Garnavillo Township Bridge

County road over unnamed stream, Garnavillo, Iowa


Oh, Rats...Too Late...But Wait!

What is that under that modern, zero romance, Utilitarian Concrete Eyesore Bridge?

Photo taken by J.R. Manning in July 2012




At the turn of the century, Clayton County contracted with a variety of firms and individuals to build bridges across the county's myriad streams and ditches. For longer-span crossings (often across the Turkey River) the county opted for iron or steel trusses, whereas at shorter crossings, rudimentary timber stringer structures were often erected. For some crossings, though, the county took advantage of the area's limestone quarries and erected arch bridges built of stone. Constructed by numerous local stone masons, these crossings have maintained a higher degree of structural integrity than either their timber or steel stringer counterparts. The most notable of Clayton County's stone arches is Byrne and Blake's 189-foot Keystone Bridge, built over the Turkey River at Elkader in 1888-89. Typical of these bridges is the stone arch Garnavillo Township Bridge, located some two miles west of Garnavillo. The bridge was built in 1902 by A.C. Boyle and Company of McGregor, Iowa, who likely obtained the stone from either the Motor Quarry near Motor Mill or Coles Quarry near Elkader. Using sixty-five cords of stone, Boyle constructed the crossing for a total cost of $1462.72. Today, this bridge is one of seven stone arches which carry traffic on Clayton County's roadways. As a group, they exhibit an exceptionally high degree of craftsmanship and historic integrity [adapted from Fraser 1991].

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on June 25, 1998
Reference number
Architectural style
Other architectural type; Stone arch
Area of significance
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Evaluation criteria
C - Design/Construction
Property type
Historic function
Current function
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Significant year