"An 'historical site'" Sutliff by leics

Sutliff Travel Guide: 1 reviews and 5 photos

I came across a sign to Sutliff 'historical site' on my long, meandering drive through the countryside surrounding Iowa City. An historical site? Well, of course I had to follow the sign and see what I could see.

What I saw was a rather elegant metal 3-arched bridge spanning the Cedar River. It's being restored at the moment, having been damaged in the very bad floods of 2008, so I couldn't get across it. But there are some lovely views up and down the river from the banks and, had I had time, a walk would have been good. But I didn't have time.

There was nothing on site to explain why the bridge mattered so I've had to do a bit of online research to find out why this place is on the National Registry of Historic Places.

This is what the bridge website....http://www.sutliffbridge.com/... says:

>The massive iron bridge was constructed in 1898 at the crossing of Sutliff's ferry, operated by Allan C. Sutliff. History has it that a sandbar formed in the river which eventually made the ferry unworkable. This caused a great deal of inconvenience for locals who would then have to travel many miles to the next crossing in order to get to the county seat in Iowa city.

In 1897 the contract for the bridge was awarded to J.R. Sheely & Co. of Des Moines, Iowa. The winning bid was a whopping $12,000. The bridge was completed and accepted by Johnson county in April of 1898, with dedication on June 3rd.

This was the first bridge to cross the Cedar at this location and proved an effective replacement of the Ferry service. The structure is a 827'x16'8" span wood trestle with a 27'x16' east approach. Upon its retirement in 1981, it was one of only a few remaining Parker trusses known in existence in Iowa.

So there we go. It is certainly a very pleasant little spot and, if you happen to be driving around in the area, one which you might like to visit. There's a 'tavern' on site, open from 8am - 10pm....somewhere for lunch, perhaps?

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Nice bridge, nice river.
  • Cons:Suspect it may be a busy spot at certain times.
  • In a nutshell:Old Bridge over the Cedar River.
  • Last visit to Sutliff: Aug 2012
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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