Rating:
3 votes

Davis Ferry Bridge

Photos 

East pier

This is the east pier of this bridge, the deck and structure of which has long since been removed.

Photo taken by Jim Grey in July 2010

BH Photo #169736

Map 

Description 

All that's left of this bridge is two piers in the river.

This bridge was built on the site of the former Davis Ferry and was described as the "Iron Bridge" by two different sources, Weston A Goodspeed; 1884 History of Lawrence County and Thirty Years in the History of Lawrence County 1884 to 1917; Guthrie, James M. 1958.

In the Goodspeed book the cost is quoted at $27,000 which it points out is the same exact price as the Tunnelton covered bridge. It did not give an exact date of construction, but it was clear that it was after 1870 and before 1884.

In the Guthrie book it points out problems with the "Iron Bridge". The approach on the east side was flood prone and the final bit of that approach was very steep so that many had trouble pulling wagons up to bridge height. In the west side a 90 degree turn was necessary as the bridge went right into a steep hill side. He said "the bridge was raised in the 1920's"

Facts 

Overview
Lost Through truss Bridge over East Fork White River on possible old alignment of US 50
Location
Bedford, Lawrence County, Indiana
Status
Removed but not replaced
History
Built 1875; Raized in the 1920's
Design
Through truss
Also called
Mitchell Pike Bridge
Iron Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+38.82173, -86.51158   (decimal degrees)
38°49'18" N, 86°30'42" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/542398/4297107 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Bedford West
Inventory number
BH 45657 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • February 10, 2016: New photo from Ed Hollowell
  • August 3, 2013: Updated by Ed Hollowell: Added road names
  • July 21, 2013: Updated by Ed Hollowell: Added history and alternate names
  • July 20, 2013: Updated by Ed Hollowell: Enlarged entry
  • October 13, 2012: New photos from Jim Grey
  • July 16, 2010: Added by Jim Grey

Sources 

  • Jim Grey - mobilene [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Ed Hollowell - erhollowell [at] aol [dot] com

Comments 

Davis Ferry Bridge
Posted February 10, 2016, by Ed Hollowell (erhollowell [at] aol [dot] com)

The Indiana Limestone Collection photo has been posted with link to the original collection site.

Davis Ferry Bridge
Posted February 8, 2016, by Ed Hollowell (erhollowell [at] aol [dot] com)

I have sent a request to use the Indiana Limestone Photo Collection photo. Let's give them some time to respond.

Davis Ferry Bridge
Posted February 7, 2016, by Ed Hollowell (erhollowell [at] aol [dot] com)

The significance of the $27,000 figure was that it matched the Goodspeed book, the cost being quoted at $27,000. It was a point of agreement. Whether that is the full cost or not is not a big deal.

What is sure is they did a great job or the piers would not be standing in such fine condition today.

Davis Ferry Bridge
Posted February 7, 2016, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Upon viewing with fresher eye I agree Art... Definitely not new piers!

And yes, the 27K most likely covered only the substructure. Stone piers were often more expensive than the trusses themselves...and these particular ones were massive!

Davis Ferry Bridge
Posted February 5, 2016, by ArtS (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)

Tim,

Great pic! Thanks! My guess is the $27K is what was originally paid to build the piers and abutments.

Tony,

Those piers don't took fresh in the pictures so I would guess they are at or near end of life.

Regards,

Art S.

Davis Ferry Bridge
Posted February 5, 2016, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Yup...Looks like a King to me! Wonder if this picture dates to the construction of the bridge, or when it was possibly derelict.

Davis Ferry Bridge
Posted February 4, 2016, by Luke

Definitely looks like one to me.

Davis Ferry Bridge
Posted February 4, 2016, by Ed Hollowell (erhollowell [at] aol [dot] com)

So does that look like a bowstring?

Possible Image Found?
Posted February 4, 2016, by Tim Wray (tim [at] backwoodrealm [dot] com)

I think I've found something related to this one! A local long time limestone company, Indiana Limestone Company, just donated a huge number of photos to the archive at Indiana University. I believe this is possibly a photo of this bridge just before it was dismantled in the late 1920s, based on the $27,000 figure also stated on this page:

http://purl.dlib.indiana.edu/iudl/images/VAC5094/VAC5094-004...

