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Rosedale Road Bridge

Parke County Bridge 21

Rosedale Road Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth and Rick McOmber

Bridge Documented: May 8, 2010

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Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Rosedale Road (CR-84, CR 1025 South) Over North Branch Otter Creek
Rural: Parke County, Indiana: United States
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1917 By Builder/Contractor: Unknown
Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
50.0 Feet (15.2 Meters)
Structure Length
56.0 Feet (17.1 Meters)
Roadway Width
18 Feet (5.49 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

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 56 feet, this Parke County example is among the largest 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. The Rosedale Road Bridge in particular suffers from abutment problems that need to be repairs to ensure this bridge remains in good condition for decades to come. Parke County has also 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 metal truss bridge 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.

Information and Findings From DHPA Historic Bridge Survey

Statement of Significance

Parke County has the only arched girders extant in Indiana. The arch was probably introduced to provide unusual girder depth at center for this extraordinarily long span and to eliminate redundant material at the ends. In addition, only a minority of concrete through girders use a slab rather than floor beams to support the roadway. The girders are also nicely decorated.

Architectural Description

The concrete through girder has a pair of large beams which flank the roadway and whose reinforcing rods are interlocked with those of either floor beams or of a slab deck. Because of its greater rigidity, the through girder can be extended beyond the T-beam's ordinary span lentgh. In most cases, though, it has been preferred over the T-beam only when headroom is critical; i.e, where the roadway is so close to stream level that girders, which carry some of their load above the roadway, provide greater assurance against obstructing the watercourse.

The tops of the girders of this 56' structure are arched by about 2' at center. They are about 5' high at the ends and about 2' wide, span 51', and are paneled. The concrete slab deck carries a 17'4" asphalt roadway. The whole rests upon concrete abutments flanked by flared wingwalls.


Bibliography: Beam, Longest and Neff, Inc., Bridge Inventory Rating, & Safety Inspection: Parke County (Indianapolis, 1974, 1979)

Congdon Engineering Associates, Inc., Bridge Inventory Rating and Safety Inspection: Parke County (Indianapolis, 1986)

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes


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Maps and Links: Rosedale Road Bridge

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2021 National Bridge Inventory: View listed bridges within 0.5 miles (0.8 kilometers) of this bridge.

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