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Clover Ford Bridge

Blue River Park Bridge, Shelby County Bridge 13

Clover Ford Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: September 21, 2019

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Pedestrian Walkway Over Park Lagoon
Shelbyville: Shelby County, Indiana: United States
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1889 By Builder/Contractor: King Bridge Company of Cleveland, Ohio

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Main Span Length
93 Feet (28.4 Meters)
Structure Length
93 Feet (28.4 Meters)
Roadway Width
12.7 Feet (3.87 Meters)
1 Main Span(s)
NBI Number

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

This outstanding King Bridge Company Pratt truss bridge was carefully restored and relocated to a park setting for pedestrian use.

The bridge was restored in-kind with a careful attention paid to maintaining the historic integrity of the trusses. The beautiful riveted fishbelly floorbeams were repaired and retained on the bridge. Restoration was done by Bach Steel.

This bridge has an outstanding interpretive sign installed that tells the history and design of the bridge, and describes its relocation and restoration as well. It is an outstanding sign that sets a good example for other projects to follow. 

The previous location of this bridge was over Buck Creek on CR 875 West (39.622607, -85.947769).

View Archived National Bridge Inventory Report - Has Additional Details and Evaluation

Above: Bridge as shown in rehabilitation plans showing dimensions of members and chords.

Above: Historical photo from Dr. James Cooper showing bridge in its previous location.

Above: Historical photo from Dr. James Cooper showing bridge in its previous location.

Information and Findings From DHPA Historic Bridge Survey

Bridge History and Significance

In early April 1889, the Shelby county commissioners paid Thomas Finley $68 "for services as engineer on bridge near Brookfield." In May, the board contracted for the construction of a structure at Clover Ford of Buck Creek, 1.25 miles southwest of Brookfield in Moral township. William F. Loyd won the masonry contract at $440 for timber and excavation and $6.60 per cubic yard for stonework. The proposal of the King Iron Bridge & Manufacturing Company of Cleveland, Ohio, for a "wrought-iron" superstructure at $1,190 won out. The structure was to have a 90-foot clear span and 94-foot in full length with a 16-foot roadway. The 9 runs of stringers and the riding surface were to be of timber. To their contract with King Bridge, the commissioners added the provision that "any defect in the sizes, quality or weight in said superstructure herein provided for shall operate as a forfeiture of 25% of above contract price for said entire structure." The King Bridge Company received 60% of its contract price in early September. Payments to Loyd of &640, $341, and $800 came in October and November. Payments of $25 and $183 to D. W. Avery and to William Avery of $100 in this same period may have been for stone that Loyd used. C. A. House was paid $18, B. F. Belton $12, and William Borden $7.50 for moving stone to the Buck Creek site. B. F. Belton provided fill, and W. F. Loyd installed rip-rap in early 1890. The wrought-iron superstructure is seated upon limestone abutments and wingwalls. Intermediate verticals of two sizes of laced channels subdivide the pinned Pratt trusses into most of their six panels. Eyebars provide the diagonals: pairs stretch toward center span from the top panel point to the bottom of all except the endpost panels; cylindrical eyebars with turnbuckles counter the others in the two most central panels. U-bolted to the lower pins, variable-depth girder floor-beams carry the deck. Runs of steel stringers now support a steel-grate riding surface which allows for 14 feet and 5 inches of vertical clearance. The trusses retain their original members. The original latticed portals and decorated portal bracing, lateral bracing and struts, and floor-beams are also intact. References Butler, Fairman and Seufert, Inc., Bridge Inspection Report: Shelby County (Indianapolis, 1973). United Consulting Engineers, Inc., Bridge Reinspection Report For Shelby County (Indianapolis, 1978). Indiana Historic Sites and Structures Inventory, Shelby County: Interim Report (Indianapolis, 1992), 17, 20. Shelby County, "Commissioners Record," K: 272, 277-281, 362, 381-382, 396, 430, 441, 444.

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes


Photo Galleries and Videos: Clover Ford Bridge

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