What do you guys think? The pier looks about the same. I'll try to go get a closer look soon.

Davis Ferry Bridge
Posted July 28, 2015, by Ed Hollowell (erhollowell [at] aol [dot] com)

Had a look at the piers on July 17, 2015 and the high water would have had the approches on the east side flooded.

Davis Ferry Bridge
Posted January 2, 2015, by Ed Hollowell (erhollowell [at] aol [dot] com)

Your welcome and I wish I had found more. I went to the Lawrence County Historical Society last summer and looked for a few hours last July but didn't find anything new about this bridge. It seems it's not a covered bridge so not much attention was given. My next move would be the local paper archives and county records. I would be great to find a photo or construction/demolition information.

THANK YOU!
Posted December 30, 2014, by Tim Wray (tim [at] backwoodrealm [dot] com)

Thanks to whomever (Ed, it appears?) added the info from the Jim Guthrie book! I don't know why I didn't think of looking into that book, as my father owns a copy of it! Time for a re-read, it's been a long time! Mystery solved!

Davis Ferry Bridge
Posted March 19, 2014, by Dennis (hoosiermoore [at] gmail [dot] com)

I'd often wondered about these piers, glad I found an answer.

Regarding the picture quality of the IHAPI images: when I asked the folks there about it, they indicated that if you purchase the full-size prints, the images for all years are much clearer than what they posted on line. I haven't tested that theory yet...

East Fork White River Bridge
Posted May 14, 2013, by Ed (erhollowell [at] aol [dot] com)

I found the photo in the Indiana Historical Photo index at http://igs.indiana.edu/IHAPI/

The direct link is:

http://129.79.145.7/arcims/IHAPI/viewer.htm

You will need Java to use this service. The oldest photos they have are the 1936. They are also the best of the oldest photos. 1941, 1952 and 1956 were not very good at all. The quality gets better after 1962.

1936 was good enough to see the piers and that the bridge was not there.

Remember that these photos are a mosaic and other parts of the state may be of better quality, if you are going to look for other bridges.

East Fork White River Bridge
Posted May 14, 2013, by Tim Wray (tim [at] !backwoodrealm [dot] com)

Wow, you found an aerial of this area of the county online? Would love to see that! I'm planning on getting over to our county museum to see if I can dig up more photography or information sometime soon. I agree, the piers look very much like the ones on the Williams covered bridge, although perhaps shorter. They also look somewhat like the ones on the Ft Ritner bridge. With there having been several covered bridges in my area,(Medora, Tunnelton, Rivervale, Stumphole, Williams)...I can't help but wonder if it was another JJ Daniels bridge.

East Fork White River Bridge
Posted May 12, 2013, by Ed Hollowell (erhollowell [at] aol [dot] com)

Is it my imagination or do these piers bare a resemblance to the piers on the Williams covered bridge?

East Fork White River Bridge
Posted May 12, 2013, by Ed Hollowell (erhollowell [at] aol [dot] com)

I've been doing some Internet research and found aerial photo from 1936 that shows the bridge was gone even then. A 1909 map shows "Mitchell Pike" crossing at that point.

East Fork White River Bridge
Posted May 12, 2013, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Beautiful set of piers that look to be in great condition still. Satellite also shows that both abutments appear to be intact as well.

I would agree that this almost certainly represents a much older (and possibly original) crossing perhaps from an old turnpike... ie. Bedford to Paoli. It's pretty close to the current crossing and I don't think the piers look substantial enough to be from a railroad.

East Fork White River Bridge
Posted May 11, 2013, by Tim Wray (tim [at] backwoodrealm [dot] com)

Have always been curious about what was standing here in the past. I think I'll do some research and see what I can learn and hopefully we can get more info on this one up here.

East Fork White River Bridge
Posted July 16, 2010, by Jim Grey (mobilene [at] gmail [dot] com)

This bridge, whatever it was, carried Old State Road 4 and probably the first alignment of US 50.