Goldfield Rail Bridge

Deck Plate Girder Bridge over Boone River
Goldfield, Wright County, Iowa

Click the Photo Above to See All Photos of This Bridge!
Name Goldfield Rail Bridge
Built By Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad
Contractor Unknown
Currently Owned By Union Pacific Railroad
Length 202 Feet Total, 60 Foot Main Spans
Width 1 Track
Height Above Ground 10 Feet (Estimated)
Superstructure Type Deck Plate Girder and I-Beam
Substructure Type Stone Masonry and Concrete
Date Built Ca. 1905, Approach Rebuilt Ca. 1980
Traffic Count 2 Trains/Day (Estimated)
Current Status In Use
UP Bridge Number 0.66
Significance Local Significance
Documentation Date January 2019
In 1873, the Burlington, Cedar Rapids & Northern Railway began building a branch line from their existing mainline at Vinton, Iowa to Traer.
The line would be extended in 1877 to Holland, 25 miles past Traer.

In 1880, the Cedar Rapids, Iowa Falls & Northwestern Railway began building from Holland to Iowa Falls, another 26 miles.
They continued and reached Clarion the same year.
1881 saw the 58 mile expansion from Clarion to Emmetsburg, and 1882 an additional 50 miles from Emmetsburg to Lake Park, via Estherville.

Lake Park was the terminus of this line, although other branches extended, including one towards Watertown, South Dakota.

The Cedar Rapids, Iowa Falls & Northern would be sold to the Burlington, Cedar Rapids & Northern in 1902.

The BCR&N would in turn be sold to the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific (Rock Island) in 1903.

The Rock Island was one of the main railroads in Iowa, and their empire nearly doubled after the acquisition of the BCR&N.

However, the Rock Island became a poor railroad by the 1970s. By 1980, the Rock Island would be forced to abandoned their entire empire in Iowa, and liquidate as part of their bankruptcy deal.

This line became chopped up significantly. The Sibley to Lake Park to Estherville segment was purchased by Iowa Northwestern Railway, which would eventually abandoned in 2005.

The Chicago & North Western Railway purchased 3 segments:
Estherville to Goldfield
Clarion to Dows
and Iowa Falls to Alden

The Iowa Northern Railway, who purchased the entire mainline from Cedar Rapids to Manly also purchased the Vinton to Dysart segment, which would be abandoned in 2003.

The C&NW was purchased by Union Pacific in 1995, who now owns the remaining three segments as their Dows and Alden Industrial Leads, as well as their Estherville Subdivision. Portions of the route in Grundy County are known as the Pioneer Trail.

Located in the town of Goldfield, this large deck girder bridge crosses the Boone River.
Although the date carving on the west side of the structure gives a date of 1890, it appears that the girders are actually newer. The author estimates that these were built approximately 1905, and the west approach appears to have been added around 1980.
Currently, the bridge has three deck girder spans, set onto stone and concrete substructures. In addition, a single beam span approaches on the west end of the bridge.
Overall, the bridge appears to be in good condition, with little major deterioration. Unfortunately, a build date for the bridge may be difficult to come by.

The author has ranked this bridge as being locally significant, due to the common design.
The photo above is an overview.

Boone River Railroad Bridges
Upstream UP Boone River Bridge (Renwick)
Downstream Eagle Grove Trail Bridge


Source Type


Build Date Estimated
Railroad Line History Source ICC Valuation Information, Compiled by Richard S. Steele

Widget is loading comments...

© Copyright 2010- John Marvig and Contributors. All Rights Reserved