Scenic USA - Indiana

Dark Covered Bridge

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Dark Covered Bridge - Medora, Indiana

Photos by Ben Prepelka
Ben's Panoramio Gallery

     After peering through the 343 foot long interior of the Medora Covered Bridge, it's easy to see why it's been locally named the Dark Covered Bridge. This early morning view catches America's second longest covered bridge in a soft sunrise glow. Once an important link on U.S. Route 50, the triple span bridge was used for nearly a 100 years to cross Indiana's East Fork of the White River. Built in 1875, it took by Joseph J. Daniels nine months to complete the 18,000 dollar project. The Jackson County covered bridge was by-passed in 1972 with a modern concrete bridge and fell into disrepair over the years. Although the National Historic Covered Bridge Preservation Program had spent nearly 700,000 dollars for structural repairs in 2000, the bridge continued to show signs of distress. Life-saving measures were initiated in 2007 to help save important supporting members, but tight budgets postponed a very expensive restoration project.
     Indiana's bridge building era began when America's first National Road crossed the state. Since 1830, Indiana may have utilized as many as 600 to 800 covered bridges. Dark Covered Bridge - Medora, Indiana One of Indiana's dwindling count of 98 historic covered bridges, the Medora Bridge future looked very dim by 2009. Just in time, aid in the form of Federal stimulus money helped the Indiana Department of Transportation to issue a contract to rebuild the historic bridge.
     Pouring over historic photos, engineer Brad Isaacs and crew tackled a complete restoration of Indiana's longest covered bridge. Taking nearly 15 months, more than 80 percent of the bridge's original materials were saved. The site also features parking areas at both ends of the bridge, further improved with picnic tables and RV sized off-road parking. Completed four months ahead of schedule, the 1.3 million dollar refurb was ready for a ribbon-cutting ceremony in July, 2011.

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