THE BRIDGE OPENED! $60,000 STRUCTURE Thrown Open to Traffic Thursday, after Half a Century's Agitation. Fine Bridge Marks Passing of the Ferry Boat.
Ever since primitive man invented bridges by throwing a log across a wild mountain stream, the ambition of mankind has been to bridge every water course where it intersected his paths. Soon after Captain Blair, in 1823, laid out the town of Perrysville, he begun planning how to get a bridge across the Wabash river so as to facilitate trade and barter with the natives. He communicated his thoughts to later settlers and the subject became a favorite theme for fireside discussion during the long winter evenings. As settlers multiplied a mere skiff or canoe was found insufficient to fill their needs and a ferry was established, which did duty when wind, weather, water and ice permitted, until noon, Thursday, December 5, 1901, when it was was displaced by a real bridge of steel, built according to latest design and by best workmanship. In 1898, at a special election, the voters of Highland vote a special tax of $12,000 toward the expense of building a bridge across the Wabash river a Perrysville. In the spring of 1900 the Board of County Commissioners contracted for the construction of the ???? work, which was built that summer and the next spring ?????? was quarried for that purpose within a mile of the location of the bridge. In the spring of 1901, the Commissioners let the contract to the Canton Bridge Company of Ohio. From lack of cars and crowded mills the steel was slow to arriving, but the construction under management of H. C. Fagan of Rochester, Indiana, the work of erection was hurried as fast as the material arrived. Meanwhile the Commissioners had approaches graded at each end of the bridge. Last Monday it was evident that the work would be completed Wednesday, and the Commissioners arranged to meet Thursday to inspect and formally accept the bridge. Arrangements were hastily made for a program to celebrate the occasion of opening the bridge to public use. Hon. J. F. Compton, Prof. A. J. Johnson and Miller B. O. Carpenter prepared brief and pointed addresses. Thursday afternoon a procession was formed consisting of the Commissioners carriages containing the oldest citizens, 350 school children, and about 700 citizens. The procession went down the hill, across the river on the south side of the bridge, over into Wabash township, Fountain county, returning on the north side of the bridge. Near the west end of the bridge the procession halted and a bried program was rendered.