This is a spectacular and early example of a Wrought Iron Bridge Company Whipple truss bridge, a design they preferred for long spans. The bridge (as of 2021) remained open to vehicular traffic yet it also stands out for its lack of alteration. It even includes the original fishbelly floorbeams with cast iron star decorations on the ends. It is an outstanding example of its kind.
Information and Findings From Iowa's Historic Bridge Inventory
Discussion of Bridge
This unusual Whipple truss spans the Wapsipinicon River in northern Linn County. It was built in 1879 by the Ohio-based Canton Wrought Iron Bridge Company for $3,400. The timber and stone substructure was constructed by Cloyston and Wood for $1564.72. The bridge is a fairly rare example of a double-intersection Pratt truss, also known as a "Whipple" truss, which was first developed by Squire Whipple, an early American engineer, in 1847. Additional construction documentation for this long-span truss do not exist in county records. Barring a minor replacement, the aesthetically striking Upper Paris Bridge carries intermittent vehicular traffic in its rural setting. The Upper Paris Bridge is distinguished as a well-preserved, large-scale example of a Whipple truss. Basically a Pratt with diagonals that extent over two panels, the Whipple truss was seldom employed for wagon trusses in the state. Few were ever erected and fewer yet remain today. This structure is one of only eight pin-connected Whipple through trusses remaining in Iowa and is the longest of eight. For its exceeding rare use of wrought iron components, its rare truss configuration, and its overall length, the Upper Paris Bridge is a structurally significant wagon crossing in Iowa [adapted from Roise, Hess, and Crow-Dolby 1992].
Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes
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