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This bridge was the first structure in Milford Twp to be added to the National Register of Historical Places, in March of 1978. By that time the original plague from the bridge had been stolen. This picture is looking upstream with trails on either side of the South Skunk River with the one on the east side, right, being the one most used. The Bear Creek crossing is about 3/4 mile up the trail. Soper's Mill Bridge was built in the summer of 1876, probably at a cost of about $1500.00 and washed out during the flood on 17 June 1996. This photo is from Farwell Brown collection and taken from the new bridge in the fall of 1951.

It could be said this bridge had its origin in the June 1867 meeting of the Story County Board of Supervisors meeting when they allotted $500 for the construction of a bridge across the Skunk River at Soper's Mill. This allocation had an unusual stipulation in that the “citizens” would have to, by “meaningful pledges”, raise an equal amount. Of the four or five projects approved that meeting, this was the only bridge project which contained that provision. Apparently, this demand fell short as a couple years later the Board approved $1000 for the construction of a bridge at Soper's Mill with Peter Marshall, T. K. Soper, and James Dood (Dodd?) to superintend the construction. Final construction of the bridge wasn't until 1876.

Left: Out for a beautiful Sunday drive with a beautiful car in 1914 on a beautiful bridge. Farwell Brown collection. Notice the footpath going under the bridge. This trail was washed out years ago and now the trail begins at the parking lot atop the far abutment. Compare this view with the one taken 16 or 17 years earlier on page 50. Note the return of the vegetation.

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© 2012 Mark Christian
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