Ramsey Mill Pond Rail Bridge

Abandoned Pratt Through Truss Bridge over Cedar River
Near Austin, Mower County, Minnesota

Click the Photo Above to See All Photos of This Bridge!
Name Ramsey Mill Pond Rail Bridge
Built By Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway
Contractor Keystone Bridge Company of Pittsburgh
Currently Owned By River Oaks Golf Club
Length 220 Feet Total, 110 Foot Spans
Width 1 Track
Height Above Ground 15 Feet (Estimated)
Superstructure Type Pratt Through Truss
Substructure Type Concrete
Date Built 1887, Relocated Here 1911
Using Parts Relocated From Bridge #D-4; Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Traffic Count 0 Trains/Day (Bridge is Abandoned)
Current Status To Become a Trail
MILW Bridge Number Q-350
Significance Regional Significance
In 1872, the Southern Minnesota Railroad constructed 165 miles of new track in Southern Minnesota from La Crescent to Winnebago.
On the east end, the line had to cross through the most difficult terrain in the state, often requiring following and crossing the Root River, as well as following valleys and hills. However, once past Spring Valley, the grading would become much easier.
By 1878, the line was extended from Winnebago to Flandreau, South Dakota, an additional 138 miles.
The following year, the line would reach into Sioux Falls. At the same time, in 1880, the Southern Minnesota Railroad would be purchased by the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway.
The railroad changed its name to the Chicago, Milwaukee St. Paul & Pacific Railway in 1928.
The Milwaukee Road was often times a poor railroad, and this accelerated its demise.

A major 100 mile section would be abandoned in 1980 from La Crescent to Ramsey, where it met another Milwaukee Road Mainline.
In addition, the portion west of Jackson to Sioux Falls would be abandoned the same year.
While typical abandonments include property either sitting with the railroad, or being reverted to landowners, this segment was different.
The portion from Ramsey to Dexter was kept in public hands, and from Dexter to Money Creek Woods was kept as a trail.
The Milwaukee Road was purchased by the Soo Line in 1985. Soo Line in turn sold this line to Iowa, Chicago & Eastern in 1997.
IC&E eventually came part of the Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern, who in turn merged with Canadian Pacific in 2008. CP currently operates the line between Ramsey and Jackson.

This unique truss bridge crosses the Cedar River, at the River Oaks Golf Club, north of Austin.
Built in 1887 as a swing bridge across the Menomonee River in Milwaukee, the bridge was moved here in 1911.
The bridge is a simple two span Pratt Through Truss, with vertical endposts at the middle of the structure. Each span consists of a pair of 6 panel, pin connected trusses with a lattice style bracing.
One unique feature of this bridge is the use of vertical endposts. This indicates that the bridge was originally a center pivot structure.
Overall, the bridge has seen no severe corrosion and retains an excellent integrity. This may be due to the fact that it is actually constructed of Wrought Iron.
The Bridge is to become a trail, connecting a trail along the river into Austin. As of 2018, funding was requested for the project. It is currently half owned by Mower County and half by the State of Minnesota.

The author has ranked this bridge as being regionally significant, due to the unique design and history.
The photo above is an overview.

Cedar River Railroad Bridges
Upstream CGW Cedar River Arch
Downstream DM&E Cedar River Bridge (Austin)


Source Type


Build Date Milwaukee Road Archives at the Milwaukee Central Library
Original Location Milwaukee Road Archives at the Milwaukee Central Library
Erection Date Date Stamp
Railroad Line History Source ICC Valuation Information, Compiled by Richard S. Steele

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