The reconstructed1885 Cedar Ford Covered Bridge

This beautiful Kennedy Brothers bridge started its life in 1885 by spanning Little Blue River northeast of Shelbyville, Indiana. In 1975, instead of demolishing the bridge to make way for a modern bridge, Cedar Ford was relocated to the Shelby County Fairgrounds.

Beautiful white reconstructed bridge

 

 

 

The bridge remained at the fairgrounds for several years and was a great addition to the historic fairgrounds. However, someone raised a liability issue, and unfortunately the fair had the bridge dismantled, sold it to a private individual and then it was stored unprotected for years. So much for “historic” Shelby County Fairgrounds.

One of the abutments

Kennedy Bros trademark scroll work

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Monroe County, Indiana engineer named Jim Barker got ahold of the useable parts and incorporated them into the design of the fully authentic covered bridge. According to Bridge Hunter website the bridge was reconstructed at “the site of the Millikan/Milligan/McMillan/Williams Covered Bridge that was destroyed by an arson fire in 1976. Remnants of the original abutments of that bridge can be seen just West of the current bridge. Although that bridge wasn’t a Kennedy built span, there were at least two of them that once existed in Monroe County.”

Typical notched connection joint

The Burr-Arch truss

 

 

 

 

 

This reconstruction took place in 2019 with as many of the original members as were structurally sound. New materials were faithfully reproduced when required to finish the structure. This bridge is a Kennedy Brothers Burr-arch truss design typical of Kennedy bridges in Indiana. It spans Bean Blossom Creek on Old Maple Grove Road north of Bloomington.

Looks, sounds and smells like it did in 1885

The smell of freshly sawn lumber is perhaps the most remarkable feature of this marvelous rebuild. That’s right, when we walked across the deck of the 127 foot long span, you could clearly smell the clean scent of newly sawn lumber. You can’t help but realize that that fragrance is what the first users of the bridges encountered as they crossed the first time.

 

Indiana’s “Grave in the middle of the road”

A history and legend filled roadside oddity can be found on CR 400S outside of Amity, Indiana  which is south of Indianapolis in Johnson County. The story begins in 1808 when 14 year old Nancy Kerlin married William Barnett. The couple had 11 kids.

The only marker on the grave

Fast forward to 1831, the year of Nancy’s passing. She had a favorite spot on a rise overlooking nearby Sugar Creek. This became her final resting place. Stories say that others began to be buried there as well, creating a small country cemetery. A road was discussed through the cemetery, but Nancy’s son refused to move his mother, so the road went around her.

The road still splits around the graves

In the early 1900’s CR 400 was plotted out, again right through Nancy’s grave site. This is when her grandson Daniel Doty showed up with his shotgun refusing to allow any such activity. Don’t mess with Grandma’s grave! Thus the county said fine, they would run the road on either side of the grave.

The old raised grave mound, photo by Rick Hinton

Over the years vehicle traffic, including large farm machinery, took its toll on both the protection barriers and the grave mound itself. Then in 2016 it was decided that the grave should be lowered and covered with a low profile concrete structure. Archaeology students from the University of Indianapolis excavated the grave and were surprised by the discovery of not just Nancy’s body but remains of six others.

New (2016) historical plaque

The bodies of two women, a man and four children were reburied in individual coffins. The low profile concrete structure now protects Nancy and other early Indiana pioneers. Today flowers and hundreds of coins adorn the surface of the grave in the middle of the road.

An 1871 Methodist Church

According to Shelby County Indiana history, following is part of the backstory  of Jollity United Methodist Church: “Back in the gray and misty dawn of the history of Jackson Township, Shelby County, there came two men who settled in what is now known as the Jollity Neighborhood.  These men, William Shipp  and  Burgess Waggoner, brought their families from Kentucky and settled near the Brockman Cemetery.”

The first church was a wooden frame building about a mile from the existing church. The cost of this was around $300.00. It was replaced in 1871 with a new brick church edifice on a new corner of land. The church is on the Shelby/Johnson County line, closer to Franklin than to Shelbyville.

Church Marquee with Holy statue in background

Memorial Flowering Dogwood, planted in April, 1989

 

 

 

 

 

Unfortunately a tornado hit the church in 1877. It was repaired, and over the years renovations and building additions were constructed, one with several small Sunday School rooms, a fellowship hall and a kitchen.

Mr. Reasner must have loved horses

Research has determined that the name of the church, Jollity, is most likely named after Frederick Jollity, the man who originally surveyed Johnson County between 1820 and 1830. The church started as a small group of neighbors who came to Indiana in the 1820’s. The National Methodist website lists the current congregation as 18 members, probably close to the original size of the group.

 

 

The Bean Blossom covered bridge

The Bean Blossom covered bridge is located near the village of Bean Blossom on Covered Bridge Road and it spans, you guessed it, Bean Blossom Creek. This is one of the favorite photo op sites in Brown County, Indiana.

Approaching the bridge

This bridge was constructed in 1880 by a Capt. Joseph Balsey for the sum of $1200. The covered bridge design is that of a Howe-single through truss. The supported approach deck is unique due to the topography as the road approaches the stream bank.

