Road Trips

On the Dandy Trail in Indianapolis: Abandoned bridge in what is now Eagle Creek Park

Along what was the Dandy Trail in what is now Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis, you will find an abandoned bridge. It’s hard to reach on foot. Jayson Rigsby recently contacted me to say he made photographs of it on a recent kayaking trip along Eagle Creek.

The Dandy Trail was a 1920s pleasure-drive loop in what was then the country surrounding Indianapolis. I’ve written many times about the Dandy Trail and have driven about half of it; read all about it here. Since the Dandy Trail’s heyday, Indianapolis expanded greatly, and now most of the land around the old Dandy Trail has been heavily developed.

Eagle Creek cuts across northwest Indianapolis and intersects the Dandy Trail near where the town of Traders Point used to be. Read Traders Point’s story here. In short, frequent flooding of Eagle Creek in this area led to a flood-control project in 1967 that created Eagle Creek Reservoir, which led to the creation of an enormous city park surrounding it. It also led to the demolition of almost every building in Traders Point, as it was thought the flood-control work would permanently flood the town. That didn’t happen and Traders Point was destroyed in vain.

Here’s an aerial image of Eagle Creek Park. I’ve pointed out the bridge’s location, and have roughly drawn in the now lost portion of the Dandy Trail. The lost road’s north end empties out into what was Traders Point.

2021 aerial image courtesy MapIndy

Zooming in for a closer look, you can clearly see the bridge. It’s at about the vertical center, and a little left of horizontal center.

2021 aerial image courtesy MapIndy

It’s interesting to me that no trace remains of the Dandy Trail as it led to and away from this bridge. Here’s an aerial image from 1956 that shows the bridge and the road.

1956 aerial image courtesy MapIndy

Jayson first made this image of the bridge from the air, from just west of the bridge.

Jayson Rigsby photo

Then he got into his kayak and rowed in for a closer look. This is the north end and west side of the bridge. This bridge appears to have a pony girder truss design. The Central States Bridge Company of Indianapolis specialized in those, so this bridge might be one of theirs.

Jayson Rigsby photo

Here’s a closer look at the north end of the bridge.

Jayson Rigsby photo

This is the west side of the bridge.

Jayson Rigsby photo

I have heard that at some times of the year this bridge is submerged. I’m happy Jayson kayaked out to this bridge and gave me permission to share his photos.

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7 thoughts on “On the Dandy Trail in Indianapolis: Abandoned bridge in what is now Eagle Creek Park

  1. Forrest Johnson says:

    I’ve seen this bridge and walked on it when the water was lower. I was geocaching and someone had placed one there.

      • Jayson Rigsby says:

        If the water is high you have to go by boat, which is a bit of a paddle. I’d say it’s probably about a mile one way.
        There is still remnants of the road along the west side. Some of it is overgrown but you can get to it from a variety of areas: the bear parking lot, and the starling parking lot on the north side (this one is a bit tougher though).

  2. That is an amazing “find”: to think there once was a road there on land that is now unnavigable even by foot … Usually roads leave an obvious flat trace even after centuries of being abandoned!

    • Yes! I’m amazed that the aerials show no trace of the old road. I’m very curious to go there and see what traces might remain on the ground that the aerial images aren’t capturing.

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