Iowa Transportation History Quiz II: The Bridges Of Iowa

Chambers Ford Bridge over the Iowa River in Tama County. Photo taken by Quinn Phelan


In the run-up to the fifth annual Historic Bridge Weekend taking place next weekend beginning Friday the 9th in Preston, Minnesota, the Bridgehunter’s Chronicles is providing readers with a pair of quizzes pertaining to Iowa’s transportation history, designed to expand their knowledge of transportation. The second of two parts is a multiple choice quiz dealing with Iowa’s historic bridges, the engineers that left their mark in the state and the types that were first experimented for use on the highways.  Answers will be given on 28 August here in the Chronicles, but if you want to know more about these bridges, check out the Historic Bridge Weekend for more details. Good luck! 🙂

The Kate Shelley Viaduct, located in Boone was named after a girl who was famous for this heroic deed?
She stopped a train from falling into a flooded creek
She rescued the brakeman and engineer from the train that had fallen into a flooded creek
Both of the above
Neither nor- She became president of the Chicago and Northwestern Railways.

Where was the first railroad bridge built over the Mississippi River located?
Quad Cities

Which of the following Iowa communities did NOT have a bridge building company
Des Moines

The Melan Arch Bridge, located in Rock Rapids, was the first of its kind to be built using reinforced steel rods. Its designer and inventor Josef Melan originated from which European country?
Bohemia (now Czech Republic)
Prussia (now part of Germany)


Photo taken in August 2009

Zenas King, who built many bridges in Iowa under the name King Bridge Company in the 1880s and 90s had a son, George, who started his own bridge building business in which Iowa community?
Council Bluffs
Des Moines

Which bridge type was not developed and experimented in Iowa?
Kellogg Truss
Thacher Truss
Marsh Arch
Pratt truss

Iowa was the first state in the country and the first in the world to invent and construct this bridge type?
Bowstring arch bridge made of steel
Steel girder bridge made of aluminum
Parker truss bridge made of metal
Marsh arch bridge using recycled concrete

Edwin Thacher patented the first Thacher truss bridge, a bridge with an A-frame in the center panel, in 1884, and the first bridge of its kind was built where?
Lake Park


Photo courtesy of Luke Harden

Which Iowa river has the most number of steel railroad viaducts in the state
Big Sioux River
Little Sioux River
Skunk River
Des Moines River


Kate Shelley Viaduct west of Boone. Example of a railroad viaduct. Photo taken in September 2010

Which Iowa bridge builder later made a career as a school board president?
A.H. Austin
Lawrence Johnson
George E. King
James Marsh