My wife and I were invited to her employer’s annual party, held at the Columbia Club on Monument Circle in Downtown Indianapolis. The Columbia Club is an old-fashioned members club, the kind we can’t afford. But the owners of my wife’s employer can, and they reserved a block of rooms for anyone who wanted to stay the night. We couldn’t turn down the chance.
Our room overlooked Monument Circle. I got out my Canon PowerShot S95 and made a bunch of photos.
We took a brief walk after the party ended. Salesforce Tower is right behind the Columbia Club and was lit like this.
In the morning, I made more photos from our window. It was a gloomy day.
I couldn’t find my Canon PowerShot S95 after Christmas. I took it to my mom’s for the Grey family Christmas celebration but couldn’t find it after that.
It bothered me a lot that I couldn’t find this camera! I thought perhaps I’d left it among Christmas detritus and it had gone into the bin and thus to the landfill. I was forced to think about what camera would replace it. My wife has a Sony RX100 Mark I and it’s brilliant. I supposed I’d just get one of those. But daggone it, I didn’t want to buy a new camera! I like my S95 very much. I know I make a big fuss here about film cameras and film photography. But the truth is, my favorite camera is this ten-year-old compact. It’s very good but not perfect, and many newer cameras outclass it. But I know how to get good results from it. I know this camera.
It rained all through Christmas. When I needed my dress raincoat again in late January, the S95 was in a pocket.
Delighted to have found it, I’ve been shooting it more lately. Margaret had just come from the market with these vegetables, which were on the counter. I put the camera in black-and-white mode just to see how it would render them. (If you’d like to see them in color, click here.)
I’ve known my friend Debbie longer than anyone I am still in contact with — we met when we were in the fifth grade, in 1977. We’ve passed out of each others’ lives a few times, sometimes for many, many years. But when we reconnect we fall right back into our friendship.
She came to visit one overcast summer day in 2011 and since we both like cemeteries I took her to Crown Hill, the sprawling burial ground in northwest Indianapolis. The cemetery lies on both sides of 38th St., a major east-west artery.
This bridge carries 38th St. over a road that connects the two sides of Crown Hill. I’ll bet most drivers on 38th St. don’t know the bridge is there.
While Debbie and I were looking at grave markers here, she noticed this family of deer headed toward us under the bridge. I was able to bring my camera up to capture them before they ran away.
Here’s an oxymoron: “new covered bridge.” Yet here this one is. It was built in 2000 as a replica of an 1832 bridge that once stood here.
You’ll find it just west of Greenup, Illinois on the original alignment of US 40 and the National Road. It spans the Embarras (EM-ba-raw) River. That original covered bridge washed out in 1865. A steel replacement, I believe a Whipple truss, constructed in 1875 washed out in 1912. A girder bridge was completed in 1920 and served until flooding damaged a pier in 1996, rendering the bridge unsafe.
By this time, US 40 had long been rerouted around Greenup to the south. This crossing no longer carried a significant amount of traffic — 225 vehicles a day, at last count. The county got a grant to build this bridge as a tourist attraction.
Indiana is famous for its wooden covered bridges. 98 still stand. Most were built in the mid-to-late 1800s, although some were built into the 1900s, to about 1912. One was built in 2006, after the original was burned in an arson fire. This one, in Roann in Wabash County, was built in 1872.
42 of Indiana’s covered bridges are in Parke and Putnam Counties, which neighbor each other in west central Indiana. You’ll find the rest sprinkled around the state.
The majority are not open to vehicular traffic. This one in Roann is. It creaks and pops as you drive over it, but it holds your car up just fine.
The wooden trusses inside the bridge do the work of managing the load. The wooden sides and roof are there to protect the trusses from the weather, so they last longer.
One bridge was built in 1826, the other in 1932. One guess which is which!
Both bridges carry the National Road/US 40 over Wheeling Creek near Blaine in Belmont County, Ohio. It’s just five miles from the Ohio River, the border with West Virginia.
The lower bridge came first. It’s the oldest standing bridge in Ohio, and is the longest of the few remaining S bridges in the state. Notice its “S” curvature? This was done in the name of economy: it’s less expensive to build and maintain a bridge that’s perpendicular to the creek it crosses. They merely curved the approaches to meet the road.
This was just fine in the days of horses and buggies with their slow speeds. As automobiles took over, it became a hazard. Drivers had to slow way down to negotiate the S. Some didn’t slow down in time.
Moreover, west of this bridge lay a very steep hill. It was challenging for cars of the day to climb. I’m sure pedestrians and horses didn’t much enjoy the climb either!
The upper bridge made travel easier on three counts: it eliminated the S, it offered a wider deck (38.1 feet vs. 26.9 feet), and it created a gentler rise to the top of the hill.
I know of four other S bridges on the National Road: one in Pennsylvania (here) and three in Ohio (two here, the third here). That last one was still open to traffic when I visited it in 2011, and I drove over it. By 2013 it, too, was closed (here).