1 vote

Cedar Ford Covered Bridge


Photo taken by Mike Daffron in June 2019


BH Photo #449298


Cedar Ford Covered Bridge

video by Mike Daffron


The original Cedar Ford covered bridge was built in 1885 over the Little Blue River NE of Shelbyville in Shelby County. This Kennedy Brothers built span stood at that location until 1975 when it was moved to the county fairgrounds. After having stood there for many years with no issues the unfortunate decision was made that it was a liability and should be removed. It was sold to a private party and then dismantled and stored out in the open with no protection. The parts were later acquired by Engineer Jim Barker, who incorporated the usable pieces into the design of this fully authentic covered bridge.

This was the site of the Millikan/Milligan/McMillan/Williams Covered Bridge that was destroyed by an arson fire in 1976. Remnants of the original abutments of that bridge can be seen just West of the current bridge. Although that bridge wasn't a Kennedy built span, there were at least two of them that once existed in Monroe County.

A true testament to the vision of Mr. Barker and county officials for finally getting this accomplished after decades of planning.


Reconstructed Burr Arch covered bridge over Beanblossom Creek on Old Maple Grove Road
Monroe County, Indiana
Open to traffic
Originally built 1885 in Shelby County; Reconstructed 2019 using salvageable parts and new materials.
- Kennedy Brothers
Burr arch-truss
Length of largest span: 127.0 ft.
Approximate latitude, longitude
+39.26630, -86.56915   (decimal degrees)
39°15'59" N, 86°34'09" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/537167/4346416 (zone/easting/northing)
Inventory number
BH 85464 (Bridgehunter.com ID)


19th Century (9,092)
Built 1885 (212)
Built during 1880s (2,296)
Burr arch-truss (762)
Covered (2,785)
Indiana (5,201)
Kennedy Brothers (12)
Monroe County, Indiana (74)
Open (41,214)
Owned by county (21,728)
Span length 125-175 feet (4,500)
Through truss (17,908)
Truss (36,833)

Update Log 

  • January 24, 2021: Updated by Tony Dillon: Added description and lots of other stuff.
  • December 19, 2020: New photos from Grant DiDomizio
  • June 18, 2019: New video from Mike Daffron
  • June 7, 2019: New photos from Mike Daffron


  • Mike Daffron - daffmikron [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Grant DiDomizio - grantdidomizio [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Tony Dillon - spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com


Cedar Ford Covered Bridge
Posted June 13, 2019, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Yes Will, it did!

Before Jim acquired it I had found it stored outside, and uncovered, at a location in Greenfield. This is the best possible outcome from what could have been a complete loss! Shelby County officials were crazy for wanting the bridge removed from the fairgrounds for liability reasons. The last time I saw it at that location it had locking doors on it and the inside couldn't be accessed. I think about the nice park they have nearby and what a great addition it could have been if relocated there. Instead it was sold (maybe even given) to someone who didn't have the ability to restore it the way it should have been. The end result is this awesome bridge that is mostly new but contains some remnants of the original.

Jim Barker is to be commended for his vision and not giving up on this project!

Cedar Ford Covered Bridge
Posted June 13, 2019, by Will Truax (Bridgewright [at] gmail [dot] com)

I saw it when it was in storage, (we stowed the parts of the east span of the Bell Ford across the aisle) if memory serves it wasn't stacked all that well but it was certainly in the dry there in the Turkey Barn.

Any loss to rot would've had to have happened before it was dismantled and put into storage.

Cedar Ford Covered Bridge
Posted June 11, 2019, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

I believe Jim Barker said about 15 pieces... 10%

Unfortunately poor storage of the original timbers resulted in a lot of rotting wood!

Cedar Ford Covered Bridge
Posted June 11, 2019, by Mike Daffron (daffmikron [at] gmail [dot] com)

I can't find any info on how much of the original was used. For what it is worth, It looks new, smells new and is as solid as rock. 10 ton weight limit. Whatever, it is sharp.

Cedar Ford Covered Bridge
Posted June 11, 2019, by Mike Daffron (daffmikron [at] gmail [dot] com)

I can't find any info on how much of the original was used. For what it is worth, It looks new, smells new and is as solid as rock. 10 ton weight limit. Whatever, it is sharp.

Cedar Ford Covered Bridge
Posted June 11, 2019, by Daniel

Ed, the article Mike posted states that it "reused many pieces from the original structure".

What qualifies as "many"? I don't know. Many of the timbers appear new but some could be original. Picture 15 shows some diagonals that appear to be new wood, closer to the end, while closer to the center they appear to be older. 14 shows a diagonal with one fresh side and other older sides, so it may have been a larger member somewhere else that was reused there.

