1 vote

Moss Island Bridge (1st)


1870s (1869?) Builders photo?

Swan & McKeown This rare Swan & McKeown photograph (ca. 1870s) is of the iron Bow String-style bridge that crossed the White River at Moss Island carrying the newly-constructed 11-mile Anderson & Perkinsville Turnpike. The bridge was the first one constructed over White River in the western half of Madison County. The view is looking north. After crossing the bridge, the turnpike turned left on what today is Moss Island Road. The road to the right is today's North Shore Boulevard that leads to Raible Avenue. It is believed the occasion was the opening of the bridge. The Anderson photographer's equipment wagon is parked beside the road. The horse is unhitched and probably grazing nearby after completing the over three-mile journey from downtown Anderson. The men positioned on and near the bridge are most likely bridge builders assembled for the historic photograph. Also note the clean, recently quarried limestone bridge abutments and the clean wooden bridge flooring. The height difference in the two spans is attributed to the shorter one being over land while the taller one is directly above the river.

Photo uploaded by Art S.

View this photo at heraldbulletin.com

BH Photo #474532



If the article is correct, there were two bowstrings at this crossing. this being the original and the other entry being a replacement installed around 1910 (after the 1913 floods?). If true, it was likely a used bowstring relocated from elsewhere.

copied from: https://www.heraldbulletin.com/community/if-the-river-could-...

Speaking of Moss Island, if the river could talk, it would tell of the only bridge of the Bow String style to cross its waters. There were apparently two versions of this style, both called the Moss Island Bridge and at the same crossing site. The first was photographed by Anderson photography firm Swan & McKeown in the 1870s. A second version with a slightly different appearance and a little longer was built in 1910. It was this bridge that was the subject of many postcard views and photographs because of its unique style. A concrete bridge replaced it in 1920 and then was torn down in 1986.


Lost Bowstring through truss bridge over White River on Moss Island Road
Anderson, Madison County, Indiana
Replaced by a new bridge
Built in 1869, replaced by a used (?) bowstring in 1910
- Columbia Bridge Works of Dayton, Ohio
- D.H. & C.C. Morrison of Dayton, Ohio
Bowstring through truss
Approximate latitude, longitude
+40.11438, -85.71966   (decimal degrees)
40°06'52" N, 85°43'11" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/609108/4441238 (zone/easting/northing)
Inventory number
BH 89710 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • June 27, 2020: New photo from Art Suckewer


  • Art Suckewer - Asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com


Moss Island Bridge (1st)
Posted June 28, 2020, by Art S. (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)


Thanks for confirming my suspicion. I wouldn't move the article to this bridge until we figure out if, in fact, the story of the replacement bowstring is accurate.


I agree with you on the second bowstring story and remain kind of skeptical. Initially, I dismissed it but it has a couple things going for it besides the article. First, the road pattern is quite distinctive and correct. Second, a number of bridges were lost locally in the 1913 floods so it's loss wouldn't be unexpected.

I agree that its a cool/great photo. Let's see if we can confirm its location/history. Remember, until 18 months ago, we had no idea that CBW had built any bridges in Madison Co.

Oh, by the way, I'm guessing picture 2 of the 'other' bowstring is incorrect since its a pony and both spans of #2 were through.


Art S.

Moss Island Bridge (1st)
Posted June 27, 2020, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

It's obvious that the Morrison's and CBW had a good relationship with Madison County, as we are up to likely 3 structures built by them.

Considering how stories get told and retold (and morphed in the process), I'd be less inclined to believe the whole 2nd Bowstring story without some photo or county records documentation.

This is a really cool photo!

Moss Island Bridge (1st)
Posted June 27, 2020, by Melissa Brand-Welch (melissabrandwelch [at] msn [dot] com)

Art, I corrected my typo.

Moss Island Bridge (1st)
Posted June 27, 2020, by Art S. (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)

If the article I found relating to this bridge is correct, then it is likely that the article Melissa posted as an image in the other entry (listed as 2008 but probably 1908) likely refers to this bridge.