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Hendricks Ford Bridge

Hendrickson Ford Bridge

Hendricks Ford Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth and Rick McOmber

Bridge Documented: September 22, 2012

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Hendricks Ford Road Over Driftwood River
Rural: Bartholomew County, Indiana: United States
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1880 By Builder/Contractor: King Bridge Company of Cleveland, Ohio

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
158 Feet (48.16 Meters)
Structure Length
316 Feet (96.32 Meters)
Roadway Width
Not Available
2 Main Span(s)
NBI Number
Not Applicable

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)

Bridge Documentation

This bridge is an extremely rare surviving example of a multi-span Whipple truss. It was built by the prolific, noteworthy, King Bridge Company. Constructed in 1880, this bridge is also a very old surviving example of a metal truss bridge. Typical of some of the earlier truss bridges, this bridge has several unusual details, some of which employ cast iron.

The pins for this bridge are most unusual. Nearly all pins for truss bridges are essentially big rods with threaded ends. The pins on this bridge in contrast appear instead to be designed like giant bolts, with a square head on one side, and the other end being threaded. Thus, there is only one nut for each pin. Jim Stewart reported that the pins were likely either a square bar turned on a lathe to turn it into a threaded rod with a square end, or it could have been a rod whose end was upset to form the square head. He comments it was obvious that the pin was turned on a lathe at some point, even if only to put the threads on the pin.

The two channels that form the sway bracing (struts) for this bridge have unusual cast iron spacers that make the two channels bow out apart from each other in the center, with less bowing at the ends. The hip verticals which are paired eyebars also have cast iron spacers. Finally, another unusual detail is that the v-lacing bars on this bridge do not have rounded ends, and are instead rectangular in shape. This shape was more common with railroad bridges, and was not common on highway bridges.

This bridge retains excellent historic integrity and is today abandoned. Indiana has restored many bridges and this bridge would be a great candidate. Even given Indiana's rich collection of historic bridges, this structure stands out as particularly significant. Its age, design, unusual details, and multi-span configuration all help to make this bridge significant.

Information and Findings From DHPA Historic Bridge Survey

Statement of Significance

Although the builders and date of construction are unknown, this nineteenth-century truss appears intact. Its design is standard although the connections between the floor beams and lateral struts with the sway bracing for each are unusual. The bridge retains its decoratively latticed portal and bracing.

Architectural Description

Most recently as part of Camp Atterbury, this two-span double-intersection Pratt (Whipple) through truss is used mostly by hikers and horseback riders. Each span is pin-connected, of eleven panels, and with intermediate verticals of three sizes of laced channels (decreasing in size toward the span's center). Most diagonals are rectangular eyebars, although those to and from the central panel's verticals are cylindrical with turnbuckles. The channels and cover plates used for the top chord and end posts are quite heavy. Four die-forged eyebars serve as the lower chord for all panels except the two closest to the cut stone abutment or pier. U-bolted to the lower vertical pins, V-shaped girder floorbeams carry the usual I beam stringers on which the wooden deck rests.

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes


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