Historic Places to See
Blood Run Site

The Blood Run Site is an archaeological site on the border of Iowa and South Dakota. The site was essentially populated for 8,500 years, within which earthworks structures were built by the Oneota Culture and occupied descendant tribes such as the Ioway, Otoe, Missouri, and shared with Quapaw and later Kansa, Osage, Omaha (who were both Omaha and Ponca at the time) people.

Blood Run was mapped in the early 18th century by French voyageurs trading with the village, which was then populated largely by Omaha people, but other cultures shared the area, about 480 mounds existed and a population of 10,000 Native people was documented in the corresponding census. In the late 19th century, 176 mounds were still visible. Today 78 mounds still exist, mostly burial. In 1987 the State of Iowa acquired a prominent portion of the site for a state park.

Klondike Bridge

Located on the outskirts of the small town of Klondike, this long-span through truss crosses the Big Sioux River on the border between Lyon County, Iowa, and Lincoln County, South Dakota. The Klondike Bridge is comprised of a concrete-decked Pratt through truss, with Warren pony truss approach spans on both ends. Concrete abutments and piers support the three trusses. The first bridge was built here in 1901, but as traffic on this regionally important crossing increased over the succeeding years, that structure eventually proved inadequate.

In August 1913, the Lyon County Board of Supervisors contracted with the Western Bridge and Construction Company of Omaha, which had built virtually all of the county's trusses for a number of years, to fabricate and erect a replacement structure here. Western began excavating of the concrete substructure soon thereafter and, using steel rolled by the Cambria mills in Pittsburgh, erected the three-span truss later that year. For the pony trusses, Western used the newly developed design standard of the Iowa State Highway Commission. ISHC had not yet engineered a standard for the 160-foot through truss, however, and for this Western apparently used a truss of its own design, featuring both pinned and riveted connections.

The structure itself was completed late in 1914, its fills early in 1915. Since its completion, the Klondike Bridge carried interstate traffic in unaltered condition until recently, when it was superseded by another crossing and is now closed to vehicular traffic. Before the standardization of bridge design in 1913, the individual counties were left to their own devices for bridge construction. Some of the more prosperous counties could afford a full-time staff engineer or could hire consulting engineers for their bridge design but most relied on the bridge companies that bid competitively for bridge construction projects.

The Iowa State Legislature changed this process radically when it passed the Brockway Act in the spring of 1913, requiring the counties to use ISHC standards and effectively eliminating the design-build role of the regional and state bridge companies. The proliferation of standard plans occurred quickly in 1913 and 1914, so that the transition period was actually quite brief. In a few cases, though, in which no standard plans yet existed and ISHC did no produce special designs, non-standard structures were approved for construction.

This is the case with the Klondike Bridge. Built using both standard and non-standard designs, the Klondike Bridge is historically significant for its representation of this brief transitional period in Iowa highway bridge construction. It is also significant for its role as an important interstate crossing. In well-preserved condition, the Klondike Bridge is an important resource form the formative period of Iowa's highway system.  The bridge is located on 80th St. over Big Sioux R. near Larchwood.

Klondike Mill

Little remains of the Klondike Mill except an old stone wall and a few artifacts from the historical structure. It is located on the Iowa side of the dam where a bridge spans the Big Sioux River, just beneath the public access parking area.

The Klondike Mill is often referred to as the “Kruger Mill” after German-born Christian Kruger who came to the US in 1851. Kruger moved to the Larchwood area in 1883 and built the large flour mill at the former town of Klondike. When he left the area a few years later his sons August and Lou operated the mill until 1922 when it was sold to J.H. Rowe & Son of Canton, South Dakota.

The Klondike Mill was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2003, and given the #75000696. Its historic significance is listed as “Event” and the area of significance is “Agriculture and Industry.” The period recorded is 1875-1899. Its historic function is industry/processing/extraction, a manufacturing facility. It is no longer in use, but visitors will enjoy envisioning the role this mill played in the history of this area.  The Mill is located on 180th Street in Larchwood.

Charles B. Reynolds Round Barn

The Charles B. Reynolds Round Barn is an historical structure located near Doon in rural Lyon County, Iowa. It was built in 1924 and has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1999. The building is a true round barn and features white horizontal siding, a two-pitch sectional roof and an octagon louvered cupola.  The address of the barn is 2382 Harrison Ave., Doon, Iowa.






Melan Bridge

Constructed in 1894, the Melan Arch Bridge marks the first experiment in using the innovative concrete-steel system developed by Austrian Josef Melan. At the urging of a Midwestern contractor, Frederick von Emperger, Melan's representative in America, designed a 30 foot concrete arch reinforced with structural steel to span a seasonal stream outside of the small town of Rock Rapds in Northwest Iowa.

Although von Emperger's specifications called for 4" I-beams, bent to the elliptical shape of the arch and spaced at 3' intervals, local legend holds that the contractor reinforced the structure with railroad rails to spare expense.



Von Emperger went on to designing several more arches in the United Stats, all with dimensions more impressive than this first modest venture. However, the Rock Rapids bridge remains his most significant work, and the Melan system he introduced there, was adopted widely during the first part of the Twentieth Century for the highway brdges and pedestrian spans.

The bridge is located East of Rock Rapids in Emma Sater Park.