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Old River Covered Bridge

Photos 

View from the Northeast

1948 photo taken by Bryan Ketcham

Enlarge

BH Photo #475713

Map 

Description 

It's uncertain if this bridge was originally built for railroad use, but it's massive size suggests it may have been.

At some point it was necessary to add a 91ft wooden ramp to the West end.

Facts 

Overview
Lost Burr arch-truss bridge over West Fork White River on abandoned section of CR 100 South
Location
Greene County, Indiana
Status
Partially destroyed by flooding in 1957 and removed
History
Built in 1883 by A.M. Kennedy & Sons; heavily damaged by flooding in 1957 and removed.
Builder
- A.M. Kennedy & Sons
Design
2-span Burr arch-truss
Dimensions
Length of largest span: 185.0 ft.
Total length: 477.0 ft.
Deck width: 18.0 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 19.0 ft.
Approximate latitude, longitude
+39.00880, -86.95501   (decimal degrees)
39°00'32" N, 86°57'18" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/503895/4317754 (zone/easting/northing)
Inventory number
BH 89896 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • July 12, 2020: New photos from Melissa Brand-Welch
  • July 8, 2020: New photo from Tony Dillon

Sources 

  • Tony Dillon - spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com
  • Melissa Brand-Welch - melissabrandwelch [at] msn [dot] com

Comments 

Old River Covered Bridge
Posted July 11, 2020, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Not saying it was ever used as a railroad bridge, but it might have originally been designed for a line that never came to fruition. We did indeed have some covered railroad bridges in the state, and you are correct in that they didn't tend to last for long. The spans were normally wet down before, and a spotter was usually employed to make sure there were no live ashes on the bridge after the train passed.

A fire at the Gosport Bridge in the mid-1880's is one of several different stories as to why the West span was replaced, I've yet to see documentation yet to prove one of them.

Old River Covered Bridge
Posted July 11, 2020, by Ed Hollowell (erhollowell [at] aol [dot] com)

Railroad bridge unlikely. The steam engines were prone to leaving hot cinders and were hard on even open wooden structures. Witness the bridge at Gosport where the railroad ran past one end. That end of the covered bridge caught fire and was rebuilt as an iron truss resulting in a three span bridge with two wooden covered spans and one iron span.

There were covered railroad bridges, but I don't think any of them survived very long.

Old River Covered Bridge
Posted July 9, 2020, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Of course the railroad idea is pure speculation, but given the crazy height of this bridge it is a possibility. I doubt there would be any relation between this and Old Nellie however. I wonder if it might have been built for a planned line that was never completed, to which the county later turned into a road. It's possible as well that the Kennedy's felt the taller trusses, with those massive arches, would be better for 2 long spans across the river.

Old River Covered Bridge
Posted July 9, 2020, by Mike Daffron (daffmikron [at] gmail [dot] com)

I have visited the site from the east side and didn't see evidence of no trespassing, but... West side looks to be fishing shacks and whatnot.

Old River Covered Bridge
Posted July 9, 2020, by Tom Hoffman

Finally, the Old River Covered Bridge has been added! Sure was massive for a wooden covered bridge. About it possibly once being for railroad, I wonder if 18 feet wide was enough room for two tracks. I think this and Old Nellie Railroad bridge were built about the same time, and they weren't far apart. So I wouldnt know. Since this bridge was never replaced, I wonder if either side is private property now? If not, then this would be the place to build a modern covered bridge! Build one here and not in place of a historic metal truss that was just demolished!