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Bridgeton Covered Bridge Fire - April 28, 2005

A very sad day in Bridgeton, Parke County, Indiana this morning when Indiana's most famous covered bridge was 'torched.' Built in 1868 by JJ Daniels this bridge was a double span of 245 feet crossing Raccoon Creek. I couldn’t stand not seeing it after the area has brought so much pleasure to so many people for so many years.

Past Memories

Photos from the Covered Bridge Festival, October 11, 2003

Check out Bryce West's photos of the Bridgeton Covered Bridge in better days at: Bridgeton.

As it is Today 4-28-2005

(left)Derrick Wilkerson, Fox-59 News from Indianapolis was there taping his report

(left)Smoke from still smoldering embers rises from the bridge and the smell of wet burning wood permeates the area

(left)Looking downstream from the main bridge

Looking upstream from the same bridge

Nathan Roe, son of the Bridgeton Mill owners Mike and Karen Roe said his father received a call around 1:00 a.m. this morning informing him of the fire.

Listening to the town-folk gathered around the area, they claimed that the open ended bridge acted much like a chimney causing the flame to shoot out the end and that the firemen had a heck of a time keeping the Bridgeton Mill wetted down to avoid more fire.

A 34-year old suspect Jesse L. Payne (with a prior history of arson) has been detained and
as of 5-12-2005 has been charged with arson!!

The following is from an article by Pat Pastore of the Terre Haute Tribune-Star which appeared in the 4-29-2005 edition of the paper.

Bart Barnes of the Bridgeton Covered Bridge Association is helping with the "new bridge project," he said.
"This is the most famous covered bridge in the world," he said. "It's the most photographed. It's been on calendars, on postcards and in magazine articles. We can replace it with a historically correct bridge just like it."
A lot of love and labor was put into this bridge over all the years. We have the opportunity of doing something historically correct and if we work together we can do it."
Barnes knows a lot of capital is needed and help from corporations and foundations is needed, he said.
"It is not a matter of can we do it," he said. "We are going to do it. The first meeting is already set. Anyone who wants to be a part of this can call Blanch Case at (765) 548-2136."

How Can I Help?

• The Bridgeton Covered Bridge Association has opened a Bridge Replacement Fund at the Old National Bank in Rockville.

• To donate to the new historically correct bridge, the address is:

Old National Bank
P.O. Box 167, Rockville, IN 47872.

• Checks should be made to: Bridgeton Covered Bridge Association Bridge Replacement Fund.

First Financial Bank in Rockville.To donate to the new historically correct bridge, the address is:

First Financial Bank
Bridgeton Covered Bridge Fund, P.O. Box 188, Rockville, IN 47872; and

*****Latest News and Fund Raiser*****
May 11th, 2005

About $20,000 has been rised so far and a long way to go.

Municipal Management Service Architectural and Engineering of Tere Haute offered to donate its services for the complete design and construction of a historically correct covered bridge to replace the Bridgeton bridge. There are many people offering their services; from labor to timber from their property to help.

June 4th - Bridgeton Community Day
• Pancake Breakfast begins at 8:00 a.m.
• Barbecue Dinner begins at noon

Bart Barnes may be contacted at 765-548-4095 for more information.

A web-site that has a great .pdf file on the Covered Bridges of Indiana can be found at the Indiana State Library


Unless otherwise noted, all photos and logos are the property of and
© Rob Robbins 2000-present. Use only with permission.