Bridge Hunter


John Marvig, 15, is determined to preserve history. While Bridge Hunter  many children his age focus on the future most of them are. Chaska High School’s freshman bridgehunter Chaska is turning his passion for railroad bridges into an online visual archive of the region’s holdings.

Marvig bridge hunter explained that “the railroad built these cities

Marvig first noticed the railroad bridge hunter just east of Carver. In 2009, he also photographed it as the first bridge hunter.

Marvig has collected 24 images of the bridge since then — some he took, others he borrowed from fellow railroad bridge hunters and historical photos — all which he now shares on his website.

Marvig also took photographs of the Carver bridge. He has also documented its length, height and type. Marvig also provides a history of the bridge and notes on its demise, right down to when the demolition Shisui crew destroyed the piers.

It is a lot of work. Marvig estimates that he spends most of his time working on it. But, it’s all for the good cause. He said, “I feel the satisfaction knowing that I’m helping future generations.”

John is wise beyond his years, meticulous in gathering facts and researching them. He shares the past and present by combining historical photos with photos of railroad bridges and ruins today on a website. John von Walter, Carver historian, said that it will be fascinating to see this young man’s journey over the next few years.

Passion bridge hunter

Marvig was inspired to photograph the Carver bridge and quickly became hungry for more. He began to photograph every railroad bridge hunter that he could access.

He said, “It just kept growing.”

Marvig has set a goal to compile a complete directory of all the bridges in the region. He has so far listed about 500 bridges in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa.

He is particularly fond of bridges that have interesting stories and architectural details. His vocabulary includes words like “truss”, “girder”, and other related terms.

Marvig was able to capture some unique bridges with his digital SLR camera, including a bridgehunter crossing the Chippewa River that boasts the only quintuple intersection Truss in the world and the Kate Shelley bridges across the Des Moines River in central Iowa. Named after a young girl, the Kate Shelley bridges were built to protect a train carrying 200 passengers from collapsing under a bridge in Moingona six miles downstream.

Hobby bridge hunter

Marvig doesn’t plan to lose his love for railroad bridges anytime soon. However, he does admit that there are likely to be a few family members who have had enough of bridge talk.

  • He said, “I’ve probably pushed myself with my mom,” “And my sister hates it.”
  • Dad is willing to drive Marvig to his preferred bridge location in order to take his photos.