Let’s return to my October, 2006 road trip in west-central Indiana.

When I lived in Terre Haute in the late 1980s and early 1990s, whenever I wanted to get away for awhile and be alone, I used to drive up into neighboring Parke County, to Bridgeton. The old covered bridge there was a great place to find some peace.

Bridgeton bridge in 1900. Sourced from Wikipedia.

The Bridgeton bridge was built in 1868 and carried traffic until 1967. It’s one of 31 covered bridges in Parke County. Every October the county holds a big festival to its covered bridges, and Bridgeton is one of the most popular stops.

Bridgeton bridge in the 1980s. Adrian Ross photo sourced from bridgehunter.com.

In 2005 an arsonist destroyed the bridge. This page shows photographs of the smoldering remains. Funds were raised and the bridge was rebuilt in time for the 2006 Covered Bridge Festival. This page has some good photos of the bridge under construction.

Because Bridgeton is a place I go to be alone, I avoid it during the Festival as it is packed with people. But the Festival had just ended on the late October day I made this road trip, and so I detoured to see the new bridge. I turned left off US 41 onto a country road and then, just as I did during my Terre Haute years, I drove around until I found the homemade signs pointing to Bridgeton. I’d forgotten how the Bridgeton Road winds for quite some time before abruptly entering the town and just as abruptly coming upon the bridge.

This photo is from Bridgeton Road northbound. Notice how the road is rerouted from the covered bridge to a modern bridge; the covered bridge hasn’t carried anything more than tourist foot traffic since 1967.


The old bridge’s seeming permanence was comforting to me. I was simultaneously sad and excited to see the new bridge — sad to lose an old friend, but excited to see how so many people cared so much to rebuild so quickly, using the same curved Burr arch truss design of the original bridge. On this sunny day, the bridge was bright inside, and construction was visible in detail. The builders did a tremendous job.


The bridge is most often photographed from the north to show the little waterfall.


The neighboring Bridgeton Mill was operating then and, as far as I know, continues to operate.


I felt as though my old friend had never left. Satisfied, I followed that country road north past the 10 O’Clock Line, which marked the boundary of an Indian land sale to the US in 1809, toward Rockville. There I would pick up US 36 and make my way home.

10 O'Clock Line sign

I’d like to say that I visit Bridgeton frequently. I still love visiting, but my time goes to other things. The last time I visited was in 2013 on a date with the woman who would become my wife. Here’s a photo I made of the bridge that day.

Bridgeton bridge

Next: scenes from old alignments of US 36 I encountered on my way home.

I’ve written about Bridgeton before, in more of a memoir form, here.

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17 responses to “The covered bridge at Bridgeton, Indiana”

  1. J P Avatar

    I cannot remember the last time I saw a real covered bridge, so thanks for the tour.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Parke County isn’t that far away — a lovely Sunday drive.

      1. sharon hubble Avatar
        sharon hubble

        You can keep updated on FB at Bridgeton Mill with pictures and videos. They still mill flour for sale. I was born and raised in the Bridgeton area and wouldn’t want to live any place else.

  2. Greg Clawson Avatar
    Greg Clawson

    Jim, I just visited and photographed it in March of this year, It is still a beautiful bridge.
    Thanks for the photos and history of it, and it’s rebuilding. Great story!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I want to go back soon! Maybe my wife and I can find a Saturday to go visit.

  3. Khürt Williams Avatar

    I did not know that Indiana had so many covered bridges. I think we have a few in New Jersey but so far I have seen only one of those. I have read that Vermont has more than 100 covered bridges including the longest two-span covered bridge in the world.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Indiana has enough not-wealthy rural counties that these covered bridges survived longer than they should have. Then someone realized they were to be celebrated and now it takes an act of God to have one removed. It’s kind of cool, really.

  4. Christopher May Avatar
    Christopher May

    Wow, what a nice bridge! I definitely need to take a road trip down this way at some point!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Parke and neighboring Putnam Counties are full of covered bridges. Some of them are still in service!

  5. karenshootsfilm Avatar

    It looks like the one in Beetlejuice.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I had entirely forgotten that there was one in that film!

  6. Marshia Stippich Avatar
    Marshia Stippich

    The original had a carved heart with my initials a plus sign and the initials of the boy that I loved at time in my life along with many others. I cried when I heard about the fire.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      It was deeply emotional for many when the original bridge burned.

  7. Patty Norton Avatar
    Patty Norton

    My husband Bruce Norton and I (Formally Norton’s logging )
    played a micro part in the hand selecting of the timber that was donated By a lot Of Wonderful families around Parke County
    for the lumber donated was then used in the construction of the new bridge that is Standing today
    on the day that they were putting the first part of the new bridge across the creek
    I was interviewed by a reporter for Channel 10 news
    I told the reporter
    That we all stood here just a few months ago in despair
    We were all mourning the death of an old friend Who died of a senseless death and today we rejoicing in the birth of a new friend
    A new friend that we hope is around a for a very very long time !

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I agree: I hope this bridge survives for many generations to enjoy!

  8. Katie Bakrevski Avatar
    Katie Bakrevski

    My uncle designed the new bridge and my father helped orchestrate the construction and donations. When walking through the bridge, look up and you’ll see multiple numbered pegs. Those pegs have the names of everyone that played a part in getting the new bridge up.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Oh how cool is that! Next time I visit I’ll be sure to look.

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