In the Midwest it is called “heat lightning” when the storm is so far away that you can’t see the actual lightning bolts and can’t hear any thunder. It does make for a good light show! The iPhone did a decent job catching some of the lightning bursts.
Between the light bursts there was total darkness last night.
The heat lightning was fairly steady for a few minutes, then it slowed down a lot. This storm system was too far away from us to provide much rain. We got maybe two tenths at most overnight. Hopefully the forecast for more rain this week will be correct for once.
Once again we came across an unexpected visual treat while heading to some historic covered bridges. Near Enochsburg Indiana on Base Road is the beautiful St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church.
The church edifice faces one of the two cemeteries on the grounds
The steeple back-lit by the sun
The cemetery across the road is the newer of the two. The iron double gate entrance has two crosses in the design, and this gate highlights the monument in the cemetery. The rolling terrain provides a striking background to this peaceful resting place.
The entrance gates
View through the gate
Behind the church on a very hilly plot of ground is the original cemetery. This, the Old St. John’s Cemetery was first used in 1846. This cemetery is officially a Historic Cemetery listed in Indiana’s Cemetery and Burial Grounds Registry of the Department of Natural Resources. At the lower end of the hill and at the end of the cemetery is a beautiful shrine that was installed in gratitude for the safe return of St. John parishioners who served in WWII.
The original old cemetery behind the church
“Our Lady, Queen of Peace” Shrine
St. John the Evangelist Church is one of two Catholic churches that make up the St. Catherine of Siena Parish. From the parish website: “St. Catherine of Siena Parish is a newly formed Catholic parish with two worship sites. St. John of Enochsburg and St. Maurice of St. Maurice were merged into one parish in December 2013 with each site offering very unique resources to create a stronger Catholic community.”
Here’s somewhat of a potpourri of images we captured and then liked.
Overgrown barn and silo
In full tassel
Slow flowing Laughery Creek gives a mirror surface
Delicate tiny wild flowers
Oops! Lost an antennae somewhere
Just simply pretty flowers
Day trips or multi day adventures provide so many opportunities to see and experience new things. I guess that’s why everybody has cameras these days…
This covered bridge is in Franklin County, Indiana on the Enochsburg Road. The bridge was built by the Smith Bridge Company from Toledo, Ohio. The Smith Bridge Company was a large and very prolific bridge construction company, building bridges all over the Midwest.
Also known as the Enochsburg Road Bridge
Graffiti is a problem on this bridge
Top chords and roofing details
Note the diagonal deck boards under the wheel tracks
Photo credit Tom Hoffman, 2009 restoration project
This bridge is not very long, at just over 100 feet in length. The covered Howe through truss system used by Smith was also used by other builders, including Hardman. The bridge spans over Salt Creek on the Enochsburg Road. It was constructed in 1887 and underwent an extensive “rehabilitation” project in 2009. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on March 20, 2002
This looks like the bridge was just plopped down on the edge of a forest
We visited another one of Hardman’s bridges at Versailles, Indiana. Hardman uses the Howe truss system, as opposed to the Burr-arch trusses that the Kennedy builders use. This bridge is called the Busching bridge, and is 182 feet long with a 14.1 foot wide deck. It spans Laughery Creek on Ripley County CR 40 South.
Notice this design has an overhang at each end
Busching Bridge name and build date
A look at the Howe truss system
Scenic view of Laughery Creek
Photo taken by Bryan E. Ketcham On Apr. 22,1946 at 10:35 a.m.
Another view with details of the Howe truss system
This is another fine example of a Thomas A. Hardman built bridges. It was restored in 2005 and is well maintained. The bridge was posted to the National Register of Historic Places on March 19, 2019. Coming from Versailles on CR 40 you cross the bridge and enter the valley. The entrance to the Versailles State Park and the new park offices are to the left after you leave the bridge.
We never know what we’re going to find when we head out for a daytrip or longer time on the road. Our last day trip was no different. We expected the covered bridges, and even the country cemeteries and churches were no real surprise. What was a surprise was what greeted us as we pulled into the offices of Versailles State Park in Versailles, Indiana.
