Lower Road Bridge

Buffalo Rd. over branch of Wapsipinicon R., Anamosa, Iowa

King Bridge Company, 2-Span, Bowstring Truss Bridge


Overview Looking West

The bridge is on private property and is clearly marked as such.

Photo taken by J.R. Manning in September 2012




Description from Historic Bridges of Iowa website: Located northeast of Anamosa on what was known historically as the Lower Road, this two-span iron bridge spans a branch of the Wapsipinicon River. The structure is comprised of two bowstring arch-trusses, one through and one pony, supported by massive stone masornly pier and abutments. The bridge was fabricated and erected here in 1878 by the King Iron Bridge and Manufacturing Company of Cleveland, using a King patented tubular arch configuration. Now abandoned by the county and used to provide access to a private farm field, the Lower Bridge remains in place in essentially unaltered condition. The bowstring arch-truss was the iron span of choice for Iowa counties in the late 1860s and 1870s. Marketed exclusively throughout the Midwest by such Ohio-based industry giants as the Wrought Iron Bridge Company, the King Iron Bridge Company and the Massillon Bridge Company, these often-patented bridge configurations featured a wide range of span lengths, economical fabrication cost and relatively quick erection. The proliferation of the bowstring corresponded with the initial development of Iowa's road system, and as a result, perhaps thousands of these prototypical iron spans were erected throughout the state. The bowstring had some rather severe structural flaws, however, relating primarily to lateral stability of the arches, and it was largely superseded by the pin-connected truss in the early 1880s. Despite this, some bowstrings were still erected in Iowa in the 1880s, although the number dwindled precipitously by the decade's end. Through subsequent attrition, almost all of Iowa's bowstrings have since been replaced and demolished. Because of its excellent state of preservation, the Lower Road Bridge is an outstanding early transportation-related resource [adapted from Hybben, Roise, and Fraser 1992]

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on May 15, 1998
Reference number
Architectural style
Other architectural type; bowstring through arch truss
Area of significance
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
C - Design/Construction
Property type
Historic function
Period of significance
Significant year

Update Log 

  • September 2, 2014: Photos imported by Dave King
  • September 9, 2012: Updated by J.R. Manning: Corrected GPS Coordinates, added a description and photos



Lower Road Bridge
Posted April 10, 2016, by sam iam (bighistory [at] gmail [dot] com)

Across Buffalo Creek, not the Wapsipinicon river.