5/8/13 Wednesday at Clinton, IN (Horseshoe Lakes Campground-TT)
After our morning jobs, we left to explore Parke County (Indiana) Covered Bridges. They consider themselves the covered bridge capital of the world. More than 10,000 were built in the US by 1885; more than 90% are now gone. 31 are here, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. To find them, you can get a map in Rockville (where the Thirty Six Saloon is). We were told to go to Bridgeton to see covered bridges.
On our way we saw this bridge at the Ernie Pyle Rest area. Dana, IN, Ernie Pyle’s home, is 2.5 miles West of this point. He was a famous WWII correspondent.
All the covered bridges have the same word pattern on their ends: year built, builder, “Cross This Bridge At A Walk”, even those we can drive through.
Cool, interior. They all have that curved wood on the sides.
Later, while driving on Bridgeton road, we saw Neet bridge, which even had windows. We met another couple there also taking bridge photos.
As we entered Bridgeton, we saw Bridgeton Bridge, the longest one yet, over a small falls (dam) next to a Mill. When the other couple stopped there too I asked if they knew where we could get maps for the bridges. They said they are available at the Mill, along with the best pumpkin ice cream. This bridge is considered the most picturesque, maybe the most photographed in the entire Midwest. The original (1868) was set on fire, but a replacement was built in 2006. We also found out that, to have the dam, they had to block several creeks, because it’s so flat here.
The Mill has been in continuous operation over 100 years (from 1869 until now), it’s considered the oldest continuously operating bridge west of the Allegheny Mountains. The first grist mill was built in 1821, enlarged to Lockwood Mill in 1823, then burnt. Rebuilt in 1869. The current owner bought it in 1995 and has done a great deal to bring the Mill and dam up to snuff, while preserving their historical status. He sells wonderful whole grains too, so I bought some, including a pumpkin muffin mix. Bridgeton holds a Parke County Covered Bridge Festival starting every 2nd Friday in October. We ate our lunch on their picnic tables, right by the water, then John got ice cream. Best of all, the owner gave us a Covered Bridges Map! So we started collecting them in photos:
Thorpe Ford Bridge, built over Big Racoon Creek in 1912.
Roseville Bridge, built over the same creek in 1910. We could drive through this one.
Harry Evans Bridge (drive through)
Sim Smith Bridge
Since we were out and about, we went to North Terre Haute for groceries, then home. Finally, a gorgeous sunny day, which is why we planned to check out the bridges today.