The Hogback Bridge, as well as the Holliwell, Roseman and original Cedar bridges, were all built in the early 1880s by Madison County under crew foreman Harvey P. Jones with George K. Foster in charge of the structure work. These four bridges are all built using the Town Truss design, designed and patented by Ithiel Town. The design uses a lattice of crisscrossing planks to support two parallel beams on each side of the bridge. This allows the bridge to be built without requiring large stone abutments or heavy main beam timbers. In addition, it allows the bridge to be maintained and repaired over time by replacing individual planks rather than replacement of large timbers.
While most of the covered bridges were named after the family who lived the closest to the bridge, the Hogback Bridge is named after a geographical feature. The ridge line at the west end of the valley is formed from two overlapping types of rock that erode at different rates, forming a structure known as a hogback.
Tourists visiting the Hogback Bridge on the afternoon of September 6, 2003, found the bridge to be on fire. They were able to put out the flames before the bridge became engulfed, and damage was limited to a one square foot area of the structure. Two days earlier, another historic covered bridge in Delta, Iowa, was destroyed by arson on the one year anniversary of the arson fire that destroyed the nearby Cedar Bridge in Madison County. It is possible that all of these fires were set by the same person. The arsonist(s) have never been caught despite large rewards being offered. This bridge, as well as the other five remaining bridges, are monitored 24 hours per day by video camera and alarm systems.
The photo above is looking upstream towards the south face of the Hogback Bridge. The vantage point is the deck of the new bridge over North River on Hogback Bridge Road. The photo below is looking northeast towards the west end of the Hogback Bridge from the parking area on the west side of the river.