half Through Girder and Trestle
Substructure Type Timber Pile
Date Built 1916, using a span originally fabricated 1895
Previous Locations Bridge #Z-318; Byron, Illinois (1895-1898)
Bridge #Z-302; Stillman Valley, Illinois (1898-1916)
Traffic Count 0 Trains/Day (Bridge is Abandoned)
Current Status Abandoned and Partially Destroyed
MILW Bridge Number K-1388
Significance Local Significance
Documentation Date December 2014
In 1877, the Waukon and Mississippi Railroad built a 23 mile narrow gauge branch line from Waukon, Iowa to the junction of an existing line at Waukon Junction.

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, this unique girder bridge crosses Paint Creek.
Built in 1916 using a pair of relocated spans, this bridge consisted of a pair of 55' through girder spans, approached by trestles. In 2011, one of the spans was washed off the piers and set nearby in a field. It has since been scrapped.
The girder spans were originally built at Bridge #Z-318 (Byron, Illinois) in 1895, and were relocated to Bridge #Z-302 (Stillman Valley, Illinois) during a double tracking project in 1898. In 1916, the spans were reused at this bridge.
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.
Overall, the bridge appears to be in poor condition, and suffered a collapse in 2011. It is unknown what will happen to the remaining span.

The author has ranked this bridge as being locally significant, due to the common design, despite the history.
The photo above is an overview.


Source Type


Bridge History Milwaukee Road Archives at the Milwaukee Central Library
Railroad Line History Source ICC Valuation Information, Compiled by Richard S. Steele

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