Cedar Ford Covered Bridge
Posted June 10, 2019, by Ed Hollowell (erhollowell [at] aol [dot] com)

So I have read and searched but not found if any part of this bridge is original. Is there anything of the old bridge in this one?

Cedar Ford Covered Bridge
Posted June 10, 2019, by Mike Daffron (daffmikron [at] gmail [dot] com)

Bloomington Herald-Times June10,2019

County Is Once Again Home To A Covered Bridge

by Ernest Rollins (the Herald-Times)

Monroe County is once again home to a covered bridge--after being without one for more than four decades.

Contractors completed work on the Cedar Ford Covered Bridge a few weeks ago. The bridge spans Beanblossom Creek in Washington Township and connects North and Old Maple Grive roads in the area.

Officials and the public gathered at the bridge on Sunday to celebrate the return of a covered bridge to Monroe County. Monroe County Commisioner Julie Thomas said while the community was once home to several covered bridges, they were lost over time.

"This is a great day'" Thomas said as she stood in front of the Cedar Ford Covered Bridge.

Thomas said it has been 134 years since the original Cedar Ford bridge was built by the Kennedy Brothers in 1885. Originally built in Shelby County over the Little Blue River, the Cedar Ford Bridge is a 127-foot long Burr Arch truss.

Thomas said the bridge remained in place there for nine decades before it was dismantled and stored. Jim Barker, a Historical Bridge Specialist with VS Engineering, said a member of the Indiana Covered Bridge Society pointed out to him that the disassembled Cedar Ford Bridge had been stored poorly and as a result, the pieces had started to break down.

"In short, it was headed for the trash heap," Barker said.

To preserve the historic structure, Barker purchased the bridge remains and began conversations with Monroe County about possibly reconstructing the bridge in a new location.

Thomas said while many county officials played a part in getting the Cedar Ford bridge to Monroe County, she highlighted specifically the efforts of former county Commissioner John Irvine. She said after the last remaining covered bridge in the county no longer existed, Irvine spearheaded the search for a new bridge. She said his persistence paid off when he found the Cedar Ford bridge.

Thomas said the next step was funding. Fortunately, the county was able to secure federal dollars from the Federal Highway Administration's National Historic Covered Bridge Preservation Program, which it combined with local money to preserve and reconstruct the Cedar Ford bridge. The project took 19 years to come to fruition and the final cost was around $1.6 million.

"A project like this requires tenacity," Thomas said.

The reconstructed Cedar Ford Covered Bridge, which reused many pieces from the original structure, is located 200 feet east of where another covered bridge once stood. According to information from the highway department' office, the Smith Bridge Co. built a covered bridge in the area in 1871.

Jeremy Boshears, a local bridge historian, said the bridge was originally named "Milikan Bridge" but the name was later changed to "McMillan Bridge." In later years, local residents also called the structure the "Williams Bridge". That bridge was a Smith Truss and was 125-feet long and cost $2,646.80 to build.

Monroe County Council member Cheryl Munson, who used the former Williams Bridge, said it was restored in 1970 after 99 years of use. But on June 29, 1976 the bridge was destroyed by arson and never replaced.

Munson said the story goes that two young men oured gas on the floor boards of the bridge, set it aflame and watched their work from the side while drinking beer. She said Bill and Mary Oliver offered a $500 reward at the time for the capture of the culprits. Munson said the mlocal wine company had used the bridge to access their vinyards across the creek. The two young men were eventually caught and convicted, she added.

Munson said having a covered bridge in this area of the community had been an important resource for those who live nearby. She said many used the original bridge and will use the reconstructed bridge nas an important connection to the northwest portion of the county.

However, Boshears said covered bridges were more than just a way to cross a creek or a river. He Said they were also a place for travelers and livestock to take shelter from the rain and a place to gather, go fishing or swimming. In addition, residents hung signs inside the bridges, advertising everything from a local service to finding a lost dog.

"It was the virtual bulletin board of the community," Boshears said.

Contact Ernest Rollins at 812-331-4357, erollins@hearldt.com or @fromernestdesk.

Cedar Ford Covered Bridge
Posted June 7, 2019, by Mike Daffron (daffmikron [at] gmail [dot] com)

Finished! The grand opening (Road still closed) will be this Sunday (June 9), there will be an article in the Bloomington Herald-Times, will I will try to add. I am pretty sure that this will not be the name, but will find out soon. Damn good looking!