Traders Point’s Covered Bridge

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Recent flooding destroyed the Moscow Covered Bridge in Rush County. Margaret Weir Smith, President of the Indiana Covered Bridge Society, writes in today’s Indianapolis Star about our covered bridges and reminds Traders Point residents of how rare and signficant it is to have a covered bridge. (Traders Point’s covered bridge once spanned Fishback Creek on West 86th Street. Safely relocated by preservationists in the early 1960s during the construction of Interstate 65, the bridge is now barely visible to passing motorists. It is located within the southwest quadrant of West 86th Street and Interstate 65 on private property, down a steep gravel drive that plunges nearly 100 feet below the grade of West 86th Street. A Howe truss bridge, it was originally constructed in 1876 and is 88 feet in length. It is registered in the world guide of covered bridges as 14-49-01. It is the only surviving covered bridge in Marion County. )
Reprinted below is an excerpt from Ms. Smith’s MY VIEW article: “More than 600 covered bridges were built in Indiana between 1820 and 1922, with the 1880s being the heydey of covered bridge building. Why were these wooden bridges covered? Mainly to protect the flooring and interior from the elements. After the 1880s, more bridges were constructed of iron then later of concrete, materials that were both cheaper and stronger than wood. Time then took its toll on the stately covered bridges of wood. Only 89 remain in Indiana. However, only two states, Pennsylvania and Ohio, have more extant covered bridges. Much information about the bridges is available by going to the website of the Indiana Covered Bridge Society www.countyhistory.com/icbs.
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About Ross Reller

I am pleased you have expressed interest in learning more about the historic Traders Point area in Indianapolis, Indiana. From 1980 to 1982 I was employed in the PR department at Conner Prairie Museum in Hamilton County. There I learned about William Conner, an important figure in Indiana's pioneer days. A decade later I became interested in the history of the Traders Point area and was surprised to learn that William Conner had been the first land owner in the area. In 1823 he acquired, through the Federal land office in Brookville, a patent for an 80 acre tract carved by Eagle Creek and an Indian trail that was about to be named the first toll roadway through the township (Lafayette Road). Thirty years later a village took shape within this tract. A grain mill on the creek, houses, churches, stores, restaurants, and two gas stations would take shape here in the creek valley hamlet of Traders Point. By 1962 all improvements (except a farmer's co-op) had been removed by the Indianapolis Flood Control Board to make way for Interstate 65 and a new reservoir. This blog is dedicated to preserving evidence of this historic area but I will occasionally use it to discuss related topics. To activate this follow, simply click the confirm button below. If you don't want to follow, ignore this message and we'll never bother you again. I am also a member of the Old Pleasant Hill Cemetery, a non profit association still selling burial plots for those who would like to spend all eternity in Traders Point, and I am an officer in the Pike Township Historical Society and the Traders Point Association of Neighborhoods.
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2 Responses to Traders Point’s Covered Bridge

  1. Fred Wittman says:

    I was good friends with the one of Zane Brown’s sons. I spent a lot of time in the early 1990’s at their property. We used to play on and around the covered bridge, I didn’t realize at the time the historic nature of it. I can tell you that they were still crossing the bridge in automobiles during that time period and it appeared & felt stable when doing so. I passed through it many many times in a car and never felt nervous about it in fact I thought it was pretty cool. Some of the pictures I have seen look as it has fallen into a state disrepair in more recent years, but doesn’t appear to be beyond help.

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