This bridge is one of a handful of curved chord through girder bridges, sometimes called concrete camelback bridges, in Parke County. All of Parke County's surviving curved chord through girders should be considered historically and technologically significant. The bridges are historically significant because they represent the only surviving examples of this rare bridge type in Indiana. Further, only a select number of states in the country have any examples of this bridge type.
These concrete camelback bridges should be considered technologically significant as well. By incorporating a curve into the design, this not only increased the efficiency of the design, it also greatly increased the aesthetic value of the bridges. The graceful curves of this bridge type make them aesthetically pleasing. Straight chord through girder bridges are generally considered among the more plain and less visually appealing types of historic bridges. The aesthetic qualities of the curved girder bridge, those qualities being an integral and functional part of the bridge and not a decorative facade, should be considered to be a technologically significant feat: an effective union of function and form.
Most concrete through girders throughout the country including those with curved chords appear to have been limited to no more than 60 feet. Only Michigan, the undisputed leader in concrete curved chord through girders, appears to have regularly built curved chord through girders in excess of 60 feet in length with examples up to 90 feet. At 44 feet, this Parke County example is of average length for curved chord through girders outside of Michigan.
Unfortunately, Parke County's narrow-minded focus on the preservation of only its covered bridges with little to no recognition or preservation of other historic bridge types in the county has left these concrete camelback bridges ignored and suffering from a lack of preservation. Fortunately, the quality of construction in this bridge has allowed it to remain today in good condition despite the bridge not showing evidence of any repairs or rehabilitation over the years. Parke County has failed to post any interpretive signage for any of these historic concrete bridges, despite the fact that they are far more rare than covered bridges, both in Parke County and across the country. The covered bridges in the county, and even a couple metal truss bridges all have interpretive signage. HistoricBridges.org recommends that interpretive signage be installed for these concrete camelback bridges, and also recommends that rehabilitation projects be planned for these bridges to ensure their long-term existence.
This bridge is tagged with the following special condition(s): Unorganized Photos
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