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Fort Ritner Bridge

Lawrence County Bridge 52

Fort Ritner Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth and Rick McOmber

Bridge Documented: May 10, 2010

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
CR-29 (Road L7S10E) Over East Fork White River
Location
Rural: Lawrence County, Indiana and Washington County, Indiana: United States
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1895 By Builder/Contractor: Lafayette Bridge Company of Lafayette, Indiana

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
1903
Main Span Length
169 Feet (51.6 Meters)
Structure Length
354 Feet (107.8 Meters)
Roadway Width
15.7 Feet (4.79 Meters)
Spans
2 Main Span(s)
NBI Number
4700027

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

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

This bridge is a large and fantastic example of a bridge built by a noteworthy in-state bridge company. The bridge retains excellent historic integrity including the distinctive builder plaques which have words spelled out with punched holes, something this particular bridge builder liked to do. The future of this bridge is of significant concern since the recent Historic Bridge Management Plan failed to identify this extremely important bridge as Select for preservation.

Information and Findings From DHPA Historic Bridge Survey

Statement of Significance

Fabricated by a prolific Indiana firm, these high trusses retain their original members including decoratively latticed portals and guardrails.

Architectural Description

The Lafayette Bridge Company of Lafayette, Indiana, fabricated this high, two-span, pin-connected Pratt through structure of 350'8" which is seated upon cut stone abutments, wingwalls, and pier. For each span, intermediate verticals of laced channels subdivide the 175' truss into most of its ten 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, I floor beams carry the timber deck with its 16'1" roadway and 18'3" of vertical clearance.

Other Information

From at least 1829, Sinclair Cox kept a ferry across the White River where Fort Ritner would soon stand. Dixon took over the ferry at some undetermined time and operated it for a considerable period. The county commissioners granted the petition filed by William A. Holland and others for a bridge across the White River near Fort Ritner and received bids in June 1895. The Lafayette Bridge Company submitted at $8,360 the lowest of six proposals for a 354-foot structure in two spans with a 16-foot roadway. Luedtke & Fillion won the contract for the stone work for $9,400. The county contracted with G. A. Dodd and H. C. Mallott in August for the bridge's approaches. Lafayette Bridge received an advance in November and the balance in December. Charles King received $255 in December for deck lumber for the Fort Ritner spans.

The Fort Ritner Bridge was repaired periodically. In 1903, for example, the county contracted with Harvey Dixon for $525 of repair work and with William M. Munson to paint the superstructure. Fabricated by a prolific Indiana firm, these high trusses retain their original members including decoratively latticed portals and guardrails.

References: Charles E. Jones, Lawrence County Bridge Inspection Program: Final Report (Bedford, 1973). Lawrence County Bridge Reinspection Program (Bedford, 1978). Associated Engineering Consultants, Inc., Bridge Reinspection Study and Report: Lawrence County (Nashville, 1979). Bridge nameplate. Goodspeed Brothers, History of Lawrence, Orange and Washington Counties, Indiana (Chicago, 1884), 61-62. Lawrence County, "Commissioners Record," M: 536, 568, 570-573; N: 31, 39, 68, 78, 98; P: 505-506.

Sign above portal: "Lafayette Bridge Co. / Manufacturers & Builders / Lafayette Ind."

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes

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Photo Galleries and Videos: Fort Ritner Bridge

 
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Bridge Photo-Documentation
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View Video
Southbound Crossing
Full Motion Video
Streaming video of the bridge. Also includes a higher quality downloadable video for greater clarity or offline viewing.
View Video
Northbound Crossing
Full Motion Video
Streaming video of the bridge. Also includes a higher quality downloadable video for greater clarity or offline viewing.

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Maps and Links: Fort Ritner Bridge

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