8 votes

Hays Bridge



Photo taken by Joshua Collins

BH Photo #102805


Hays Bridge

video by Mike Daffron


Pratt through truss bridge over Sugar Creek on CR 675 East
Hancock County, Indiana
Open to traffic
Built 1887 by the Columbia Bridge Co.; rehabilitated 1983 and 2006
- CLR Construction of Vincennes, Indiana (Restoration)
- Columbia Bridge Co. of Dayton, Ohio (successors to) [also known as Columbia Bridge Works]
- Columbia Bridge Works of Dayton, Ohio
- Winfield Fries of Greenfield, Indiana (County Engineer and designer)
6-panel, pinned Pratt through truss
Length of largest span: 89.9 ft.
Total length: 91.8 ft.
Deck width: 13.4 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 15.3 ft.
Eligible for the National Register of Historic Places
Also called
Sugar Creek-CR 675E Bridge
"Baby Doll Bridge" (Folklore name)
White Bridge
County Bridge #17
Approximate latitude, longitude
+39.92434, -85.67775   (decimal degrees)
39°55'28" N, 85°40'40" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/612993/4420196 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Average daily traffic (as of 2018)
Inventory numbers
INNBI 3000085 (Indiana bridge number on the National Bridge Inventory)
BH 16253 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of June 2018)
Overall condition: Fair
Superstructure condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 70.1 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • May 30, 2021: Updated by Art Suckewer: tweaked names
  • December 3, 2017: New video from Mike Daffron
  • August 17, 2017: New photo from Tony Dillon
  • January 28, 2017: New photos from Mike Daffron
  • March 18, 2012: New photos from Tony Dillon
  • March 9, 2012: New photos from Tony Dillon
  • February 28, 2010: Updated by Anthony Dillon: Added designer and adjusted coordinates
  • February 26, 2010: Updated by Anthony Dillon: Added county bridge #
  • February 18, 2010: New photos from Anthony Dillon
  • June 22, 2008: Updated by Anthony Dillon: Alternate name
  • December 22, 2006: Posted photos from Joshua Collins


  • Joshua Collins - Bigjc1979 [at] aol [dot] com
  • Tony Dillon - spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com
  • Mike Daffron - daffmikron [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Art Suckewer - Asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com


Hays Bridge
Posted April 5, 2017, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

You should have checked out the Hays Cemetery just South of the bridge Nathan... That place is creepy, even in the daytime!

Hays Bridge
Posted April 4, 2017, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

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.

Hays Bridge
Posted January 29, 2017, by Mike Daffron (daffronmike [at] yahoo [dot] com)

I used to hang out with my buds at the "Haunted Bridge" in Avon. Great times!

Hays Bridge
Posted January 28, 2017, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

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!

Hays Bridge
Posted January 28, 2017, by Mike Daffron (daffronmike [at] yahoo [dot] com)

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...

Hays Bridge
Posted January 28, 2017, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

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!

Hays Bridge
Posted May 24, 2014, by ArtS (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)


Thank you for the fantastic write-up. It was really helpful to my understanding of the company's history.


Art S.

Hays Bridge
Posted May 24, 2014, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

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 Pratt 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.

Hays Bridge
Posted May 23, 2014, by Art Suckewer (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)

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?

Hays Bridge
Posted March 24, 2007, by Anthony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

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.

Sugar Creek 675 East Bridge
Posted July 13, 2006, by Dan Reitmeyer (danreitmeyer [at] charter [dot] net)

We just completed a total rehab of this bridge, updating the guardrail system, and painting of the "white bridge"