Matthews in Grant County, Indiana — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
Cumberland Covered Bridge
On March 26th 1913, the Mississinewa River floodwaters rose high enough (Fig. 2, 3) to push the Cumberland Covered Bridge from its abutments as local citizens watched helplessly. The bridge listed to a 70 degree angle on its way downstream, with the north end leading the way.
After drifting past the cemetery, it struck a large Sycamore tree on the embankment, causing it to turn 180 degrees - stopping at its final resting place on the south bank (Fig. 4) until the waters receded (Fig. 5). The old abutments stood empty (Fig. 6). Upon inspection, it was discovered that, while the bridge had lost some of its siding and roof, the 181 foot long Howe truss (framework) was still in sound structural condition.
After determining that it was salvageable, contractor George Leamon was hired to move the bridge back upstream to its original location. It was raised from the water and moved on wooden rollers to the road alongside the river. Horses and/or man operated capstans were used to move the bridge back down the road. A woman allowed the moving crew to cut a tree in her yard so the bridge could be turned around (Remember, the bridge is 181 feet long).
The old abutments were modified to raise the bridge
A temporary "crib" was built in the river at the crossing site (Fig. 7) to support it as the bridge, cribbage and all, (Fig. 8, 9) was pulled to its original position by cable and capstan. It was lowered onto the raised abutments and then re-sided and re-roofed (Fig. 10).
The Cumberland Covered Bridge has survived subsequent floods (Fig. 11, 12 are examples) due, in large part, to the wisdom of raising and anchoring the bridge when it was rebuilt in 1913.
Erected 2011 by Matthews Covered Bridge Historical Society, Inc.
Location. 40° 23.297′ N, 85° 29.102′ W. Marker is in Matthews, Indiana, in Grant County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of 3rd Street and Front Street, on the right when traveling north. Click for map. Marker is at southeast end of bridge. Marker is in this post office area: Matthews IN 46957, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 8 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Covered Bridge (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Village of Trask (approx. 3.1 miles away); Blackford County Revolutionary War Heroes (approx. 7.5 miles away); Blackford County Civil War Honor Roll Blackford County Courthouse (approx. 7.6 miles away); Blackford County W.W. II Honor Roll (approx. 7.6 miles away); Blackford County Korea & Vietnam Honor Rolls (approx. 7.6 miles away); Blackford County W.W. I Honor Roll (approx. 7.6 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Matthews.
Categories. • Bridges & Viaducts •
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas. This page has been viewed 456 times since then and 15 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on , by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas. 2, 3. submitted on , by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas. 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. submitted on , by Christopher Light of Valparaiso, Indiana. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.