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Forestville Bridge

Forestville Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth and Rick McOmber

Bridge Documented: June 30, 2009

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
CR-118 and CR-12 Over South Branch Root River
Forestville: Fillmore County, Minnesota: United States
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1899 By Builder/Contractor: Gillette-Herzog Manufacturing Company of Minneapolis, Minnesota

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
97 Feet (29.6 Meters)
Structure Length
101 Feet (30.8 Meters)
Roadway Width
15.1 Feet (4.6 Meters)
1 Main Span(s)
NBI Number

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

This bridge, the second oldest known bridge in Fillmore County, is a beautiful structure with ornate portal cresting present as well as a portal-mounted builder plaque. It is historically significant on a local level for its association with the historic Forestville town (part of the Forestville / Mystery Cave State Park), as well as on a statewide level as an example of a bridge built by a regional Minnesota bridge company. The historic integrity of the bridge is good, including the retention of its decorative portal cresting and plaque

The six panel structure is configured as follows: Portal bracing: A-frame composed of riveted angles. Bottom chord: up-set eyebars. End post: back-to-back channels with cover plate and battens. Top chord: back-to-back channels with cover plate and battens. Sway bracing: Two pairs of riveted angles with v-lacing riveted between each pair. Vertical members: back-to-back channels with v-lacing riveted to each side. Hip verticals: loop-forged eyebars. Diagonal members: loop-forged eyebars. Floor beams: Original beams replaced with historically incorrect modern wide flange beams. Railing: original pole railing line remains above modern Armco style guardrail below. Deck: wooden.

The bridge is a critical part of the living history exhibit of historic Forestville, an open-air museum that features this bridge, and several buildings that composed the Forestville community, which at the time of the bridge's construction was a small town that had suffered from loss of population and was run exclusively by a man named Thomas Meighen, the centerpiece being his Meighen Store.

The bridge had remained in vehicular use, but was closed to all but non-motorized traffic, and has continued to function as a non-motorized crossing ever since.  The National Bridge Inventory lists the substructure (abutments) as being in very bad shape on this bridge, with the truss itself being in much better shape. Preservation work for this bridge should include repair of the abutment. The truss superstructure itself appears to be sufficient for non-motorized use. This bridge is far too important, beautiful, and appropriate for its location to be allowed to succumb to a failing abutment.


Photo Galleries and Videos: Forestville Bridge

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