Iowa Heritage Digital Collections
State Library of Iowa

Mill - Motor Mill and bridge 1970


Mill - Motor Mill and bridge 1970


Motor Mill is located on the Turkey River six miles down stream from Elkader. This six story structure stands approximately fifty feet wide, sixty feet long and over ninety feet high with walls that are five feet thick at the bottom, tapering to two feet at the top. The huge limestone blocks were quarried and transported by cable car from the bluffs above the mill. The mill, built by John Thompson, displays the handiwork of four skilled German masons from Communia. Each wall was constructed by a different mason who was trying to outdo the other masons. Three sides were laid with carefully chipped rounded stone while the fourth, the intake side, was laid with perfectly square cut stone. No two sides are alike. All beams were pegged in and not one nail was used in construction. The wheels and burrs were imported from Italy. A Pin Connected Pratt Through Truss steal bridge was built at Motor in 1895. The bridge had two 95 foot spans with a 16 foot wide wood deck. In June of 1991 flood waters destroyed the south span. The span was not replaced due to low traffic counts and the historic nature of the bridge. The north span was then destroyed by the flood of 2008. More up to date pictures of Motor Mill can be found at . More information on Motor Mill can be found at or


Roggman, Arnold
Garnavillo Public Library - AR Collection


Arnold Roggman photo collection




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Roggman 606 photo

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Garnavillo Public Library - AR Collection

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Garnavillo Public Library - AR Collection

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