HistoricBridges.org Menu: HistoricBridges.org Menu:


We Recommend These Resources:
Bach Steel - Experts at historic truss bridge restoration.

HistoricBridges.org: Bridge Browser

Gilliece Bridge

Iowa Bridge Number 348800

Gilliece Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth and Rick McOmber

Bridge Documented: June 30, 2009 and August 9, 2013

View Photos
and Videos
View Maps
and Links

Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Cattle Creek Road Over Upper Iowa River
Location
Rural: Winneshiek County, Iowa: United States
Structure Type
Metal Pin-Connected Bowstring Through Truss, Fixed and Approach Spans: Metal Stringer (Multi-Beam), Fixed
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1874 By Builder/Contractor: Wrought Iron Bridge Company of Canton, Ohio

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
129 Feet (39.3 Meters)
Structure Length
151 Feet (46 Meters)
Roadway Width
16.1 Feet (4.91 Meters)
Spans
1 Main Span(s) and 1 Approach Span(s)
NBI Number
348800

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
View Information About HSR Ratings

Bridge Documentation

This bridge no longer exists!

View Archived National Bridge Inventory Report - Has Additional Details and Evaluation

View The Original Wrought Iron Bridge Company Patent For This Bridge Type

Some entire states do not have a single 1870s bowstring truss bridge. Winneshiek County however has several, and each are nationally significant as rare surviving examples of bridges built during one of the most important periods in the history of bridge construction. The Gilliece Bridge is one of those bridges, and it retains excellent historic integrity, due to a lack of alteration over its extremely long service life. It is also significant because as a slightly smaller bridge, it was built to a different design and it has different structural details than the other two larger bridges in the county, making this bridge an excellent comparison to the design followed on the other two bridges. Wrought Iron Bridge Company followed the same general design, but they did have differences that changed depending on when the bridge was built, what the customer selected, and the size of the span.

The Gilliece Bridge is also one of the last historic bowstring truss bridges that remains open to vehicular traffic.

The bridge includes typical Wrought Iron Bridge Company bowstring  details as outlined in the original patent. The top chord is a Keystone column. Sway and portal bracing are latticed. There are cast iron connection assemblies on the bridge. Unusual etch marks on edges of the metal on the keystone column top chord at rivet points appear to have been some sort of measurement aid, the exact purpose of which is unknown. The Gilliece Bridge has a different connection detail than the other two Wrought Iron Bridge Company bowstrings in the county, at the bridge shoe assembly at the ends of the bottom chord. Instead of the two large bolts that hold the bottom chord in place, the bottom chord is connected by a pin. In contrast, the bottom chord segments between the ends are riveted rather than pinned, whereas on the other bridges in the county they are pinned. Also, this bridge has floorbeams that are  made up of two rolled beams, rather than the riveted fishtail floorbeams seen on the other Wrought Iron Bridge bowstrings in the county.

Brief Overview of Bowstring Truss Bridges

Bowstring truss bridges are sometimes called bowstring arch bridges because they have similarities to both structure types. Beginning with Squire Whipple's Whipple Arch Bridges, such as the Ehrmentraut Farm Bridge, the bowstring truss bridge is the bridge type that began a transition away from wood and stone and began to make metal a common bridge building material. It also began a period of experimentation until a good bridge form was developed, leading to a gradual standardization of bridge design. During this period, numerous bridge companies all experimented with metal, trying to design the best bridge. Each company had their own distinctive bowstring design, including unique and creative design details. These designs were often patented. Most bowstring truss bridges were built in the 1870s. Also during this time, cast iron was still used in addition to wrought iron for the construction of bridges, so many bowstrings built during this period include details such as connection assemblies that are made of cast iron. By the 1880s, bridge companies decided that the pin-connected Pratt truss was a better structure type, and construction of bowstring bridges sharply dropped after 1880. Because of the period in which Iowa was first being settled, a much larger number of bowstring truss bridges were built in the state than in other states. As a result, even today, Iowa has more historic bowstring truss bridges than any other state, although the number of bridges statewide is under 20, a very small number. However, a number of states do not have even a single historic bowstring truss within their borders. As such, while bowstring truss bridges are very few in number in Iowa, they are extremely rare on a national scale. It is imperative that each surviving bowstring in the county be preserved to protect this key period in bridge building history.

Additional Information and Resources

View Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) Overview Of Iowa's Bridges (PDF)

Historic American Engineering Record created a large and very informative historical overview and context for Iowa's bridges, and it is offered here by HistoricBridges.org in convenient PDF format for easy printing or offline viewing. The HAER source for the documents composing the PDF is here.

View Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) Discussion of Wrought Iron Bridge Company And Its Bowstrings (PDF)

In its discussion about a single bowstring bridge, Historic American Engineering Record included a detailed description of the Wrought Iron Bridge Company and a general history and discussion of its bowstring truss bridges in general. HistoricBridges.org has clipped this section for convenient viewing in PDF format. The HAER source for the documents composing the PDF is here.

View Bowstring Arch Bridges of Iowa, An Online Book By Michael Finn (PDF)

Michael Finn has composed a concise and detailed overview of Iowa's beautiful historic bowstring bridges. It has been made available for free by Iowa Department of Transportation.

View Historic American Engineering Record's Structural Analysis of Iron Bowstring Bridges (PDF)

Historic American Engineering Record created a large and very informative structural analysis of how bowstring truss/arch bridges function. Everything from basic discussion of the engineering behind the bridges to advanced mathematical equations are available. The HAER source for the documents composing the PDF is here.

