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.
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.
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.
Rush County, Indiana is in the east central part of the state. On CR 150 North an 1877 historic covered bridge crosses over Flat Rock River.
Looking west on CR 150 North
The bridge was constructed by the A.M. Kennedy and Sons company, one of three large bridge construction companies building bridges in Indiana. This bridge is 121 feet long, 15.4 feet wide with a clear height of 13.5 feet above the wood deck. The design of this bridge is a Covered Burr arch-truss style.
Family name proudly displayed
Fancy filigree adds a touch of class
Standing center span, looking upstream
This beautiful bridge was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on February 2, 1983. There is mention that the bridge did suffer some damage a while back when a fire broke out. Repairs included adding several reinforcing steel plates to some structural members. Standing on the wood bridge deck it is easy to imagine hearing the clip clop of horses crossing this bridge long before cars were invented.