Parke County in Indiana has a total of 31 Covered Bridges, all original structures apart from the one in Bridgeton that is a replica of the one that burned down in 2005. The origin of the covered bridge is unclear, but it is thought that the roof was intended to protect the deck of the bridge and it is aslo suggested that horses were happier to cross a covered bridge rather than an open one. Although it is unlikely to be the reason for putting a roof on a bridge, courting couples were fans of covered bridges; they were known to stop their carriage in the middle of the bridge for a quick canoodle before driving on. With the exception of Phillip's Covered Bridge Bridge (King Post) all of the covered bridges in Parke County use Burr Arch Trusses
Crooks Covered Bridge
Many covered bridges were built to provide access to a mill and Crooks Covered Bridge was no exception. It was built around 1856 to serve Parker’s Mill. It is thought that the stream that it spanned dried up so in 1863 it was dismantled. It was reassembled at its current location in 1867 or 1872 by General Arthur Patterson. This Burr Arch Truss bridge has a single span of 40 metres (132 feet). The Burr Arch Truss was developed by Theodore Burr. He patented his truss in 1820 and was known as the ’Father of American Bridge Building’. Click Tab 2 to see a diagram of a Burr Arch Truss.
Neet Covered Bridge
The Neet Covered Bridge was named after local landowners Joseph and George Neet. It was built in 1902 across Little Raccoon Creek and has a single span of 38.4 metres (126 feet). It is believed to be the last bridge built by Joseph J. Daniels who was by then 78 years old. Daniels built more than 50 bridges during his career. The bridge was bypassed in 1996 and is now open only to pedestrians.
Sim Smith Covered Bridge, Parke County
And finally, another Burr Arch Truss bridge. The Sim Smith Covered Bridge was built across Leatherwood Creek in 1883 by Joseph A. Britton. It was only the second covered bridge that he built and its finish lacks the quality of his later bridges. It got its name from a nearby landowner called Simeon Smith. The bridge has a single span of 24.7 metres (81 feet).and is still open to vehicular traffic. There is more about all 31 covered bridges in Parke County on the Parke County Web Site.
Phillips Covered Bridge, Parke County
The domination of Burr Arch Truss bridges in Parke County is broken by this one King Post bridge. Built in 1909 by Joseph A. Britton the bridge is a single span of just under 12 metres (39 feet). It is the shortest covered bridge in Parke County, so it was not considered necessary to use the much stronger Burr Arch Truss. It spans Big Pond Creek and is still open to vehicular traffic. Click Tab 2 to see a diagram of a King Post bridge.
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