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MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Cloverdale in Owen County, Indiana — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

The Cataract Covered Bridge

 
 
The Cataract Covered Bridge Marker image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, May 23, 2014
1. The Cataract Covered Bridge Marker
Inscription. The Cataract Covered Bridge is one of Owen County’s historic treasures. It is the only remaining covered bridge in the county. It is also only one of six Smith Truss covered bridges in the state, and one of the finest remaining examples of this truss.

The Covered Bridge Story
Covered bridges have been built around the world for centuries. With America’s rapid expansion and abundant timber supply, covered bridges were built at an unsurpassed rate. Covering a bridge protects the wooden trusses from rotting. Without a roof, a bridge might last only four years.

The first known covered bridge in Indiana was in Henry County in 1834. By the 1880s Indiana had between 400-500 covered bridges.

In 1876, the community of Cataract includes mills and shops. The bridge linked Cataract with residents on the other side of Mill Creek.

The Smith Truss
The late 1800s represented a time when manufacturing was moving from individually made items to mass production. The Smith Bridge Company introduced new techniques for covered bridge construction to compete with iron bridges that appeared after the Civil War. Rather than build covered bridges from scratch on site, Ohio Native Robert W. Smith built the Smith Truss in the company’s factory in Toledo, disassembled it and shipped it out for reassembly.
Close-up of Upper Left Image on Marker image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, May 23, 2014
2. Close-up of Upper Left Image on Marker
Caption: Mill at Upper Falls (note bridge in background)


Weathering a Torrent
In 1875, a flood destroyed the first covered bridge at Cataract and more than a dozen bridges in Owen County. One of the few bridges to survive the flood was the covered bridge at Gosport. The Gosport Covered Bridge used a Smith Truss.
One month later, when Owen County let bids for a replacement bridge, their advertisement requested a Smith Truss. The current bridge with its Smith Truss was completed in 1876.

Restoration of the Cataract Covered Bridge
Extensive rehabilitation has been conducted to preserve the bridge. Restoration included: Funding for the project came from the Indiana Department of Transportation through Federal Highway Transportation Enhancement Funds.

Bridge Vital Statistics:
 
Erected by Indiana Department of Natural Resources.
 
Location.
Close-up of Illustration on Marker image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, May 23, 2014
3. Close-up of Illustration on Marker
39° 26.01′ N, 86° 48.809′ W. Marker is near Cloverdale, Indiana, in Owen County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of N. Cataract Road and Owen Park Road. Click for map. Marker and covered bridge are located in Cataract Falls unit of the Lieber State Recreation Area; the above directions are to the main entrance to the Cataract Falls unit. Marker is in this post office area: Poland IN 47868, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 11 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Cataract Falls Covered Bridge (within shouting distance of this marker); Cataract Falls (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Ten O'Clock Line (approx. 9.5 miles away); Camp Hughes (approx. 9.5 miles away); Ferry Bridge (approx. 10.1 miles away); Owen County (Indiana) War Memorial (approx. 10.6 miles away); Owen County War Memorial (approx. 10.6 miles away); Owen County Courthouse (approx. 10.6 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Cloverdale.
 
Categories. Bridges & ViaductsIndustry & Commerce
 
Close-up of Right Image on Marker image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, May 23, 2014
4. Close-up of Right Image on Marker
Caption: Robert W. Smith was a pioneer in bridge manufacturing. He applied prefabrication techniques to his patented Smith Truss, allowing him erect hundreds of bridges a year.
Close-up of Lower Left Image on Marker image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, May 23, 2014
5. Close-up of Lower Left Image on Marker
Caption: Flooding is a common occurrence in Indiana. A natural process, floods can have a devastating impact on bridges, buildings and agriculture.
Marker in Cataract Covered Bridge image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, May 23, 2014
6. Marker in Cataract Covered Bridge
Marker is located at the northwest corner of the bridge
Cataract Covered Bridge image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, May 23, 2014
7. Cataract Covered Bridge
View from west bank of Mill Creek north of the bridge
Cataract Covered Bridge image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, May 23, 2014
8. Cataract Covered Bridge
1988 concrete bridge to the right of covered bridge
Stone Abutment of West Landing of Bridge image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, May 23, 2014
9. Stone Abutment of West Landing of Bridge
Interior of Cataract Covered Bridge image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, May 23, 2014
10. Interior of Cataract Covered Bridge
Mill Creek Above Upper Cataract Falls image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, May 23, 2014
11. Mill Creek Above Upper Cataract Falls
View to north from bridge
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas. This page has been viewed 310 times since then and 24 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11. submitted on , by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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