Showing posts with label Covered Bridge. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Covered Bridge. Show all posts

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Review of a Visit to Madison County Iowa

Cedar Bridge at Madison County Iowa photo by mbgphoto
Cedar Bridge
On a recent road trip to a wedding in Minneapolis, my husband and I decided to make a side trip to photograph the covered bridges in Madison County Iowa.  We decided to stay the night in the small town of Winterset and were pleasantly surprised with all it had to offer.  Not only were we able to visit six covered bridges, but we discovered a wonderful  museum in memory of John Wayne, a great little city park, several wineries in the area, and a delightful small town square.

John Wayne Birthplace and Museum


John Waynes Birthplace at Madison County Iowa photo by mbgphoto

The small little white home above was the birthplace of John Wayne. John Wayne began his life in Winterset in 1907.  His family lived in this small four room house just a few block off the town square.  The house is a square house with the entrance and front  porch built on one of the corners, which I think gives it a very interesting look.  We were able to take a tour of the house and a docent inside the house shared some stories about John Wayne.  John Wayne was named Marion Robert Morrison and only took on the name John Wayne when he went in to acting.  When Marion was a young boy his parents moved to California.  When he was about 10 years old he would walk with his dog Duke and some fireman at a local station knew the name of the dog was Duke but didn't know the boys name.  When he would walk by they would say here comes big Duke and little Duke.  Marion liked the name and convinced his parents to let him go by the name Duke in school.  The name stuck through the years.

John Wayne Museum at Madison County Iowa photo by mbgphoto

Here is a photo of my husband, a big John Wayne fan, sitting in front of the John Wayne museum.  We enjoyed our visit to the museum.  The museum is 6100 square feet and opened in Winterset in 2015.  It features a gift shop, a theater (where we watched a 10 minutes feature on the films of John Wayne) and a large room full of memorabilia from the movies and career of John Wayne.  It was interesting seeing things like the surrey that was in "A Quiet Man" and various shirts and uniforms that Wayne wore in different movies.

City Park Winterset


The city park in Winterset is 76 acres full of recreation opportunities.  It has picnic areas, a sand volleyball pit, a campground, a hedge maze and a place for recreational vehicles to park and hook up.  Inside the park is the Cutler-Donahoe covered bridge which is 79 feet long.  It was built in 1870.
Cutler-Donahoe covered bridge photo by mbgphoto

The Clark tower is also in the park. It is a castle like structure that you can climb for a view of the surrounding area.  A plaque on the tower says it is in memory of the Clark's, a pioneer couple in Madison county in the 1800's.  We drove up a winding road through the woods to reach the tower and I enjoyed climbing and photographing the tower.

Clark Tower in Madison County Iowa photo by mbgphoto

Another interesting feature in the park is this old stone bridge.  I photographed it from several angle's.  I later found out that it was used in a scene from the movie "The Bridges of Madison County"

Bridge in Madison County photo by mbgphoto

Bridges of Madison County


The winters can be rough in Iowa and hard on the bridges, so several of the bridges were covered to preserve the large flooring timbers.  It was more expensive to replace the floors than to build the sides and the tops of the bridges.  There are six covered bridges in Madison County that we visited.  I found them all to be rather similar, with a bit a variation in the length.

The bridge at the beginning of this article is Cedar Bridge. It can be seen on the cover of the novel "The Bridges of Madison County".  This bridge was originally built in 1883, but was destroyed by arson.  The photo I took is of the replica which was dedicated in 2004.

Hogback bridge photo by mbgphoto

The bridge above is the Hogback bridge.  It is located just north of Winterset and was first built in 1884.  It was renovated in 1992.  This bridge is 97 feet long.

Hogback bridge photo by mbgphoto

The Holliwell bridge above is the longest of the bridges at 122 feet.  It is featured in the movie "The Bridges of Madison County".

Imes Covered Bridge photo by mbgphoto

The Imes Covered Bridge was built in 1870.  It is just 81 feet in length and sits over a ravine near St. Charles, Iowa.  

The Roseman bridge photo by mbgphoto

The Roseman bridge was built in 1883 and renovated in 1992.  This bridge was featured in both the book and movie versions of "Bridges of Madison County".  I have read the book and seen the movie several years ago but now that I have visited the bridges I think I will check out the movie again.  The movie stars Clint Eastwood as a photographer who has gone to Madison County to photograph the bridges.  While there he falls for a local housewife who gives him directions to one of the bridges.

