Film Photography

The Twyckenham Drive bridge in South Bend

Twyckenham St. bridge

Unless you kayak to work, it’s unusual to get to look at a bridge from underneath. But the Twyckenham Drive bridge in South Bend includes spans over not only the St. Joseph River, but bordering Northside Boulevard as well.

Twyckenham St. bridge

Built in 1929, this four-span open-spandrel concrete-arch bridge is one of South Bend’s many lovely bridges. Since I last photographed it, it underwent a restoration to replace the deck, repair piers and beams, and replace an aluminum railing with a period-correct concrete railing.

Twyckenham St. bridge

I was in town with my Minolta SR-T 101, on which was mounted a 50mm f/1.7 MC Rokkor-PF lens and in which was loaded Ferrania P30 Alpha film. I walked under the arches on Northside Boulevard and tried to find some interesting perspectives.

Twyckenham St. bridge

As you can see, the Twyckenham Drive bridge’s arches are interesting underneath because of their design. A solid arch would not offer so much to see.

Twyckenham St. bridge

I think I need more practice here. There have got to be some truly lovely patterns in this design. I just didn’t fully find them. But I enjoyed trying.

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Grand Trunk

Grand Trunk Western
Minolta SR-T 101, 50mm f/1.7 MC Rokkor-PF
Ferrania P30 Alpha
2018

I figured out how to read largely on my own starting at age 3. As we’d ride around in the car I’d read aloud the big signs. Mom said that the first one I read was the BUS sign at the Greyhound station.

I remember reading this one, too. The Grand Trunk Western railroad passes through my hometown of South Bend not far from the neighborhood where I grew up. Two bridges over city streets have the GTW name painted on them. I still love to see them.

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Film Photography

single frame: Grand Trunk Western

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Road Trips

Shepard Bridge

Back in 2008 I shot some video as I drove the older Ripley County alignment of the Michigan Road and crossed the Shepard Bridge. The video is shaky as I shot it handheld, but it gives a pretty good flavor of this alignment. This alignment is as close as you’re going to get to experiencing the Michigan Road of old.

Crossing the Shepard Bridge

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History, Road Trips

The Shepard Bridge on the Michigan Road

As you follow the old Michigan Road just as it passes into Ripley County from the south, you’ll encounter this one-lane stone-arch bridge. Built in 1913, it’s known by many names: Shepard Bridge, or Nobles Ford Bridge, or County Bridge #38.

Shepard Bridge

The view was unobstructed on a visit I made here ten years ago:

Stone bridge, Michigan Road

ShepardBridgeMap

Image and map data © 2018 Google

This bridge is in a fascinating place, marked on the map with the orange star.

To its west is the vast Jefferson Proving Ground. The U.S. Army took the land, displacing many farms and towns, in 1941 to build this munitions-testing ground. The Army blew up ammunition and bombs here! The majority of it no longer serves that purpose and is today a wildlife refuge.

To its east is US 421. The Michigan Road’s oldest alignment follows the road labeled Old Michigan Road. But with the rise of the automobile in the early 20th century, the Michigan Road became an early auto trail. So that it could pass through bustling Versailles and Osgood, the auto trail was routed along what is now US 421 from here about 22 miles north to the little town of Napoleon. The two alignments come back together there.

This rerouting happened after the Shepard Bridge was built. It had the effect of saving it from eventual demolition. If this alignment had become US 421, this bridge would have been replaced with a bridge designed to handle modern highway traffic.

Shepard Bridge

It was unusual for a stone-arch bridge to be built in 1913. The stone-arch era is heavily consigned to the 19th century. By the early 20th century, bridges of iron, steel, and reinforced concrete had become much more common.

Shepard Bridge

Ripley County is unusually rich in stone-arch bridges, with at least 12 still open to vehicular traffic. A few of them are inside Jefferson Proving Ground and thus carry limited traffic. The ones for which I’m able to find data were built after 1880. The Shepard Bridge is the newest of them.

Shepard Bridge

The Michigan Road borders Jefferson Proving Ground here. You can see a bit of the chain-link fence that surrounds JPG just over the rise in the bridge deck.

Shepard Bridge

This bridge has had some work done on it that appears intended to stabilize it. On an autumn day in 2008, after a long drought, I drove by and noticed the creek was dry. So I walked under the bridge to have a look. The stones appear to be in no more than fair condition. I imagine the brown stuff is some sort of cement intended to keep stones in place.

