You should have checked out the Hays Cemetery just South of the bridge Nathan... That place is creepy, even in the daytime!
I saw an older local resident at this bridge who also conveyed the story of this bridge being haunted, although he also said it was most certainly just a story (as a scientific person I wholeheartedly agree). I had fun showing him Jim Barker's "secret" rehab plaque (he hides them in the inside of the endpost channel), he had never noticed it before.
I used to hang out with my buds at the "Haunted Bridge" in Avon. Great times!
yeah... One of the many!
I spent 6 months there as an inspector, and have been there several times at night... Nothing! I suspect that the kids from Anderson and Pendleton that frequent it add fuel to the story!
Is this the bridge that has a "haunted" aspect to it? Something to do with a crying woman and her baby. I know, where are hundreds of these fellers running around, but...
Overall the paint job is holding it's own... Just splotchy from covering up graffiti over the past 10+ years! I was never a fan of the White paint job, but it had previously been painted that color and became known as the White Bridge until research turned up the historic Hays name. The secondary primer coat was a neat Red color and I wish it had been left that!
Thank you for the fantastic write-up. It was really helpful to my understanding of the company's history.
What you have here is essentially 2 different companies Art...
The Columbia Bridge Works was started by David Morrison about 1852 and operated by him until his death from Liver cancer in 1882. I have read that he had 4 sons who worked with him at times, but only Charles (C.C.) was known to have been a constant partner with his father. CBW was known for it's wrought iron Prat trusses that featured simple looking members made from rolled iron and held together with rivets and spacers. No built up members or lacing were present in these early structures. Beautiful cast iron portal bracing was also a very prominent feature. The Tom's Run and Negley Bridges are 2 of the best examples remaining from this era.
In his passing, the elder Morrison left the company to 3 of his sons including Charles. At some point after that the firm was renamed the Columbia Bridge Company. Although the open-letter Columbia Bridge Works sign was used consistently through the years, if you look at the smaller plaque that hung below it you will notice a change over time. Below is a close-up of the St. Clair St. Bridge plaque which reads "Columbia Bridge Company" "Successors to D.H. & C.C. Morrison". Although documentation of this firm is somewhat limited, I wonder if Charles was either bought out by his brothers or parted ways with them possibly over the direction the company was going in. While consistency seemed to be a staple of the original firm, the revamped operation tended to be constantly changing things probably in an effort to increase revenue. The castings were replaced with latticed bracing, and built-up members were present in many (but not all) of their spans. That open-letter Columbia Bridge Works sign was the only constant element through the years. A date of the company's final demise is uncertain, but there is documentation that they struggled to fulfill some of their contracts in those later years.
As for the Hays Bridge in Hancock County, Indiana...
I was the inspector for the engineering firm that designed the rehabilitation of this span in 2006. The 1887 bridge was actually designed by Winfield Fries, who was the county engineer at that time. The county actually still has the drawings for it and it is interesting to note that they were labeled "Murphin Bridge" at the top, which was crossed out and relabeled "Hays Bridge". The Murphin Bridge was another span that crossed Sugar Creek in the same vicinity but has since long vanished. Obviously the 2 spans were identical in their design, but it is not certain if Columbia manufactured the trusses for both. In the Hancock County Highway Department offices is a beautiful framed drawing of the Duncan Bridge. This was another Fries designed span that crossed Sugar Creek in the Southern part of the county. It was substantially longer and featured skewed trusses.
As for plaques on the Hays Bridge, I was told that the highway department did have a CBW plaque at one time. However, the engineer that designed the rehabilitation said that the holes on the plaque didn't match up with those on the Hays Bridge. Replicated plaques that pay homage to the designer and fabricator now adorn the span.
I was looking at the pictures of the various Columbia Bridge Works bridges and this one looks very different. Even St. Clair Street bridge is very different. To my eye, the structural elements only seem similar to the Oakdale Dam Bridge. I wonder if Hays Bridge, at one time, had the plaques and cast trim that can be seen in the Oakdale Dam bridge barrel shot and this decoration has been lost over the years. Any thoughts?
What a lovely little bridge! I had the honor of being the inspector on the rehabilitation of this structure. Wrought iron was definately much superior to steel. This baby is ready to go for another 120 years.
We just completed a total rehab of this bridge, updating the guardrail system, and painting of the "white bridge"