Visiting Winterset


My husband and I both enjoyed our visit to Winterset.  We stayed two nights in the local Super 8 motel.  The innkeeper at the hotel, Bill, was so friendly and helpful that he added to the enjoyment of our visit.  He was always ready with helpful hints and directions.  Winterset is located just 14 miles south of Des Moines Iowa off of Hwy 35.

Zazzle Products from my Photographs

Cedar Bridge Travel Mug
Cedar Bridge Travel Mug by mbgphoto
Design your own personal coffee mugs online at Zazzle.
Scenes from Madison County Iowa Calendar
Scenes from Madison County Iowa Calendar by mbgphoto
View other Covered bridges Calendars at

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Review of a Missouri Covered Bridge

Sandy Creek Covered Bridge State Historic Site

covered bridge photo
I find covered bridges to be a fascinating part of the American past, but I had not read much on their history till my recent visit to Sandy Springs Covered Bridge.

A few of the interesting facts I picked up on this trip include:
  1. Covered bridges date back to 786 B.C. 
  2. Many early American covered bridges were toll bridges 
  3. One advantage of the covered bridges were that they reassured farm animals when they crossed the water..
I also was able to take some photographs of the historic covered bridge at Sandy Creek.

I hope enjoy seeing my photos and reading a few of the tidbits I found out about covered bridges.

photos by mbgphoto

Sandy Creek Covered Bridge - approaching the bridge

Sandy Creek Covered bridge approaching the bridge

The first bridge was built over Sandy Creek in 1872, but in May of 1886 it was washed away by high waters. In August of 1886 the bridge that still stands today was built.
Some other important dates for this covered bridge include:

> 1952-renovation
> 1967-Missouri declares all remaining covered bridges to be historic sites
> 1984-latest reconstruction

Today the bridge is only open to pedestrian traffic.

Inside a Covered Bridge - Howe-truss construction

Howe-truss construction on covered bridge

Here is a photo I took inside the covered bridge. In the early days there would have been posters inside the bridge that were used for advertisements, much like we use billboards today. Today we see writings on the walls and various graffiti.

Covered Bridge from Back Side - other side of the bridge

covered bridge from back side photo by mbg photo

In the 1800's bridges were made of wood and when they were uncovered their life expectancy would be only about ten years due to being exposed to the elements.
Covering the bridge increased the life expectancy and also had several other advantages. The barn type structure of the bridge made animals feel safer when they crossed and the covering helped to strengthen the structure. In addition the bridges could be used for emergency shelter.

History of Covered Bridges - from Sandy Creek Historic Site

history of covered bridges

The above photo of information at the Sandy Creek Covered Bridge Historic Site shows some of the history of covered bridges.

In Missouri the first covered bridges were built in the 1850's. Soon after the Civil War many more covered bridges were built, increasing the total in Missouri to 30 covered bridges. Over the years fire, abandonment and the elements have eliminated all but four of the bridges that are still standing today.

Side view of Missouri Covered Bridge - covered bridge through the trees

covered bridge through the trees

Tolls on the Covered Bridge

rates of covered bridge tolls

3 cents for a foot passenger

This photo shows the tolls that were charged on a covered bridge. Tolls were used to raise money to maintain the bridges, however there were no government regulations like the toll bridges of today. In fact, anyone who built a bridge could set their own tolls at whatever they felt was needed. The prices were quite random.

There also was usually exceptions to the tolls for people attending church on Sundays and for people going to town meetings.

Bridge view from Creek Bed - looking up at the bridge

bridge view from the creek bed

Information for this lens was obtained from posters at the Sandy Creek Covered Bridge Historical Site. All photographs were taken by myself, Mary Beth Granger.

Sandy Creek Covered Bridge State Historic Site - about 30 minutes south of St. Louis

From St. Louis

Travel south on Hwy. 21 to Goldman Road; turn left. Continue on this road until it ends at Old Lemay Ferry Road; turn right. Continue into the historic site.

Here is a puzzle I created on Zazzle from one of my photographs.
Sandy Creek Covered Bridge Puzzle
Sandy Creek Covered Bridge Puzzle by mbgphoto
Check out more Sandy creek covered bridge Puzzles at Zazzle

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

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