Stone bridge

Concrete was poured where the arches meet the creek bed — on Oct. 1, 1997, as you can see. I’m sure this stabilizes the bridge a little.

Stone bridge

The concrete is poured such that the upstream end forms a point, so that debris is more likely to flow around and not get hung up. This 2008 photo shows it:

Stone bridge, Michigan Road

With the destruction of the Middletown Bridge in Shelby County, this is the last stone-arch bridge on the Michigan Road. I know of a large stone culvert on this alignment just south of Napoleon, as well.

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History, Road Trips

The bridges that carried the National Road and US 40 over the White River in Indianapolis

Today it carries only pedestrians in White River State Park in Indianapolis. But this seven-span concrete-arch bridge was built in 1916 to carry the National Road across the White River. It was the latest of several bridges that carried the National Road and US 40 here.

Former US 40 bridge

It opened a year before Indiana formed the State Highway Commission, which would become the Indiana Department of Transportation. In 1917 that body formed a small network of highways out of existing major roads. The National Road was one, bearing the name “Main Market Highway No. 3,” or, later, State Road 3. In 1926, with the creation of the national highway system, it became US 40.

And so it remained until the mid-1980s, when a new bridge was built to the south and US 40 was routed onto it. The old bridge and the land on either side of it would become White River State Park. The first park attraction was the Indianapolis Zoo, which opened west of the bridge in 1988. The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art opened next, in 1989. An IMAX theater followed in 1996, and the Indiana State Museum in 2002. The NCAA relocated its headquarters to the park in 1999. These two map excerpts, courtesy MapIndy, show the area before (in 1979) and after (in 2017).

US40IndyWhiteRiver1979US40IndyWhiteRiver2017

Here’s a view of the park from the JW Marriott hotel, which abuts it. The 1916 bridge is at far left, and the NCAA complex at right. But notice the tree-lined walking path that borders the NCAA buildings? Remarkably, it is the original alignment of the National Road.

White River State Park

Here’s a ground-level view that shows it.

NCAA

This 1852 map of Indianapolis, part of a larger Indiana map I found at the Library of Congress, shows this alignment clearly. It’s always less expensive to build and maintain a bridge built perpendicular to a river’s banks, and that’s almost certainly why the road angles slightly north here.

1852 Indianapolis map - Library of Congress

The bridge here was a wooden covered bridge. The only images I can find of it are drawings; this is the best of them, from History of Indianapolis and Marion County, Indiana, by B. R. Sulgrove, published 1884 (available here).

WhiteRiverNRCoveredBridgeIndy

Remarkably, I find later maps showing two bridges here, one on the original alignment and one on the later. Below are two snippets of maps of this site, the first from an 1889 atlas and the second from 1903 by Rand McNally. I wonder whether the upper bridge carried westbound traffic and the lower bridge eastbound.

WashingtonStWhiteRiver-1889AtlasWashingtonStWhiteRiver-1903RandMcNally

But I was puzzled. It is well known that the Great Flood of 1913 destroyed the bridge here — and some resources say it was the wooden covered bridge. But photographs from the day of the flood show a deck-truss bridge (a bridge with metal trusses below the bridge floor) — and only a deck-truss bridge. A second bridge, if it existed, would have been so close to this one it certainly would have made it into some of the photos! Here’s one photo of that bridge, taken an hour before it collapsed in that flood. Image courtesy The Indiana Album, Barbara Stevens Collection (viewable here).

WhiteRiverNRBridge1913

So I asked the fabulous Indiana Transportation History group on Facebook. The founder, Richard McLelland Simpson, found this article from the June 29, 1901, issue of The Indianapolis News, which shines some light.

IndianapolisNews29Jun1901

This doesn’t look like the bridge that was eventually built, which the group thinks opened in 1904. But the article does confirm the existence of two bridges, and a plan for this new bridge to replace them both.

The 1916 bridge has clearly been the hardy one, standing firmly for more than 100 years.

Former US 40 bridge

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1859 General Dean Suspension Bridge

1859 General Dean Suspension Bridge
Kodak EasyShare Z730
2009

You don’t expect to come upon a suspension bridge over a river in middle America. But nevertheless, here this one is.

It’s in Carlyle, Illinois, about 50 miles east of St. Louis. It’s a block north of US 50 on Carlyle’s east side. It carried vehicular traffic through sometime during the 1930s. I wouldn’t be surprised if this bridge was on US 50’s original alignment here.

Today, it’s a pedestrian bridge.

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Photography, Preservation, Road Trips

single frame: 1859 General Dean Suspension Bridge

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