Matsell Bridge

Also known as: Wapsie Bridge, Matt's Bridge
Natsell Park Rd. over Wapsipinicon R., Springville, Iowa

Reportedly haunted, the bridge is a through Plate girder bridge built by the ISHC in 1939, the longest such span in Iowa


West Elevation Panorama

"The Matsell Bridge is a steel plate girder crossing the Wapsipinicon River two miles north of Viola in eastern Linn County. This structure replaced a substantial earlier bridge consisting of a 100-foot through truss, a 140-foot bowstring truss, a 50-foot pony truss and a 12-foot approach span that the county built between 1870 and 1906.

"This through plate girder replaced the previous assemblage at a considerable savings over a potential two-span through truss." ~Iowa Department of Transportation

Photo taken by J.R. Manning in April 2013



Street View 


There is a local legend that says a school bus loaded with children, stalled on the bridge and was struck by a semi truck. All the passengers were thrown into the river and perished. Witnesses claim that if you stop in the middle of the bridge, shut off the engine and wait, the spirits will push your vehicle across the bridge. Reports of disembodied footsteps and voices in the woods have also been made.

Skeptics tell us the bridge is on a slight incline, and if you stop your vehicle in the middle and put it in neutral, gravity will pull your car down the incline.

You be the judge.

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on May 15, 1998
Reference number
Architectural style
Other architectural type; continuous plate through gir
Area of significance
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
C - Design/Construction
Property type
Historic function
Current function
Period of significance
Significant years
1938; 1939

Update Log 

  • August 22, 2014: Photo imported by Dave King
  • April 7, 2013: Updated by J.R. Manning: Added to "Haunted" category
  • April 6, 2013: Updated by J.R. Manning: Added overview and photographs
  • April 6, 2013: New photos from J.R. Manning