Friday, February 24, 2017

Parke County Covered Bridge Auto Trails

Parke County Covered Bridge Auto Trails

Parke County Covered Bridge Auto Trails
A West-Central Indiana Road Trip
Explore the covered bridges and peaceful rural countryside of beautiful Parke County, Indiana. This wonderful region has over thirty historic covered bridges preserved for visitors to see. Parke County Covered Bridge Auto Trails includes the history of not only the bridges, but many of the men that built them as well. Anyone that anticipates visiting this beautiful area will want to read Parke County Covered Bridge Auto Trails and take it with them as they enjoy the wonderful Parke County, Indiana countryside.

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McAllister Covered Bridge

McAllister Covered Bridge - Parke County, Indiana
McAllister Covered Bridge - Parke County, Indiana
Located on County Road 400S a little over a half mile from Bridgeton Road.
Constructed by Joseph Albert Britton in 1914, this 125 foot long Burr arch-truss bridge spans Little Raccoon Creek. The National Register of Historic Places listed the bridge on December 22, 1978. The bridge was restored in 1977.

Joseph Albert Britton (June 9, 1838 – Jan. 18, 1929)
The son of Charlton and Julia Britton, Joseph was native to Rockville, Indiana. He spent his boyhood in a log cabin while his father taught him the carpenter trade. Known locally as J.A. Britton, Joseph constructed over 40 covered bridges in Parke, Putnam, and Vermillion counties during a 33-year period.
Civil War Prisoner of War
After the outbreak of the Civil War, Brittan enlisted in the Eighty-fifth Indiana Infantry, Company A. The Confederates surrounded his company during their first engagement on March 5, 1863 and captured them. The Confederates held them until March 31 at Libbey Prison. On that day, they took part in a prisoner exchange and returned to combat. The Company returned to action and mustered out June 12, 1865. After leaving the army, Britton read law and gained admittance to the Indiana and Kansas bars. He practiced in Kansas, but decided he did not like law practice. Thus, he returned to Rockville and took up carpentry, building houses until around 1879. He started building covered bridges in that year, and would continue building for another 33 years. His first contract for a bridge came in 1882. This was the Narrow's Bridge that is now in Turkey Run State park. He preferred the short, Burr Arch Trussone span bridges. Many of his bridges are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Britton would marry twice, the first time to Mary E. Jones on Sep 25, 1862. Mary died in 1884 and he married Bertha Hirshbruner on September 13, 1888. He would have eight sons and four daughters. Several of his sons entered the bridge building business.
Joseph Albert Britton died in 1929 and is interred in Rockville Cemetery.

Bridgeton Covered Bridge - Parke County, Indiana
Bridgeton Covered Bridge - Parke County, Indiana
Bridgeton Covered Bridge

The original 267 foot long, bridge was built by J.J. Daniels in 1868 for $10,200. The bridge was a 2-span covered Burr arch-truss design that spanned Little Raccoon Creek. The bridge closed to traffic in 1967. An arsonist destroyed the bridge in 2005. Local residents reconstructed the bridge the following year.
Approximate latitude, longitude
+39.64951, -87.17614   (decimal degrees)
39°38'58" N, 87°10'34" W   (degrees°, minutes', seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/484888/4388872 (zone/easting/northing)
Joseph J. Daniels (1826–1916)
The son of bridge builder Stephen Daniels, Joseph was native to Marietta, Ohio. Joseph learned the craft of carpentry and bridge building from his father, who had sub-contracted for renowned army engineer and bridge builder Colonel Stephan Long. Long had developed the Long Truss design, for which he received patents in 1830, 1836 and 1839. Stephen employed the design, as did Joseph in his early bridges. Joseph assisted his father constructing many bridges in his native Ohio. Joseph would complete his first solo bridge contract at age nineteen.
Indiana Bridge Builder
Joseph migrated to Indiana to begin his solo bridge building career. He constructed his first bridge on the Rising Sun/Versailles Pike in 1850. The next year he traveled to Parke County, Indiana to build a bridge. He moved permanently to Parke County in 1853 to build railroad bridges. In 1861, Daniels moved to Rockville and began building covered bridges. He would build twelve covered bridges in Parke County. Nine of his Parke County bridges still survive. He built twenty-eight bridges in Indiana of which eighteen survive. Local lore suggests he build as many as sixty bridges during his lifetime, however historians can substantiate only fifty-three. He built his last bridge, the Neet Bridge, in 1904. The National Register of Historic Places lists many of his bridges.
His surviving bridges include:

West Union
Billie Creek
Big Rocky Fork
Deer's Mill
Bridgeton Covered Bridge Destroyed by Fire
On April 28, 2005, an arsonist set the bridge on fire, destroying it. The community of Bridgeton rebuilt the bridge, which reopened to foot traffic in 2006.

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