Information and Findings From DHPA Historic Bridge Survey
Bridge History and Significance
In the early 1880s, E. B. Martindale of Indianapolis came to Greene County for duck shooting in its swamps. Soon he speculated on the 4,000 acres of four-mile marsh and promoted their drainage through steam-driven dredging. Out of his investment came a handsome and exceedingly fertile farm serviced by roads on lands once four to six feet under water. A number of these roads needed to be bridged over the deep and wide ditches that made Martindale his fortune. In September 1893, George M. Notter was paid $123.45 and $136.40 "for repairing the abutment" on a bridge over Four-Mile Ditch on the Lyons and Bloomfield Gravel Road. In 1923, the commissioners planned to build four structures over Four-mile ditch. The county council, however, appropriated money for only two, including the structure south of Switz City near the Martindale farm. The county's appointed engineer, L. H. Parker, estimated the cost of this bridge at $4,660. The Vincennes Bridge Company bid $8,484 total for the two.
The pin-connected, full-hip Pratt pony-truss span rests upon concrete abutments and wingwalls. The 86-ft. structure is subdivided into five panels by verticals made from pairs of laced angles with pin plates riveted to the backs of the angles at top and bottom. A pair of channels with a cover plate riveted above and battens below supplies the top chord. Lower chord and outer diagonal members consist of a pair of die-forged eyebars. Pairs of cylindrical rods with turnbuckles provide the center panel's diagonals and counters. Rolled I floor-beams, riveted to angles which are in turn bolted to pin plates, carry the steel stringers and concrete deck with its 15-ft. 8-in. roadway. A pair of channels with occasional angle posts line the trusses and extend to the ends of the endposts. The Vincennes Bridge Company used a rather old-fashioned but nonetheless quite functional general design for a bridge to service the farm of a man who revolutionized the county's agriculture. The bridge retains all its original and unadorned members. SELECT status.
References Butler, Fairman & Seufert, Inc. Bridge Inspection Report: Greene County (Indianapolis, 1974). M.W., Inc. Bridge Reinspection Report: Greene County (Indianapolis, 1978). United Consulting Engineers, Inc. Bridge Reinspection Report: Greene County (Indianapolis, 1981). "A Lesson in Drainage," The Bloomfield Democrat, 2 February 1894: 1. Greene County, "Commissioners Record," Q: 146, 155; "Commissioners Docket," 17: 159-161, 166.
Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes (Select)
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