1928 photo of the US 40 bridge over Deer Creek in Putnam County, Indiana

Courtesy, The Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana

Someone posted this image to the National Road group on Facebook and it immediately excited me, because I recognized the scene instantly. This is the 1925 bridge that carries US 40 over Deer Creek just east of Putnamville, Indiana.

This photo is from Frank M. Hohenberger Photograph Collection. Hohenberger lived most of his life in Nashville, Indiana, and made a lot of photographs of his town and the beautiful county that surrounded it. But he also traveled with his camera, including this stop near this newly built bridge in Putnam County. He made this photo in 1928.

Indiana University has placed Hohenberger’s photographs online; see the original of this photo here.

I’ve visited this bridge myself, many times. The scene looks considerably different today. US 40 was rebuilt nearby on a new four-lane alignment between 1939 and 1941. The bridge and concrete road remain, serving a few properties here. Here are some photos I made on a 2009 visit. This first photo is eastbound, as is Hohenberger’s photo.

Old US 40

I leaned way over the side of this bridge to see its arches. I don’t remember for certain, but this might be the north side of the bridge.

Former NR/US 40 alignment

Westbound from the west end of the bridge, here’s the curve in the road you see in the Hohenberger image above. This is the original 1925 concrete.

Former NR/US 40 alignment

Since Hohenberger made his photo here, trees have grown to dominate the scene.

Former NR/US 40 alignment

This 1925 alignment replaced an earlier alignment and bridge. I’ll bet that in Hohenberger’s time you could see the old roadbed clearly. It lay just to the south of this alignment and bridge. Today you can make out the old roadbed when the leaves are off the trees. Here’s a photo I made of it in 2011. I wrote more about this old alignment here.

National Road path

The bridge that used to cross Deer Creek on this alignment still exists and is in use. It was floated upstream and placed on nearby County Road 25. It was built in 1891. I made this photo of it in 2010. I wrote a little more about this bridge here.

Cooper Iron Bridge

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10 responses to “1928 photo of the US 40 bridge over Deer Creek in Putnam County, Indiana”

  1. J P Avatar

    I love these long ago photographs of familiar scenes, that show what has and has not changed.

    I think that may be the photographer’s late (1926-ish) Model T coupe parked at the lower right.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I’d be shocked if that weren’t the photographer’s car. Good on you for being able to ID it from seeing just the rear roof portion of it!

  2. Sam Avatar

    A very nice pic Jim! I don’t know why but I stopped getting email notifications on you but I’m a follower so I really don’t know what happened. Anyway Happy Belated New Year to you and yours!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      If you’d like, I can force unfollow you on my end, and then you can follow again and see if emails resume. Let me know!

      1. Sam Avatar

        It seems like it’s following again and I’m getting emails now so I think we’re good. I’ll let you know if there’s any issues Jim thanks!

  3. Michael Avatar

    It is certainly the north side of the bridge given the moss and lack of sunlight on a bright day. You may need to sharpen your detective skills. ;)

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Oh yes, good point Dash I didn’t even really look closely at the photograph, I was working entirely off memory of the day!

  4. […] 1928 photo of the US 40 bridge over Deer Creek in Putnam County, Indiana — Down the Road […]

  5. Jon franklin Avatar
    Jon franklin

    I enjoy these older bridges. There is an old iron bridge we fished off as teenagers that’s on a closed country road. South of logansport IN.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      It’s fun to find a bridge like that, one you can just be on without worry of traffic.

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