He has his axe and is ready for work
Very handsome bronze statue
This statue represents and honors the men who worked in the Civilian Conservation Corps that operated from 1933 to 1942. President Roosevelt started the program to provide not only conservation projects but also to provide jobs during the Great Depression years. A CCC workforce performed many forestry and conservation projects at Versailles State Park.
The plaque on the statue base
There are actually over 75 of these statues around the country in various locations that utilized CCC work forces. We strongly recommend the CCC Legacy website. It has the fascinating and frankly complex story of the CCC and it’s good and bad times. It is worth your time to take a look if you like history.
Just east of Westport, Indiana, a small community in Decatur County you will come to a beautifully maintained covered bridge. Painted white with a green roof, some will immediately recognize this as a bridge constructed by the Kennedy family of bridge builders, in this case A.M. Kennedy and Sons Builders.
We’re appreciating another magnificent late 19th century bridge
Constructed in 1880, this bridge is a typical Kennedy work utilizing a single span Burr-Arch truss system. This bridge is 130 feet long as it crosses over Sand Creek on Laughton Road. It was actually bypassed in the early 1970’s when a new bridge and road improvements were made on CR 1100S, just downstream from the bridge. The bridge underwent a total restoration in 2004.
Looking upstream towards the bridge
Shows massive abutment the bridge rests on
Typical Kennedy lettering and scroll work
Some have to leave initials. Note the lights…
1945 photo (courtesy bridgehunter.com)
Burr-Arch truss system. Lots of lights everywhere!
As noted in the post title, there are strings of Christmas lights all over the bridge members. Strings of white “twinkle” lights are stretched across the top chords of the structure. Multi-colored lights are placed along the sides of the bridge, and also are draped following the curved Burr-Arches on either side. There is a timer hooked to power on one end, and the lighting seems to be a permanent installation. We talked and said we’d love to come back at night to see this bridge all lit up.
On our adventure yesterday we came across the Rock Creek Baptist Church, a lovely little (and typical) country church and associated cemetery. Many many areas of rural America are dotted with small churches. Before cars, rural churches usually sprang up within an easy buggy trip for most families.
Sher standing beside the Church Marquee
The Rock Creek Cemetery across the road
A distinguished old family monument
A sad story for James
RIP Estella, a loved daughter
Our son caught us peeking into the sanctuary through the doors!
We noticed that the “Rock Creek Baptist” lettering above the door looked quite a bit like the lettering on many of the old covered bridges we have been visiting. A search online failed to come up with any history of this church, other than it is listed on the American Baptist roles. The church address is 11168 S County Rd 100 W, Westport, Indiana.
In what some may say is an area “out in the middle of nowhere” in Ripley County, Indiana, travelers will stumble upon a unique and historic covered bridge. Built in 1884 by Thomas A. Hardman, this bridge has a unique history as well.
Closed to road traffic in 1996, it is now open only to foot traffic.
The Otter Creek Bridge, also known locally as the Holton Bridge, is constructed with the Howe truss system. This design was invented by a William Howe, an American architect born in 1803. The Howe truss design, patented in 1840, became one of the most popular structural designs and continued to see use in later metal bridge designs.
View of the 113 foot bridge over Otter Creek
Maj examining the deck timber supports
A good view of the Howe truss system, and the roof supports as well
Nice information signage!
The bridge is in excellent condition
The bridge in 1943 (courtesy bridgehunter.com)
The bridge roof was partially ripped off during a straight line wind storm just months after it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Repairs were completed quickly and the structure again opened to pedestrian traffic. This piece of American history is located in a peaceful and beautiful setting and worth the drive to see.
Today we decided to brave the heat and head out for an adventure, mainly to seek out some more covered bridges. We came across some different sights during the day!
The “Tipsy Trolley” was in a barn yard. Perhaps a mobile beer party bus?
This old store front likes B&W treatment
You can’t get away from politics…
Someone likes old ad signs. So does the barn.
Sun and shadows on a narrow country road
Water reflections, clouds and trees
One thing for sure, you never know what you’ll see in the Indiana countryside.