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Friendship Bridge

Ripley County Bridge 3

Friendship Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth and Rick McOmber

Bridge Documented: September 22, 2012

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Olean Road Over Raccoon Creek
Rural: Ripley County, Indiana: United States
Structure Type
Stone Semicircular Deck Arch, Fixed
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1909 By Builder/Contractor: Henry Harman

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Main Span Length
20 Feet (6.1 Meters)
Structure Length
103 Feet (31.5 Meters)
Roadway Width
16 Feet (4.88 Meters)
4 Main Span(s)
NBI Number

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

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

This semicircular stone arch bridge has four spans of decent length and rise. The bridge is also largely unaltered aside from some areas of concrete repair, particularly on top of the railings, and around the base of the piers. Despite these changes, the bridge retains most of its original materials and design. It has enough historic integrity and is large enough in the context of Indiana to be appropriately considered one of the larger and better examples of a stone arch bridge in Indiana.


Information and Findings From DHPA Historic Bridge Survey

Statement of Significance

This bridge follows the conventions used with most of the several dozen stone arches built in the state's south-central counties and is typical of the majority of those extant in Ripley County. The structure is unusually long and the number of spans remarkably great.

Architectural Description

Local craftsmen built most of Indiana's stone arches from regional materials just before or in the first two decades of the 20th Century. Following a few simple rules of thumb that had evolved since Roman days, stonemasons erected full-centered or semicircular arches in which the line of pressure passes through the center of each stone in the arch ring until carried vertically into the substructure. Most of the state's stone arches span streams in south-central counties. Ripley County has the second largest number extant. By World War I, the growing popularity of concrete, which engineers could readily adjust to the special needs of each specific bridge site, quietly ended most stone arch construction in the region.

This limestone, four-span structure is 104' long and carries a 15'6" asphalt roadway between stone walls. The arch rings are semicircular, and their stones are roughly-cut and mortared. Springing from above the footings which extend vertically about 3' to the stream bed, each arch spans about 21'6". The bridge has stone wingwalls. The stone footings have been reinforced with concrete.

Other Information

In a June 1909 letting, Henry Harmon beat out Degolier & Demariel for the contract to build the stone arches over Raccoon Creek near Friendship. Harmon's bid was $3,800, some $294 below his competitors. The contractor received periodic payments for construction throughout the fall and appears to have completed his work by the end of the year.

Concrete toe-walls and cut-waters were installed in 1997. The stone copings on the parapet rails and wing-walls have been replaced with concrete.

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes


Photo Galleries and Videos: Friendship Bridge

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