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Friendship Gardens Bridge

Hendricks County Bridge 216

Friendship Gardens Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: September 23, 2012

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Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Pedestrian Walkway Over White Lick Creek
Plainfield: Hendricks County, Indiana: United States
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1886 By Builder/Contractor: Morse Bridge Company of Youngstown, Ohio
Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
167.0 Feet (50.9 Meters)
Structure Length
172.0 Feet (52.4 Meters)
Roadway Width
15.7 Feet (4.79 Meters)
1 Main Span(s)
Inventory Number

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

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

View National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form For This Bridge

This bridge is an extremely significant historic bridge. It is an exceedingly rare example of a pin-connected Warren truss bridge. Nearly all Warren truss bridges have riveted connections. The reason this bridge is pin-connected is its age... it is also a very old example of a Warren truss bridge. The bridge is also significant as a product of the Morse Bridge Company. Very few examples of this bridge company remain today. This is most unfortunate since the company appears to have built their bridges with a nearly infinite variety of decorative details incorporated into their bridges, rather than sticking to a few company favorites as other bridge builders did. Further, the company was noted for unusual design details in their bridges. Some of their through truss bridges bridges for example lack sway bracing or struts and have only lateral bracing. This bridge is noted for its early use of the Warren truss, further evidence of the company's apparent passion for the uncommon. The company's attention to decorative details is evident both in functional beauty, as the portal bracing with ornate punch-outs demonstrates, as well as superficial ornamentation as evidenced by the extremely ornate finials perched atop the bridge's four corners.

To anyone who has visited many pin-connected through truss bridges, this bridge has a very unusual "feel" to it. The lack of verticals on this bridge gives the bridge an unusual open feeling. The Sway bracing (struts) that connect to the top chord at a point where there is no vertical member also looks unusual. These details are a result of the uncommon use of a Warren truss configuration on a bridge of this type.

This bridge has been relocated to a park and trail setting and restored. It previously carried CR-800 South, also over White Lick Creek, and also in Hendricks County. The bridge was replaced at CR-800 South in 1995. The bridge retains excellent historic integrity, with the loss of original railings and the ornate builder plaque (which was mounted on top of the portal bracing) the only substantial things of note that appear to be missing. The photo to the right from the DHPA showing the bridge prior to relocation, also shows the builder plaque in place.


Information and Findings From DHPA Historic Bridge Survey

Statement of Significance

The oldest Warren through span surviving in Indiana -- and possibly the only wrought iron one -- was designed by a well-known Ohio firm. The structure is pinned (one of two examples remaining), cuts the usual number of verticals almost in half, relies on a varigated system of light diagonals, and is really quite long for such light design. The bridge is the only one extant in the state from this experimental period with the Warren pattern. Except for a new deck, stringers, and guardrail, the bridge retains its original integrity including its decorated portals, portal bracing, and cast iron finials.

Architectural Description

The Morse Bridge Company of Youngstown, Ohio, designed this pin-connected and quite early 168' Warren through truss. Currently seated upon concrete abutments and wingwalls, the span is divided into ten panels, using an eyebar as a vertical every other panel to support a floor beam where there are no connecting diagonals. Fairly light laced channels angle outward from the 3rd, 6th, and 10th top panel points and are connected with double eyebars in the 2nd, 4th, 8th, and 11th panels to complete the system of diagonals. Pairs of die-forged rectangular eyebars serve as the lower chord members. Riveted to pin-plates below the lower chord, rectangular girder floor beams carry the metal grate deck with its 15'3" roadway and 19' of vertical clearance. The endposts and top chord were manufactured from crafted channels, cover plate, and stay plates.

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes


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