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.
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.
In June of 2008 an F3 tornado ripped through the small town of Moscow in Rush County, Indiana. Tragically one life was lost, several homes were destroyed and the 1886 Kennedy covered bridge was ravaged and tossed into the river below. Through the heroic effort of the community, businesses and others, a reconstruction project was begun. Original pieces of the bridge were salvaged. With the balance of new materials, a faithful reproduction of the original E L Kennedy double-span Burr-Arch bridge was rebuilt by the Don Collom and Sons company from Bridgeton, Indiana. It was dedicated in September, 2010.
The Moscow Covered Bridge remains the heart and soul of not only the town, but a valuable part of the history of Rush County as well.
This was the last covered bridge built in Rush County
A look at the Burr-Arch truss system
Opening with overhang looks on the river
150 feet long, one lane wide and a 10 ton load limit
E. L. Kennedy and Sons bridge builders are part of the three generations of Kennedy Bridge builders in Indiana. Emmett came out of retirement after the great flood of 1913, which wiped out many covered bridges in central Indiana. He and his two sons Karl and Charles R. built the 150 foot long Norris Ford bridge over the Flat Rock River in Rush County.
There are not near as many of these bridges left as there were even 30 years ago. Those that are left should be saved. They are an important part of our history.