Three Bridges offers a glimpse of Marshall County history

Contributed photos — The Suspension bridge first built in 1975 found in Three Bridges Park in Marshall County.

There is a beautiful serenity to nature, and that serenity can be found at Three Bridges County Park.  

The Marshall County parks and parks in general allow for a person to relax and indulge in the magnificent stillness, but natural urgency of the wilderness.

“The clearest way into the universe is through a forest wilderness,” said John Muir, a naturalist and advocate of the National Parks movement, who died in 1914.

All around Marshall County are singular pieces of wilderness, each unique in its flora and fauna.

One of the oldest established Marshall County parks is Three Bridges, found down a gravel road from LeGrand, a city just more than one square mile in size. There’s no sign in the town of any particular business and in the middle there is an old church.

The Quarry Bridge found at Three Bridges Park in Marshall County which was added to the National Registery of Historical Places in 1998.

According to the U.S. Census data there are at least 933 people living in LeGrand.

Three Bridges was first acquired in 1960 from Everett and Ruth Clover,  Cecil and Helen Benson, Leonard and Gladys Schied, Leland M. Hall, Kenneth and Neva Hall,  Olaf and Effie Lupardus, Emil and Ehtel Larson and Fern E. Vokoun, according to Mike Stegmann, Marshall County Conservation director.

Its name comes from the three bridges on the land, including a rope bridge, a stone bridge and a wood and steel quarry bridge found on its 13 acres of land.

The county bought the land for $3,000 and gave the county access to the Iowa River for fishing.

Prior to being purchased the park was Marshall County’s first rock quarry.

A view of the rock bluff found in Three Bridges Park in Marshall County.

“The rock that adorns the current Marshall County Courthouse was mined at Three Bridges,” according to the parks’ brochure. “Also present at this park is the foundation from an early grist mill on the north edge of the park area.”

In July 1976 the county authorized the purchase of $1,500 for a suspension bridge. Also in 1976 a boat ramp was added.

The rope bridge is one the park’s most interesting features. Nestled up a stairway at the crest of a bluff rising over the Iowa River.

It was a Youth Conservation Corps project in 1975 and refurbished in 2005.  

If people take the time to stop and enjoy the view from the middle of the suspension bridge they would notice the tops of trees and the fast moving bridge some 100 feet under them.

A view of the Iowa River from Three Bridges Park in Marshall County.

They might also notice very few birds, as many of them have made their nest in a field close to or on the private land found on the other side of the river.

The parks’ quarry bridge was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in May 1998.

“Built in 1885 the Quarry Bridge was constructed out of wrought and cast iron and cost Marshall County $3,295,” according to the parks’ brochure.

Three bridges park offers a variety of activities for visitors including hiking trails, bird watching, fishing and picnics, Stegmann said.

Patient bird enthusiasts can see bald eagles, wood ducks, Canadian Geese and other myriad types of birds.

The park is open from 5:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. all year round.


Contact Thomas Nelson at (641)753-6611 or tnelson@timesrepublican.com


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