This bridge is a rare example of a Whipple truss bridge in Iowa. With a large lattice portal bracing and attractive built-up beams, this is a beautiful bridge that also has significant technological significance. In addition, it is historically significant as the last remaining remnant of the long lost town of West Auburn. The bridge retains good historic integrity. The bridge is seated on caissons, also known as lally columns.
This bridge has been bypassed by a new bridge and left standing for its historic an aesthetic value. Either from removed approach spans or washed out dirt, the bridge has a drop off at the west end, and is only approachable from the east. Iowa's practice of abandoning historic bridges next to their replacement is an excellent one, since it retains the historic bridge, even if preservation money for a full restoration or relocation and reuse is not possible at the current time. The good news is, in its current state, the bridge can continue to exist as an abandoned historic landmark, or if money and interest developed it could be restored in place or in a new location to serve a functional purpose. Leaving a bridge standing keeps the history and possibilities alive, while also preventing the pointless spending of taxpayer dollars on the cost of demolition. Some states like Pennsylvania refuse to leave historic bridges standing next to replacements, and insist on wasting taxpayer dollars on the demolition of historic bridges that are not in the way of their replacement bridge. Iowa proves that it is possible to leave these bridges standing, and puts states like Pennsylvania to shame.
Information and Findings From Iowa's Historic Bridge Inventory
Discussion of Bridge
In June 1880 the Fayette County Board of Supervisors
advertised for a contractor to build the stone substructure for a bridge
over the Turkey River in Auburn Township. The structure was called the
West Auburn Bridge to differentiate it from another township structure
in the area. In September the county solicited proposals for the
bridge's superstructure, awarding a contract to design, fabricate and
erect the 165-foot all-iron span to Minneapolis engineer Horace E.
Horton. Horton completed the West Auburn Bridge in 1881 for a total cost
of $7,598.79. Since that time the structure has functioned in place, in
essentially unaltered condition.
Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes
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