It’s always a good day when I get to drive across the Astronaut David Wolf Bridge!

It is the last steel truss bridge in Marion County (Indianapolis), Indiana, and it’s named after one of Indy’s most famous sons, Astronaut David Wolf. And I love to drive over it!

David Wolf

The Astronaut. David Wolf was born and raised in Indianapolis, got his undergraduate degree at Purdue University, and earned a medical degree from Indiana University. He then became a flight surgeon in the United States Air Force. Soon he joined the Johnson Space Center in Houston and later the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where was selected to become an astronaut. He’s since spent more than 168 days in space.

True story: My ex was a photographer in the Indiana Air National Guard when I met her, and had a framed, autographed head shot of David Wolf. The inscription read something like, “To the best photographer I know.” She took the photograph! (That’s not her photograph at right.)

The Bridge. It is a two-span riveted Parker through truss bridge with Warren pony approach trusses on either end. The Indiana State Highway Commission built it in 1941 to carry State Road 100; back then, this was way out in the sticks. But since then the city sprawled out this far, and later the state relinquished the road and the bridge to the city. Remarkably, the city has stepped up to maintain this bridge (it hasn’t with other former highway bridges, such as this one). When it widened the road to four lanes in the late 1980s, it built a new neighboring bridge to carry westbound traffic and routed eastbound traffic over the old trusses. The city carefully restored this bridge in 2008. It carries more than 40,000 cars across the White River every day!

Because this bridge is so long (547.8 feet) and is tightly hemmed in by strip malls on all sides, it is difficult to photograph. I’ve never found a place to stand were I can fit the whole thing inside my lens. Here’s the western Parker truss.

The Astronaut David Wolf Bridge
Also known as the 82nd Street Bridge

The Drive. This bridge and I both live in the same township, and it’s between me and major shopping, so I’m out this way frequently enough. It always lifts my spirits to drive over it. I love watching it come into view and then experiencing the truss shadows as I drive through them. Here, experience it with me!

Is it silly of me that every time I drive over this great bridge, I exclaim, “It’s always a good day when I get to drive across the Astronaut David Wolf Bridge!”? Never mind, don’t tell me. I’m cool with being silly.

I love truss bridges. They’re art in steel.


15 responses to “It’s always a good day when I get to drive across the Astronaut David Wolf Bridge!”

  1. Tori Nelson Avatar

    Love that driving over that bridge makes you happy. Simple pleasures, right?

    1. Jim Avatar

      No doubt about it!

  2. ryoko861 Avatar

    It’s your “feel good” bridge! A lucky charm!

    1. Jim Avatar

      Any truss bridge makes me feel good – but this is one I can get to any day of the week!

  3. pesoto74 Avatar

    I think driving over that bridge would make me feel good also. Hopefully being a named bridge will help in its long-term preservation.

    1. Jim Avatar

      The city has certainly positioned it well, and they did a superb restoration in 2008.

  4. davidvanilla Avatar

    Nice drive! I used to use that bridge when it was part of SR 100.

    1. Jim Avatar

      I imagine the surroundings were a bit more rural then!

      1. davidvanilla Avatar

        A whole lot more so. At that time the population of Fishers was just over 900.

  5. Fitwellmom Avatar

    I love that you appreciate the things that lots of people don’t pay mind to. It’s these things that enrich life. You made me laugh when you described what you exclaim when you cross :) For me, it’s the bridge from Washington into Oregon. It’s a long one stretching across the Columbia River. I absolutely love it!

    1. Jim Avatar

      I’ve “learned to see,” if you will, in my late 30s and into my 40s. It’s really cool to notice all the things I never did before. Oregon has many wonderful bridges that I’d love to see one day.

  6. kiwiskan Avatar

    Reminds me of the approach to the Auckland Harbour Bridge – built in the same style. You can see it on my post ‘The Road South’

    1. Jim Avatar

      The Harbour Bridge is massive! It dwarfs the David Wolf bridge.

  7. zorgor Avatar

    Simple pleasures Jim. How many times have I driven over that bridge and failed to appreciate it? On the other hand, I thoroughly enjoyed the cup of coffee I made this afternoon. :) Always did think it was cool when they renamed it for David Wolf though. He was one of the first Americans to spend time on Mir. Anyway, the point is that those who think such things silly, do not know how to enjoy simple pleasures. :)

    1. Jim Avatar

      I figured you’d get me!

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