Monday, July 16, 2012

Celebration In Ceylon

Ceylon Covered Bridge as seen in 2010, notice the supports underneath.

When I saw the Ceylon Bridge in late 2010, I realized that the span would need to be rehabilitated in the near future to ensure it's existence for another century and beyond. At first glance the bridge didn't look that bad, but a closer look underneath revealed a different story. Cribbing and other supports had been installed to support a sagging lower chord and floor system. I would learn shortly after that plans were already in the works to restore the bridge, and just over a year later that work would begin. So when I made a return visit Saturday to see a community celebrate the restoration of it's iconic piece of history, I saw a bridge ready to survive for generations to come.

Originally referred to as the Baker Bridge and constructed in 1879, it replaced another smaller pony type span that was built in 1860. The earlier structure was likely not sturdy enough to withstand the floods on the Wabash. Yes, the Ceylon Covered Bridge has the distinction of being the last covered bridge standing to have spanned the iconic state river of Indiana. I say that in past tense only because many years back the river decided to change course and left the bridge spanning an often dry depression. The new bridge sits a few hundred feet to the East and the old one sits in a roadside park. Only when the Wabash floods does this back-channel see a significant amount of water. In this years drought it sits over a mere puddle or two at best. A future endeavor might include finding a way to introduce water under the bridge on a year-round basis.

Despite it's High-and-dry status, It is still a wonderful sight to see the lone survivor of the Wabash standing proud!