Too bad about the graffiti

Supports for the approach

Overlooking Bean Blossom Creek

Detail of the deck lumber

Interesting story here?

We had to chuckle a bit when we noticed the graffiti just inside of the bridge. Seems that Molly likes to bring her boyfriends here. Have to wonder, was Molly dating Roman and Steve at the same time?

 

Oliver Winery is an Indiana landmark

The Oliver Winery is located north of Bloomington, Indiana, home of Indiana University. That is important, as Oliver Winery traces its roots to the basement of IU law professor William Oliver in the 1960’s. He started as a hobby, planted a vineyard north of town, and soon had a production winery in the early 1970’s.

Tasting bar in center

Lots of cool stuff!

Covered deck, lovely hill with picnic tables overlooking the pond

Oliver’s website gives a wonderful bit of history: “Professor Oliver was instrumental in passing legislation allowing for the creation of small wineries in our state. The Indiana Small Winery Act passed in 1971, and Oliver Winery opened in 1972. Sales took off with Camelot Mead, and we’ve been growing ever since. Today, we distribute our award-winning, fruit-forward wines to 40 states and ship across the country.”

Interesting limestone feature

Path to the tasting room

From the flower garden…

 

 

 

 

 

Oliver Winery grew rapidly during the 1980’s and early 1990’s. The new tasting room was built in 1997. The winery has become a very popular gathering place. The beautiful grounds provide peaceful areas for picnicking, including a lovely pond to add ambiance.

The stunning gardens and grounds are worth the time for a visit! We really enjoyed seeing the Oliver Winery in person. We had discussed many times making a visit to this well known winery. And yes, we left with some Cherry Moscato, Blueberry Moscato and local Dillman Farms Plum butter and Blackberry  preserves. Deliciousness coming!

This two lane covered bridge is at its second location

In 1858 bridge builder Henry Wolf constructed a double barrel Burr arch truss covered bridge over Ramp Creek on what would become Highway 231 in Putnam County, west of Indianapolis. Time marched on, and in 1932 a new two lane pony truss bridge bypassed Wolf’s covered two lane bridge, which was set to be torn down. Richard Lieber, commonly known as the “Father of Indiana’s State Park system”, ordered it relocated to Indiana’s first state park in Brown County.

Bridge now spans North Fork of Salt Creek

1932 photo of new bridge, left, and old one, right. Photo courtesy Bridge Hunter

Lane two is visible to the left

Clear view of the Burr-arch truss system


This road is the North Entrance to Brown County State Park, just south of Nashville, Indiana. This was the first Indiana State Park, and it is known for its gorgeous fall colors, large camping sites, horse and hiking trails and the rustic Abe Martin Lodge. Each fall the park and nearby Nashville become an absolute beehive of activity for thousands of folks enjoying Indiana nature at its best. There is another entrance that accommodates RV motorhomes and vehicles towing trailers as the bridge has 9 feet clearance and a 3 ton weight limit.

 

Discovery of an Indiana iron bridge

While following our map/directions app on the way to another historic bridge we were pleasantly surprised when we came up to another old iron bridge. This one has a lower profile, with no superstructure overhead. Typical of lots of smaller iron bridges, the deck is made of open grating that lets you look through the floor to the water below.

The approach

Note the angled supports

Detail of connection

Note damage at end of lattice piece

Looking over North Fork Salt Creek

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This bridge, tagged Brown County Bridge #33, known to locals as the Green Valley Road Bridge, is an iron pony truss design. The bridge spans the North Fork of Salt Creek. The nearly 90 foot long span was constructed in 1915 by the Cambria Steel Co. of Johnstown, Pennsylvania. Cambria was a very prolific builder in many midwestern states at the turn of the century.

Open grate bridge deck

Probably needs an engineer to have a look

 

 

 

 

 

The Green Valley Road runs through a beautiful part of Brown County, one of Indiana’s most visited counties. This small bridge adds to the charm of the road and surrounds. It is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. The structure could use a coat of paint. Some rather noticeable damage has occurred on one side of an approach. This damage may or may not be structural and hopefully is not hazardous to the bridge.

A very busy day trip

The weather was nearly perfect, not too hot, partly cloudy and a nice breeze. We decide that Sunday would be a great time to get out and have a day trip. Our son put together a tentative itinerary, and we hit the road late morning. It was sure nice having our son driving.

Soybean fields, forests and a covered bridge

We had quite a day, long in time but most enjoyable. We saw several historic bridges, which you know we enjoy visiting. A country church was a nice stop. We also visited some of the shops in Nashville, Indiana, a huge tourist mecca in south central Indiana. (Yep, two fudge shoppes!)

More deer images coming

We also had a couple of wineries planned. In addition, we found a distillery we were not aware of. Turns out is is well known, and had a marvelous tasting event and enjoyable grounds. In addition we were blessed with the sightings of quite a lot of wildlife and frankly a few surprises as well. Stay tuned, we have several posts on the way!

Some different and pretty stuff on a day trip

Here’s somewhat of a potpourri of images we captured and then liked.

Overgrown barn and silo

Ears developing

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…

 

An 1885 Thomas A. Hardman covered bridge

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.