Stevens Point Black Bridge

Parker Through Truss Bridge over Wisconsin River
Stevens Point, Portage County, Wisconsin

Click the Photo Above to See All Photos of This Bridge!
Name Stevens Point Black Bridge
Built By Wisconsin Central Railway
Contractor (Steelwork) Wisconsin Bridge & Iron Company of Milwaukee
Contractor (Erection) Frankman Bros. Construction Co. of Milwaukee
Currently Owned By Canadian National Railway
Length 575 Feet Total, 170 Foot Largest Span
Width 1 Track
Height Above Ground 25 Feet (Estimated)
Superstructure Type Parker Through Truss
Substructure Type Concrete
Date Built 1914, Rehabilitated 2012
Traffic Count 15 Trains/Day (Estimated)
Current Status In Use
CN Bridge Number 249.73
Significance Moderate Significance
In 1872, the Wisconsin Central began building further north from Stevens Point, to Abbotsford.

By 1880, the line heading west of Abbotsford would be built, heading towards Chippewa Falls and Minnesota through Owen.

In 1904, the Wisconsin Central Railway began desiring to construct the Superior Extension, a 161 mile rail line between the main line at Owen, Wisconsin to Duluth, Minnesota and the Twin Ports.

The two railroads that were legally established to build this were the Owen & Northern Railway, who was charted to built between Owen and Ladysmith. The other, the Lake Superior & Southeastern Railroad was charted to build between Ladysmith and Duluth.

The Owen-Ladysmith section was opened in mid 1906, and immediately sold to the Wisconsin Central, where it could connect to the mainline from Saint Paul to Rhinelander.

The second section was much harder to construct. Building through some of the most desolate and notorious landscape in Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Central was required to construct 50 bridges through Sawyer and Douglas Counties. In addition, a double swing bridge would be required to cross the Saint Louis Bay into Duluth, which was built in 1908.

The entire extension was opened in 1909. At the same time, a connection from Owen to Spencer was built, to connect the mainline.

The Wisconsin Central, being a poor railroad was leased by the Minneapolis, St. Paul and Sault Ste. Marie Railroad in 1908.

In addition, the MStP&SSM was leased by Canadian Pacific in the early 1900s.

By 1961, the merger of the MStP&SSM, Wisconsin Central and Duluth, South Shore and Atlantic Railroad created the Soo Line, still a fully owned Subsidiary of Canadian Pacific.

In 1987, several Soo Line miles would be sold to a spinoff company, the Wisconsin Central Ltd., who would receive this line in 1987.

The WCL would eventually fall into the hands of the Canadian National in 2001, who continues to operate this as their Superior Subdivision. They also received the Soo Line's mainline from Saint Paul to Chicago, which connected at Owen.
The only major change was the bridge at Duluth, and the Duluth side of the line, which were all abandoned, and the bridge ripped out in the mid 1980s.

This bridge was the Soo Line crossing of the Wisconsin River in Stevens Point.
It was built in 1914 as a three span, 7 panel riveted Parker Through Truss on concrete substructures. It replaced an older Parker Through Truss with pinned connections.
In 2012, it was rehabilitated. The portals were strengthened, beams and chords were rebuilt, and the connections rebuilt.
Currently, the bridge sits on concrete substructures. The rehabilitation reduced the significance of this bridge considerably.
Overall, the bridge remains in good conditions. Recent repairs have brought the bridge back to high strength.

The author has ranked this bridge as being moderately significant, due to the common design.
Today, this bridge is still a favorite location of photographers. The photo above is an overview from the west bank.

Wisconsin River Railroad Bridges
Upstream Knowlton Rail Bridge
Downstream (West Channel) New Page Paper Mill Bridge
Downstream (East Channel) Wisconsin Rapids Rail Bridge


Source Type


Build Date Soo Line Historical & Technical Society Archives
Contractor Soo Line Historical & Technical Society Archives
Railroad Line History Source ICC Valuation Information, Compiled by Richard S. Steele

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