Riverdale Park Trail Bridge

Quadrangular Through Truss Bridge over Big Sioux River
Sioux Falls, Minnehaha County, South Dakota

Click the Photo Above to See All Photos of This Bridge!
Name Riverdale Park Trail Bridge
Built By Cedar Rapids, Iowa Falls & Northern Railway
Contractor Lassig Bridge & Iron Works of Chicago
Currently Owned By City of Sioux Falls
Length 430 Feet Total, 125 Foot Main Span
Width 1 Track
Height Above Ground 15 Feet (Estimated)
Superstructure Type Quadrangular Through Truss and Trestle
Substructure Type Concrete and Timber Pile
Date Built 1888
Traffic Count 0 Trains/Day (Bridge is a Trail)
Current Status Rails to Trails
Significance Moderate Significance
In 1884, the Cedar Rapids, Iowa Falls and Northwestern Railway Company built a line from Lake Park, Iowa towards Watertown, South Dakota.

However in 1888, the CRIF&N built another branch from Ellsworth, Minnesota (near the State Line) to Sioux Falls.

The Sioux Falls branch crossed through Rock Rapids and Larchwood before coming into Sioux Falls from the Southeast.

The CRIF&N would become part of the Burlingon, Cedar Rapids & Northern in 1902.

The BCR&N would be swallowed by the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific in 1903, which was commonly known as the Rock Island.

The Rock Island operated many of the Southwest branch lines until the late 1970s, as they began their rapid decent into bankruptcy. This one was abandoned in 1977.

Today, some pieces of the BCR&N still survive. Bridges in Sioux Falls and Rock Rapids mark a time past.

One of the more mysterious bridges in Sioux Falls is located in Riverdale Park, crossing the Big Sioux River.
While its origin isn't completely clear, it is confirmed that it was built in 1888. Based on other Rock Island bridges, it seems possible that this structure was relocated to this location from somewhere in Iowa.
A number of these standardized Quadrangular Through Trusses were built on mainlines in Iowa during the 1880s. However, these mainlines would eventually be upgraded, and a number of bridges moved to other locations.
In fact, during the early 20th Century, it is approximated that 80% of Rock Island bridges would be relocated to other locations when they were replaced at their original locations.
However, there is no definitive evidence of this being the case of this structure. The only clue is the newer concrete piers, which either signified a new span at this location, or rebuilding older wooden piers.
Also, some strengthening of the bridge appears to have occurred, as seen on the bottom of the bridge.
Currently, the bridge features a large Quadrangular Through Truss. Typical of Lassig Bridge & Iron Works spans, this structure contains riveted connections and pedimented portal bracings.
In addition to the main span, the bridge is approached by trestle spans on either side. The truss is supported by concrete piers, while the approaches are supported by wooden bents.
Overall, the bridge remains in good condition. It's use as a trail should promise preservation for years to come.

The author has ranked this bridge as being moderately significant, due to the old age and possible relocation history.
The photo above is an overview. This bridge is easily accessed from the trail it carries.

Big Sioux River Railroad Bridges
Upstream Sertoma Park Trail Bridge
Downstream Beadle Park Rail Bridge (E)/td>


Source Type


Build Date Lassig Bridge & Iron Company plaque
Contractor Lassig Bridge & Iron Company plaque
Railroad Line History Source ICC Valuation Information, Compiled by Richard S. Steele

Widget is loading comments...

© Copyright 2010- John Marvig and Contributors. All Rights Reserved