Saturday, June 4, 2011

Covered Bridges of Parke County Indiana

Our campground is in a heavily wooded area, and there are plenty of birds around.  To my listening pleasure early this morning I heard the unique song of a whip-poor-will. I had not heard the song of that nightjar since about ten years ago. Such are the unexpected pleasures in our nomadic life style! Parke County is the "covered bridge capitol" of our nation. Yesterday we saw three of the thirty-one covered bridges in Parke County. To see those three we covered sixty miles over winding narrow country roads. The first one we saw was the largest and most scenic. Bridgeton Covered Bridge lies across Racoon Creek and has a waterfall nine feet in height.  It also has an operating grist mill. The bridge was built in 1823, and rebuilt in 1870. In 2006 an arsonist burned it down, but it has subsequently been rebuilt. Last week a tornado did some major damage to the bridge and roof of the mill. Hopefully insurance will pay for the damage.
When we entered the mill we met up with Mike Roe, the owner and operator of the mill. He was busy doing some repairs to the mill, but still was eager to talk with us about the history of the building. He informed us that not only has he had to contend with arsonists, but also with people who have the proclivity to shoot out the windows of his mill!  Our next stop, after a lunch break, was the covered bridge at Rosedale. Built in 1910, it still is the original bridge. Rosedale is the second oldest town in Indiana.
 After driving to the Harry Evans Bridge, we headed to the strawberry festival in Brazil. The festival was held on the grounds of the Clay County Courthouse. After finishing our strawberry shortcakes we wandered into the courthouse ( surprise, the doors were wide open with no security measures in place). The interior of the courthouse is quite beautiful with pillars of granite and a dome of decorative stain glass. I stood in the rotunda and pointed my camera upward to get the picture shown below. As I wrote earlier, it is always the unexpected  that keep our travels interesting!

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