McIntyre Bridge Benefits From End of Year Giving PDF Print E-mail

Monday, January 20, 2011··FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Please Contact: Julie Bowers   641-260-1260   This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

GRINNELL, Iowa End of year donations by two longtime Poweshiek County families and the McIntyre Bridge’s primary benefactors pushed the bowstring financial prospects for a rehabilitation plan into 2011. Two of Montezuma’s founding family’s generously contributed to The N. Skunk River Greenbelt Association (NSRGA), specifically to the rehabilitation of the bowstring bridge which spanned the N. Skunk River at Millgrove Access Wildlife Area.

Brownell’s President Pete Brownell and his father Frank Brownell contributed another $5,000 to the project, the first donation in June as NSRGA was trying to fund the “big bridge lift” and at the end of 2010 to help finalize payment to BACH Structural Steel, Holt, Michigan, for the salvage of the bridge from the river. Brownell would very much like to see the public access at Millgrove be enhanced for water traffic; putting the bridge back into place furthers the abilities of everyone to move around in that acreage. Local paddlers currently utilize the Lynnville Access at Wagaman Mill with a somewhat difficult out at Robertson Access in Mahaska County, so Millgrove provides another opportunity a few miles upstream for a stop.

The McFarlin family of Montezuma provided another $10,000 donation to the bowstring bridge rehabiltation and reset. Marilyn Taylor Jordan noted that it gave her great pleasure to provide this second donation in addition to the $20,000 that enabled NSRGA to begin, and was very hopeful that our efforts this year lead to the restoration of a memorable and special landmark, NSRGA President R.V. (Dick) Bowers of Montezuma added that her generous offer early in the spring helped us become a non-profit and aided us in fundraising, and now we can move on to the engineers rehabilitation plan as the next step to the important efforts to save this wonderful piece of history. The Perry McFarlin family were early 1850’s settlers in New Sharon, to the west of the Skunk River. As with the Bowers, five generations of McFarlins have used the bridge for travel and, especially in the later generations, for recreation and celebrations with extended family and friends. Perry McFarlin’s grandson Clyde became a school teacher and then an attorney in Montezuma, where in the early 1900’s he was a founder of Montezuma’s Telephone Company, for which he and his son Norman were stewards until the home-owned company was sold to Iowa Telecom in 2005. Generations of McFarlins are buried in the Stewart Cemetery.

The bridge is currently stored in Holt, Michigan while fundraising efforts continue. The board of NSRGA will meet to discuss how to proceed with procuring the engineer’s rehabilitation plan, noting that there is a potential grant from the Landes Fund that comes due March 1st that could be matched by these cash donations and the importance of the cash donations to historic preservation grant-writing opportunities down the road. Donations may be made to NSRGA at PO Box 332, Grinnell, Iowa 50112. Donations can also be made online at


McIntyre Bridge retains Historic Place Status on National Register PDF Print E-mail


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                                                                

Contact: Julie Bowers  Monday, December 27, 2010                              641-260-1260   This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

McIntyre Bridge Remains on Historic Register

GRINNELL, Iowa On December 20, 2010 the State Historical Society of Iowa (SHPO) reviewed the status of the McIntyre (McDowell) Bridge in Poweshiek County and determined that it was eligible to stay on the National Register of Historic Places and that a formal request for an amendment to change the name can now be completed by The N. Skunk River Greenbelt Association (NSRGA) currently the owner of the bridge.

The bridge was listed on the National Register in 1998, but was swept off her piers by flooding in August of 2010. NSRGA then contracted with BACH Structural Steel of Holt, Michigan to recover the bridge. With twelve years of experience in restoring historic truss bridges, owner Nels Raynor was able to utilize his knowledge of the historic preservation requirements when taking the parts of the bridge out of the river, evaluating where every piece comes apart and recovering much of the bridge’s original fabric.

A study completed by Marlin Ingalls, University of Iowa professor and technical advisor to SHPO in December 2010, utilized the parts inventory generated by Julie Bowers, with pictures and descriptions of the parts laid out in Michigan that documented surviving parts of the bridge, ie: the top chord of the bow, the eye-bars that created the string and the bulk of the lateral bracing rods and vertical cruciform post that can’t be used. Those parts, combined with the four original piers which were undamaged during the flooding, were the reasons that Ingalls was able to assess that 95% of the bridge remains for restoration purposes. The Board Review by Paula Mohr, Architectural Historian and Ralph Christian, Historian, both with SHPO concurs that the bridge retains sufficient integrity to remain eligible for the National Register.

