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Riley Park Bowstring


Historic photo


BH Photo #434488



This Rezner design bowstring stood at this location from about 1868 until 1912 when it was replaced. The bridge was moved a mile North which would suggest Park Avenue. The current structure there was built in 1994 but the little bowstring was gone prior to that.


Lost Bowstring pony truss bridge over Brandywine Creek on East Main Street (US 40/National Road)
Greenfield, Hancock County, Indiana
Replaced by a new bridge
Built in 1868 by the Rezner Stone Company; replaced in 1912 and moved North 1 mile where it stood until a later date.
- Ohio Bridge Co. of Cleveland
- Rezner Stone Co.
- William Rezner
Rezner patent Bowstring pony truss
Also called
Old US 40 Brandywine Creek Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+39.78578, -85.75769   (decimal degrees)
39°47'09" N, 85°45'28" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/606375/4404719 (zone/easting/northing)
Inventory number
BH 82816 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • January 15, 2020: New photo from Art Suckewer
  • September 24, 2019: Updated by Tony Dillon: Added builder and date
  • September 24, 2019: New photos from Melissa Brand-Welch
  • September 13, 2018: New photo from Fmiser
  • September 12, 2018: Added by Tony Dillon


  • Tony Dillon - spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com
  • Fmiser - fmiser [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Melissa Brand-Welch - melissabrandwelch [at] msn [dot] com
  • Art Suckewer - Asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com


Riley Park Bowstring
Posted September 24, 2019, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Melissa, outstanding job of research in coming up with this article... and yes, please stay out of those mystery plants!

Art, I tip my hat to you sir as you thought you saw a Rezner and you did!

It would have been moved to Park Avenue but was long gone before the current 1994 slab was built. I'll have to ask the historian over there about it.

Riley Park Bowstring
Posted September 25, 2018, by Luke

That's definitely a streetcar track curving to a dedicated span.

The scale of the image made me think it's a bridge over Potts Ditch, but according to https://www.greenfieldin.org/residents/history-of-greenfield... the National Road bridge over Potts Ditch is a still-extant stone arch.

So I think Tony has the right bridge, and an image of the replacement bridge in https://books.google.com/books?id=Hzcf1FrK3fgC&pg=PA27&dq=gr... seems to match span lengths somewhat.

Riley Park Bowstring
Posted September 25, 2018, by Fmiser (fmiser [at] gmail [dot] com)

Tony, I suspect you have more information to go on than I do - but just looking at the photos I can't see that those two are the same span.

The "sidewalk" on the left in the tall photo sure looks like it is a completely separate span.

And although the view angle is compressing the distance, the rest of the image indicates it was not taken with a long focal-length lens. With that in mind both spans in the tall photo do not look like they could be as long as the span in the wide photo.

On the hill in the background are very straight lines - trolley tracks? Or just wagon tracks? With that, and the tracks on the near side of the bridge, it does not appear the bridge webs could be noticeably taller than a person. Yet the people standing on the bridge in the wide photos indicate the webs on that span are taller than the people.

Neither photo is very good quality, but even so the "lay of the land" doesn't seem to match. The position and size of the trees, the width of the abutment, the height of the roadbed above the fields to the side all suggest it's not the same place.

Then the bridge itself. The left side web in the tall photo does not look like a bowstring truss. Maybe it's just splotches on the poor quality photo - but just doesn't match up.

So - I'm not going to shout "You're wrong" because you may have lots of other data that can prove they really are the same bridge. I'm just looking at the images and what I see sure doesn't look like it can be the same bridge.

That's my opinion - which may be worth no more than the paper it written on. Erm - it's not even on paper. Uh oh.

Riley Park Bowstring
Posted September 13, 2018, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

I'm guessing that when the sidewalks were added the substructure was changed from stone (Dry laid stone was very uncommon in Indiana) and the deck may have been upgraded. It likely had wooden stringers to begin with. The stone substructure looked pretty rough in the older photo and was likely from the earlier wooden bridge.

Riley Park Bowstring
Posted September 13, 2018, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

It's the same bridge... The walkways were added at a later date. The date given is only a circa (guestimate) date, but I did read that there was a wooden bridge (not sure if it was covered) that didn't last very long. It's definitely a tubular arch, and although the odds-makers would say it's a WIBCo product... A Rezner would not be out of the question. Come to think of it if it's a later version of the Rezner design it would have been manufactured by WIBCo. after their purchase of the Ohio Bridge Company.

Both of these photos came from out of an old book and the resolution is pretty lousy.

Riley Park Bowstring
Posted September 13, 2018, by Fmiser (fmiser [at] gmail [dot] com)

Oh - and the arch seen in the second photo _really_ does not look like it is the same bridge as the first photo.

Riley Park Bowstring
Posted September 13, 2018, by Fmiser (fmiser [at] gmail [dot] com)

There just isn't enough resolution... The original doesn't have great detail - but judging from the half-tone screening I found in the image it's all we've got. Unless someone can find the photo the newspaper used!

There are a lot of what appear to be lateral floor beams. More often than just at the verticals - which is odd. Having them rest on the lower chord would be a bad idea. Maybe they are just there to tie the deck together?

Regarding the top chord. I think it is round - or nearly round. The shadow line is so consistent at about half-way up that it can't be a flat sided beam. Maybe it's sort of a Phoenix type built up something.

I can see diagonals between verticals in a truss pattern. The top of some of the verticals look "forked", like maybe they are attached to both sides of the top chord.

I sure wish I could see more details!

Riley Park Bowstring
Posted September 13, 2018, by Art S. (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)

The shadow line on the arch of the first picture makes it look like a Rezner but, I think 1880 is too late.


Art S.