Information and Findings From Iowa's Historic Bridge Inventory

Discussion of Bridge

Known locally as the Gilliece Bridge, this bowstring through arch and wrought-iron truss is supported by a stone substructure and is approached on the north end by a steel stringer. The bridge dates to 1874, but traces its history some two years earlier. After decades of building short-span timber and stone bridges, Winneshiek County began contracting for all-iron superstructures in 1872; three bridges were built the next year, the Daubersmith Bridge, the Fort Atkinson Bridge and the Gilliece Bridge. Local stonemason Thomas Dwyer built the massive masonry abutments, which, according to county bridge commissioner George Winship, were "by far the best job of masonry in the county, so noted by all who have seen it." The abutments and 95-foot wingwalls consumed almost 212 cords of limestone and 17,898 feet of timber and plank. Ironically, Dwyer stood to lose money on the project if the commissioners had not decided to pay the stonemason an extra $215 for his work because, they reasoned, it was "not fair that the many should benefit at the expense of one poor man." As it had for the preceding two spans, the county purchased a bowstring arch-truss form the Wrought Iron Bridge Company of Canton, Ohio. Completed in 1874, the Gilliece Bridge cost $6,969.47.

In its extensive dealings with the Wrought Iron Bridge Company, Winneshiek County was simply following a regional trend. In the 1870s, the Ohio-based bridge company became one of the largest fabricators in America, and its president, David Hammond, one of the country's most prolific bridge innovators. The counties and municipalities of Iowa were among WIBCo's best customers. Winneshiek County's almost exclusive relationship with WIBCo was atypical but the Ohio giant was extremely active in the region at this time.

Winneshiek County continued to deal almost exclusively with WIBCos throughout the remainder of the 1870s, erecting several more bowstrings at rural crossings of the Turkey and Upper Iowa Rivers. All but two of these have since been removed. (A third bowstring--the Freeport Bridge--has been moved from its abutments and now is located in a small park in Decorah.) The Gilliece Bridge is historically significant for its association with early county transportation. It is technologically important as a well-preserved example of what was once a mainstay structural type in Iowa - the wrought iron bowstring arch-truss [adapted from Crow-Dolby and Fraser 1992].

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes


This bridge is tagged with the following special condition(s): Keystone Columns

Divider

Photo Galleries and Videos: Gilliece Bridge

 
View Photo Gallery
2009 Bridge Photo-Documentation
Original / Full Size Photos
A collection of overview and detail photos. This gallery offers photos in the highest available resolution and file size in a touch-friendly popup viewer. Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer
View Photo Gallery
2009 Bridge Photo-Documentation
Mobile Optimized Photos
A collection of overview and detail photos. This gallery features data-friendly, fast-loading photos in a touch-friendly popup viewer. Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer
View Photo Gallery
2013 Bridge Photo-Documentation
Original / Full Size Photos
A collection of overview and detail photos. This gallery offers photos in the highest available resolution and file size in a touch-friendly popup viewer. Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer
View Photo Gallery
2013 Bridge Photo-Documentation
Mobile Optimized Photos
A collection of overview and detail photos. This gallery features data-friendly, fast-loading photos in a touch-friendly popup viewer. Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer
View Video
CarCam: Northbound Crossing
Full Motion Video
Note: The downloadable high quality version of this video (available on the video page) is well worth the download since it offers excellent 1080 HD detail and is vastly more impressive than the compressed streaming video. Streaming video of the bridge. Also includes a higher quality downloadable video for greater clarity or offline viewing.
View Video
CarCam: Southbound Crossing
Full Motion Video
Note: The downloadable high quality version of this video (available on the video page) is well worth the download since it offers excellent 1080 HD detail and is vastly more impressive than the compressed streaming video. Streaming video of the bridge. Also includes a higher quality downloadable video for greater clarity or offline viewing.
View Video
Northbound Crossing With Sound
Full Motion Video
Streaming video of the bridge. Also includes a higher quality downloadable video for greater clarity or offline viewing.

Divider

Maps and Links: Gilliece Bridge

This historic bridge has been demolished. This map is shown for reference purposes only.

Coordinates (Latitude, Longitude):

View Bridge Location In:

Bridgehunter.com: View listed bridges within a half mile of this bridge.

Bridgehunter.com: View listed bridges within 10 miles of this bridge.

Google Maps

Google Streetview (If Available)

Bing Maps

OpenStreetMap

Apple Maps (Via DuckDuckGo Search)

Apple Maps (Apple devices only)

MapQuest

HERE We Go Maps

ACME Mapper

Waze Map

Android: Open Location In Your Map or GPS App

Flickr Gallery (Find Nearby Photos)

Wikimedia Commons (Find Nearby Photos)

Directions Via Sygic For Android

Directions Via Sygic For iOS and Android Dolphin Browser

USGS National Map (United States Only)

Historical USGS Topo Maps (United States Only)

CalTopo Maps (United States Only)


Divider
 
Home Top

Divider

About - Contact

© Copyright 2003-2021, HistoricBridges.org. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer: HistoricBridges.org is a volunteer group of private citizens. HistoricBridges.org is NOT a government agency, does not represent or work with any governmental agencies, nor is it in any way associated with any government agency or any non-profit organization. While we strive for accuracy in our factual content, HistoricBridges.org offers no guarantee of accuracy. Information is provided "as is" without warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied. Information could include technical inaccuracies or errors of omission. Opinions and commentary are the opinions of the respective HistoricBridges.org member who made them and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone else, including any outside photographers whose images may appear on the page in which the commentary appears. HistoricBridges.org does not bear any responsibility for any consequences resulting from the use of this or any other HistoricBridges.org information. Owners and users of bridges have the responsibility of correctly following all applicable laws, rules, and regulations, regardless of any HistoricBridges.org information.

Admin Login

Divider