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‘A nice, quiet place’

Rainbow Bridge gets upgrade in Rockwell City

-Submitted photo
Rainbow Bridge Park in Rockwell City features a rock with historic information on it and a picnic table for visitors to sit. The bridge was built in 1915. It was closed to traffic in 1981.

ROCKWELL CITY — A bridge that leads to nowhere in Rockwell City has been transformed into a destination for area residents.

Thanks to the efforts of Rockwell City Revitalization, the Rainbow Bridge has been cleaned up and enhanced with new gravel, a picnic table and a large rock with the history of the bridge enscribed on it.

“We started thinking about what we could do (with the bridge) about 10 years ago,” said Joan Wagner, a member of Rockwell City Revitalization. “It was in the background for a long time and it finally came together.”

The bridge, which is about 60 feet long, took on a new appearance during the summer.

The bridge was built in 1915 by the Iowa Bridge Company of Des Moines at a cost of $4,107.65. It was designed by James Barney Marsh.

-Submitted photo
This rock on Rainbow Bridge was donated by Anderson Construction, of Rockwell City.

“There are two rainbow bridges in Calhoun County,” Wagner said. “The Rockwell City one is a one-arch. Lake City has three.”

Eventually as the size of trucks increased, the bridge was no longer considered an effective route. It was closed in 1981.

Eleven of Marsh’s bridges remain in the state of Iowa.

After its closure, ownership of the bridge went to adjoining property owners in the county. Those owners have since donated it back to Calhoun County.

Today, visitors can enter the bridge from the east. On the other side of the bridge, on the west side, is a fenced in property.

-Submitted photo
This aerial image shows Rainbow Bridge to the south in April 2020. Rockwell City Revitalization with help from Calhoun County and other donors have since cleaned up the bridge, transforming it into a public park.

Rockwell City Revitalization is credited with cleaning up the site with help from local Boy Scouts and Calhoun County.

White rock for the driveway and signs were also added by the Revitalization group.

A commemorative rock was donated by Anderson Construction, of Rockwell City.

The family of Margaret Feld donated a picnic table.

“There is a turnaround so you can drive down to the bridge right off of historic Highway 20,” Wagner said.

-Submitted photo The family of Margaret Feld donated this picnic table for visitors to sit on while hanging out on Rainbow Park Bridge in Rockwell City.

The bridge is south of 270th Street on the east end of Rockwell City.

She said people come to the bridge to fish or hang out. The bridge crosses a stream, Wagner said.

“It’s a nice, quiet spot to gather and we wanted to preserve the history of the bridge,” Wagner said.

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