Retention on the National Register makes this structure eligible for grant possibilities through the SHPO and other national historic preservation societies. A formal request for an amendment is now being generated to change the name of the bridge from McDowell to McIntyre and to grant permission for this historic structure to remain in Michigan until restoration is complete and and we see the bridge returned to N. Skunk River at Millgrove Access. Currently, emergency funds in the form of an HDRP grant are being sought to start the engineering process and to protect the piers, architecturally significant in themselves.

The bridge is currently stored in Holt, Michigan while fundraising efforts continue. An estimate of $125,000 has been received which covers engineering, restoration and resetting  the bowstring over the N. Skunk River. Donations may be made to NSRGA at PO Box 332, Grinnell, Iowa 50112. Donations can also be made online at


News Release PDF Print E-mail

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                                                                          Contact: Julie Bowers Monday,

December 20, 2010                                                                                              641-260-1262 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Workin’ Bridges Launched To Help Rehabilitate Historic Bridges

GRINNELL, Iowa & HOLT, Mich Finding and restoring historic iron and steel truss bridges across America is the goal of Workin’ Bridges, a new collaboration launched today between the non-profit N. Skunk River Greenbelt Association (NSRGA) of Grinnell, Iowa and BACH Ornamental and Structural Steel (BACH) of Holt, Mich. “This affiliation with BACH enables us do a bridge analysis, create bids and do the work, essentially turning historic bridge restoration into a construction project,” said Bowers, executive director of NSRGA and Working Bridges design/build manager.

The partnership follows a yearlong research project spearheaded by NSRGA. ”The process made me realize that our group needed “Workin’ Bridges” last year, and it wasn’t available,” said Bowers. “We had to start from scratch to save the McIntyre Bridge, a 120’ bowstring iron bridge manufactured by King Iron Bridge Co., Cleveland, Ohio in 1883. It came by train, was erected over the N. Skunk River in Iowa, stood for 127 years, and was scheduled for demolition by the County after suffering ice damage in 2009. We couldn’t get information in time to act on our “at risk” bridge.” BACH stepped in for the extraction of the bridge from river after flooding in August, 2010 and now we own a bridge and have an estimate for repair and restoration that we can use in future grant writing.

NSRGA brings to the table the plans, the tools and expertise to restore truss bridges by generating expert, detailed estimates and schedules for repair and restoration, while adhering to the Secretary of Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation of Historic Structures. As a non-profit NSRGA is able to offer a variety of methods in working with alternative funding sources.

“Restoring bridges has been one of my passions for the last twelve years and I’ve been looking for a way to save more bridges so this affiliation with Workin’ Bridges is promising. Julie learned a lot over the last year and has proved her tenacity in working through the problem solving,” said Nels Raynor, owner of BACH. With more than 30 years experience as an owner/operator of the steel fabrication company, Raynor is a leading expert in the U.S. in hot riveting, and holds MiDOT certifications in welding. The McIntyre bowstring bridge is currently his 9th historic bridge restoration.

This collaboration is a first where the craftsman is part of the design/build solution. Workin’ Bridges is determined to provide solutions for all steps of the process including rehabilitation, restoration or alternative uses. It is truly a one-stop shop for all groups, including individuals, organizations, counties, states and municipalities committed to saving historic bridges from the scrap heap. We can work with the Adopt-A-Bridge program in any state to help find reuses for historic bridges and then do the heavy lifting.

For more information, visit or


Board of Directors PDF Print E-mail

Diane Eakins - President

Josh Sadler - Vice President

Heather McFadden - Secretary/Treasurer

R.V. Bowers 

Julie Bowers - Executive Director

Current Status of the Bridge PDF Print E-mail

The McIntyre Bridge sits in pieces in the yard at the farm in Grinnell, Iowa. 

<< Start < Prev 1 2 3 4 Next > End >>

Page 3 of 4