Circa 1935 photograph looking east or downstream on the Cedar River at the former Fox Drive bridge, an iron-truss crossing that spanned the river from 1931 to 1961 when locals removed it to build a new entrance into downtown Austin. This effort led to a new river channel being cut into Austin Mill Pond and the old, horseshoe-shaped bend being filled and developed over.

LOOKBACK: Secondhand bridge crossed old bend of Cedar for 3 decades

Narrow crossing once part of Austin’s state park but removed to create new entry to downtown when Interstate 90 opened

Just before the iron-truss bridge, a pickup truck stopped in December 1952 to allow a bus to go through the narrow crossing over the Cedar River in Austin’s state park.

1930s photo colorized
Colorized 1954 aerial of Austin Mill Pond showing the old Fox Drive bridge crossing.
Undated photo of what likely was the bridge relocated to Austin in 1931 when it was over the Root River’s north branch south of Chatfield. (Photo courtesy of the Fillmore County Historical Society)
Undated photo of what likely was the bridge relocated to Austin in 1931 from this site south of Chatfield over the North Branch of the Root River. (Photo courtesy of the Fillmore County Historical Society)
1899 map showing the Austin Mill Pond area although it had more islands than shown here.
1920s image of Horace Austin State Park’s footbridge that was replaced in 1931 by a vehicle bridge.
Nov. 14, 1931, photo in the Herald of the iron bridge being reassembled over the Cedar River in Austin after being moved from south of Chatfield over the Root River’s north branch.
1938 aerial of Austin Mill Pond with a yellow circle highlighting the iron-truss bridge’s location over the Cedar River.
Feb. 22, 1954, photo in the Herald of the sidewalk addition to the iron bridge over the Cedar.
1930s image of the iron-truss bridge at Horace Austin State Park looking east at Austin Mill Pond.
1930s image looking north on Main Street into Horace Austin State Park toward the iron bridge.
1940s or 1950s postcard of Austin’s swimming pool with the iron bridge in the background.

· Move the new bridge’s 55 feet to the east of the iron bridge to line up the new Fox Drive with North Main Street and keep in place the Cedar River’s horseshoe-shaped bend into Austin Mill Pond.

· Straighten the road by filling the Cedar’s old “horseshoe swing” and place the new bridge about 400 feet east of the iron bridge over a newly cut channel into Austin Mill Pond.

City leaders in February 1960 approved a design for the new Fox Drive bridge along with the plan to rechannel the Cedar River and fill the “horseshoe swing” of the Cedar west and north of Fox Drive, the Herald wrote Feb. 6, 1960.

Herald photos of the new bridge’s construction on Oct. 11, 1961.
Nov. 9, 1961, headline in the Austin Daily Herald about the bridge and river changes.
Nov. 25, 1961, photos in the Austin Daily Herald of the new and old channels of the Cedar River along with the old and new bridges.
1962 aerial image (colorized) showing the Cedar River’s old and new channels flowing into Austin Mill Pond prior to the old bend being filled in.
January 1962 photo of the iron bridge being dismantled in the Herald.
Mid-1960s aerial image (colorized) of Austin Mill Pond still in transition to the new channel.
1968 aerial of Austin Mill Pond with the former bridge location circled.
Preset-day view of where the iron bridge used to cross the Cedar.
1951 vs. present-day aerial image overlay showing the old path of the Cedar River and other areas changed in the 1960s west and north of Austin Mill Pond.

Formed in 2007, CRWD works to reduce flooding and improve water quality on the Cedar River State Water Trail and its tributaries in southern Minnesota.