Above: Builder plaque from Historic American Engineering Record Documentation
Information and Findings From DHPA Historic Bridge Survey
Bridge History and Significance
William F. T. McKee operated a ferry at this location from around the opening of the canal in 1850 until 1878 when Muehler and Notter built a wooden bridge for $8,700. After the timber structure burned at night in July of 1893, the county contracted for a wrought iron span to be set atop the stone abutments Muehler and Notter had built. The C. F. Hunt Company of Indianapolis secured the job for $5,000 in September 1894 and completed the new superstructure by early 1895. C. F. Hunt and J. D. Adams started as partners as early as 1888 in building and selling road machinery and bridges, and they continued under shifting arrangements for more than a decade. In 1894, C. F. Hunt organized a company under his own name, in which he served as foreman, and advertised as "bridge builders." The company existed until at least 1901. The commissioners ordered repairs to the Feeder Dam bridge in 1907-1908. In August 1908, Ed Grimes was paid $80 for painting the bridge. E. J. Schauwecker won a contract for $357 in September 1913 to refloor the bridge and rebolt the fellow guards. The Hunt Company fabricated a double-intersection Pratt (Whipple) through-truss span. Astride its original cut stone abutments, this high, long (204'), and decorated structure contains eleven panels with intermediate verticals of two sizes of latticed channels (outer as heavier) riveted to pin plates above and reinforcing pin plates below. The upper pins of the two central verticals carry cylindrical diagonals with turnbuckles. Most other diagonals are die-forged eyebars pinned to the vertical as it passes through at about midpoint. The high trusses carry a latticed portal strut and laced interior ones at the upper panel points. They also carry intermediate struts which effectively reduce vertical clearance to 15'5": latticed with curved bracing at the portals; I-bars on the interior. Double U-bolted to the lower pins, the I floor-beams support the asphalt-over-timber deck which provides an 18'3" roadway. "Latticed hub guards" line the trusses. Finials and cresting above the portals also add a touch of elegance to the bridge. The only surviving example of this secondary Hoosier builder, this truss retains its original members and much of its decoration. The practice of intermediate pinning of diagonals seen here is quite unusual. References Beam, Longest & Neff, Inc., Bridge Inventory Rating and Safety Inspection: Clay County (Indianapolis, 1973, 1979). bridge nameplate. Clay County, "Commissioners Record," 13: 438, 451-452; 14: 51, 458-460; 24: 2, 6; 26: 442. "Index to Commissioners Record," 23: 376, 525, 547. "Commissioners Docket," 5: 11 Jan., 9 April 1895. Consolidated Illustrating Co., Indianapolis of Today (Indianapolis, 1896), 175. HAER IN-21 (13 photos, 1974). Thomas Slade (ed.), Historic American Buildings Survey in Indiana (Bloomington, 1983), 131. William Travis, History of Clay County (Chicago, 1909), I: 67-69, 80.
Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes
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