This bridge is an example of one of the rarest truss bridge types in the country, the Kingpost truss bridge, despite the fact that Winneshiek County happens to have three known examples, with one in private ownership. The Kingpost truss bridge is the simplest possible truss form, always consisting of only two panels, two endposts, no top chord, and a single vertical member, resulting in a triangular-shaped truss.
The Kingpost is a bridge type that was once a common bridge type used for short crossings but is today extremely rare due to attrition. Extremely few examples of this bridge type remain because small bridges are less expensive to replace and thus many have been lost, and also because the use of kingposts died out quickly as the truss bridge era progressed in the late 19th and early 20th century because the iron/steel mills were soon able to easily and inexpensively roll beams large enough to easily span the 30-40 foot distances as a stringer/multi-beam bridge. Due to their design, Kingpost truss bridges were only suitable for these small spans.
Noteworthy for its excellent historic integrity due to a lack of alteration, the Happy Hollow Bridge features a riveted connection at the top of the vertical member, with pinned connections at the bottom chord, making the bridge further noteworthy as a truss bridge displaying multiple types of connections. The bridge was closed in 2008 due to floods which damaged the abutments. The truss itself remains in decent condition. Original railings are missing from the bridge, and in fact there are currently no railings of any kind on the bridge.
All surviving Kingpost truss bridges in the country should be preserved without question, because not only are they rare, their small size means that restoration is inexpensive, simple, and if needed the bridge can be relocated with very little effort. The Happy Hollow Road Bridge is no exception, and indeed in Summer 2010, this bridge will be relocated to the Decorah loop bike trail south of Decorah.
Information and Findings From Iowa's Historic Bridge Inventory
Discussion of Bridge
This short-span crossing of Ten Mile Creek is
located some five miles northwest of Decorah in central Winneshiek
County. County records do not refer specifically to this kingpost pony
truss, but it appears to have been built circa 1895, probably by the
R.D. Wheaton Bridge Company of Chicago, which supplied several kingpost
trusses to the county at that time. Consisting of a kingpost pony truss
with rigid-connected upper chords and pinned lowers, the structure is
supported by stone abutments. Since its completion, the Ten Mile Creek
Bridge has continued to carry intermittent traffic in its picturesque
setting, while retaining an exceptional degree of structural integrity.
Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes
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