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.
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.
Columbus, Indiana is known for its very large numbers of public art display pieces. One beautiful piece is the centerpiece of a pretty fountain in the Northwest quadrant of the Bartholomew County Courthouse Square.
The veterans memorial is visible in the left rear
The limestone dolphin in the center of the fountain was sculpted by Indiana artist C.R. Schiefer. It was placed in 1978, a replacement for the original statue that was vandalized in 1976. Schiefer also has animal sculptures displayed in Martinsville, Bloomington and Terre Haute. His works are listed in the Smithsonian Art Inventories Catalog.
A most remarkable scene will greet you when you observe the south lawn of the Bartholomew County Courthouse in Columbus, Indiana. From the sidewalk you will see a series of tall stone columns. This is the Bartholomew County Memorial for Veterans. There are 25 columns, each 40 feet tall and positioned in a 5X5 foot grid. Recessed lights are positioned between the columns. Each column is rock cut Indiana limestone set on black granite.
The memorial is designed to be a tribute to those living and dead who answered our nation’s call during the twentieth century conflicts. It was dedicated in 1997. There are 156 names of local veterans engraved on the smooth sides of the columns. In addition to the names, there are inscriptions of letters sent home from veterans from their places overseas during the wars. Many of these were the last letters written home. Below the letters the date and places where they lost their lives are also recorded.
This memorial is really eye catching and remarkable to see. Allow for enough time to read the names engraved on the columns. Allow even more time to read the letters. So many of them are the last letters that the servicemen wrote home before they perished in combat. This is a most emotional memorial that brings home the gratitude you must express for our servicemen and women. Prepare to shed some tears.
Bartholomew County, Indiana is south of Indianapolis and is known for its architecture, public art and well known and long running industry. Columbus is the county seat, and thus is home to the County Courthouse. This striking edifice was designed by noted Indiana architect Isaac Hodgson. The building was constructed from 1871–1874 at the cost of (then)$250,000. The courthouse was put on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.
A panorama view
The following Court House description is from Wikipedia: It is a three-story, Second Empire style red-brick building trimmed in limestone. It features a mansard roof, corner pavilions, Corinthian-order portico, and a six-level clock tower. The clock tower is 154 feet tall. A six-inch thick, 10-ten clock bell was installed in 1875. The clock’s weighted mechanism were replaced with an electric motor in 1940 and a 900-pound weight fell.
We visited on a Saturday, so the building was closed. It would be interesting to see inside this county government building.
This historic bridge has had quite the history. Originally constructed in Union County in 1840, this Long truss design covered bridge was built by Adam Mason and designed by Col. Stephen H. Long. Time passed, and the bridge was dismantled in 1974 and stored in Indianapolis.
The bridge was rebuilt at half its original length at the Mill Race Park in Columbus, Indiana. There the bridge provides both a one lane driving road and spans part of the water leading to a lovely pond circled by concrete sidewalks. Mill Creek Park is an extremely popular park close to downtown Columbus.
We found yet another one of those magnificent 1880’s covered bridges, this one again in Rush County, Indiana. The Forsythe Bridge, also known as the Forsythe Mill Bridge spans Big Flatrock River in the southeast corner of the county. This bridge was built by E. L. Kennedy bridge building company. Emmet Kennedy was one of the sons of Archibald M Kennedy, premier bridge builder from Rush County.
The Forsythe Bridge over Big Flatrock River
A long view of the Burr- Arch truss system
A look outside over the river below
We spotted Maj shooting the video of the river and the bridge
This bridge is 196 feet long, as noted designed with the typical Burr-Arch truss system. This bridge was one of six bridges that all were registered on the US National Registry of Historic Places. All six of the bridges were constructed by the Kennedy family, and were registered at the same time in 1983.
Yes, this marvelous covered bridge has what can be described as a life history of epic proportions. Here’s the Reader’s Digest version: Built in 1881 over Mud Creek in Rush County Indiana. Floated away during the flood of 1892, ended up downstream in a field. Farm owner turned the bridge into a barn. Barn started falling apart over the years. Local Pioneer Engineers (antique farm machinery club) dismantle bridge/barn and rebuild it on their grounds as a pedestrian bridge in 2009. Bridge saved!
Used as a barn in 2008, photo courtesy Bridgehunter.com
Rebuilt on new location at Caldwell Pioneer Acres
This bridge, originally built by A.M. Kennedy and Sons is constructed with Multiple King trusses. These are not the more common Burr Arch trusses used by Kennedy. Surprisingly, the lumber in the trusses was still in excellent condition after time and floods. Only the foundation lumber needed total replacement, along with siding and roofing.
Good view of the Multiple King trusses. Note the diagonals notched into verticals
Reproduced name and date on the reconstructed bridge
” For Machinists, Steam and Pump Fitters Work. Go To W.H. Moffett & Co.”
The advertisement sign above had made it through the years and was noticed when the bridge timbers were salvaged at the farm where the 1892 flood had placed the bridge. It survived all those decades. Now the sign, as well as the bridge itself, continue to provide a nostalgic look back into Indiana history.