The 1878 bridge is one of the most visited
spots in the park. Itís the place to come if you enjoy a beautiful
view, the sound of rippling water, or just the quiet of nature. The
mill and the bridge are both on the National Register of Historic
Itís more than a rusty old bridge on a
quiet stream. Prior to the construction of the bridge residents had to ford
Pine Creek at a crossing south of the mill or travel far to the north to cross
the creek. The lack of a bridge not only hindered travel for the residents of
the township, it also badly hindered access to the mill.
The residents of the area and mill owner
Hermann Huchendorf petitioned the Muscatine County Supervisors in 1877
requesting that a bridge be built over Pine Creek at the site of the mill. This
was the same year that Huchendorf and his partner Beesley expanded and
modernized Pine Mills. It is easy to imagine how much Huchendorf looked forward
to increased business from the farmers that lived across Pine Creek once the new
bridge was in place.
The bridge the county purchased is a
single span pinned Pratt truss type, a very common bridge design of the era.
The design had a great advantage as it lent itself to modular ďkitĒ
construction. A county engineer could order the bridge he needed right of the
supplierís catalog choosing from dozens of standard designs. The bridge would
be delivered by rail and simply bolted together at the site. Before the end of
1878 the new bridge was in place and in use.
These old Pratt truss bridges are
surprisingly tough. Built of rust resistant wrought iron Pine Millís bridge is
stronger than its rusty appearance looks. If you look close you will see that
some of the bridgeís beams on the upstream side are bent. This damage occurred
in 1990 when trees floating down the creek during a flash flood struck the
Today the bridge is
perfect spot to view the mill, dam and creek. It also gives the public access
to the small sand beach in the millís tail water pond. Every summer on hot days
you will see visitors playing in the pond and sunning themselves on the beach
while others relax on the benches on the old bridge.