All five regular readers of my blog know how much I love to find an old bridge. That’s because stone arch, concrete arch, covered, and iron and steel truss bridges so often have real character, something that modern bridges generally lack.
Every time I pass through Putnam County, Indiana, I find a bridge that I really enjoy, so I decided I’d spend a whole day bridgehunting there. I picked up my friend Dawn on the way, because she likes a road trip as much as I do. In a packed day, we saw 11 iron and steel truss bridges, five wooden covered bridges, and one lonely concrete arch bridge – 17 bridges in all. This is way more bridges than I can show you in a single post, so I’ll show the best iron and steel bridges today and the best covered bridges next time.
I thought we’d see a lot of steel bridges painted green, since that seems to be Indiana’s standard color for them, but this turned out to be the only one. It was also the only one with a steel deck, which makes a neat zippy sound when you drive over it.
Notice my friend Dawn standing on the right near this bridge’s two massive trusses meet. Without her in the photo, you might be fooled that this is a little bridge on a one-lane road.
The most cheerful bridge of the day was the Hibbs Ford Bridge, restored in 2006 to celebrate its 100th birthday.
The Houck Iron Bridge was closed to traffic, hence the grass growing on the deck. Built in 1920, the Houck Iron Bridge seems to be a latecomer among iron bridges. Among surviving truss bridges I’ve seen, iron was more common in the 19th century and steel in the 20th. (UPDATE 9 April 2011: This bridge is to be moved to Delphi, IN, for reuse.)
Crow’s Bridge was probably the least ornate truss bridge of the day. It’s so plain I’m not going to bother showing it! This photo shows one of the bridge’s abutments with the construction foreman’s name in relief. He carved his name backwards into a plank before it went into the abutment’s formwork. After the concrete dried and the formwork was removed, his name was destined to endure.
In case you haven’t figured it out yet, rust was the most common bridge color of the day. This is the McCoy Road bridge.
And this is the Dicks Road Bridge. This style of wooden deck was typical of the iron and steel bridges we saw.
If you’d like to see more photos from the day, or find out where any of these bridges are located so you can find them yourself, click any photo to go to my Flickr space.