Work on a stone arch bridge in Decorah’s Dunning’s Spring Park will conclude next week for the winter, but will resume next spring. Above, master stone mason Ted Wilson of Decorah on the job last week. (Photo by Sarah Strandberg)
Work on a stone arch bridge in Decorah’s Dunning’s Spring Park will conclude next week for the winter, but will resume next spring. Above, master stone mason Ted Wilson of Decorah on the job last week. (Photo by Sarah Strandberg)
Work on a stone arch bridge, similar to the one that was located over Dunning’s Spring 100 years ago, will continue this spring.
It will replace a failing structure in the park.
Earlier this year, the Decorah Park-Rec Board decided from a historical perspective it would be better to replace the pedestrian bridge with something closer to the original one, according to Park-Rec Director Andy Nimrod.

Quandahl Construction of Decorah has the $75,195 contract for the project. Master stone mason Ted Wilson of Decorah is the subcontractor. Donations from DECO Products Company of Decorah and the Chris and Rhonda Storlie family, as well as proceeds from the Parks and Recreation fund, are paying for the new bridge.
A substantial amount of rock from the former East Side School foundation is being utilized in the structure. Work will be suspended for the winter next week and resume in the spring.

History
According to a chronology of Dunning’s Spring compiled for a sign located in the park, William Painter constructed a grist mill on the site in 1849. He designed a copper turbine-type wheel, believed to be one of the first of its type in the country.
In 1851, the mill was sold to Eli Dunning and operated as a grist mill. An advertisement in the March 10, 1859 Decorah Gazette said the Mill did “flour, meal, custom work guaranteed.”
The long fall of Dunning’s Spring produced so much power that Dunning was said to have had a wheel specially made for his mill that was believed to have been the smallest wheel ever made.
By 1870, the mill ceased grist milling and was equipped for sawing rock quarried just east of the Dunning’s Spring area.
In 1899, the Mill building and land were purchased by J.O. Vold, who used the building as a barn until it was torn down a short time later. In 1946, Fred Beirmann purchased the land and donated it to the city for use as a park.