Parke County, Indiana
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Cox Ford Covered Bridge (#36)


Built: 1913
Builder: Joseph A. Britton
Creek: Sugar Creek
Location: Located east of US 41, north of Indiana 47, and west of Turkey Run State Park.
Reference Code: #36, 14-61 -34, 12-61 -37, sg, Sugar Creek 28/29-17N—7W
Size: 176 ft long +8’ +8’, 16 ft wide, 13’ clearance
Truss: Burr Arch 1 span
Foundation: $385 Concrete on top of stone block
Original Cost: $4,235

Repair/Restoration History: Replaced iron bridge, built in 1896, destroyed by flood in 1913. Deck replaced in 1975 by County Highway Department.

Bridge History: Cox Ford was not bridged until 1896. When the County Commissioners advertised for bids, they received lower bids from J.J. Daniels and J.A. Britton, but they chose a more expensive iron bridge. Iron Bridges were "modern".

The iron bridge was washed away in the flood of 1913. The Armiesburg, the Plank Road, and the Hargrave covered bridges were destroyed in the same flood. A contract for a replacement covered bridge at Cox Ford was awarded to J.A. Britton. His bid was contingent on the reuse of the Armiesburg Covered Bridge arches and the iron bridge abutments. He raised the level of the bridge another 5 feet. Today, the abutments are in two segments with 5 feet of poured concrete placed on top of the original hewn stone.

The arches from the Armiesburg Bridge may have been sawn by Charlton Britton, Joseph A. Button’s father. His sons, including Edgar Britton, probably also assisted in the construction.

Joseph A. Britton built the Howard Bridge, at the Plank Road site and the State Sanatorium Bridge, the same year. (The Armiesburg Bridge was replaced with a concrete bridge.)

Although the water below the Cox Ford Bridge now looks shallow, several very large catfish were pulled out of there. Winfield Catlin and James C. Buchanen went fishing there on June 2,1920. Mr. Catlin probed the water with a long stick under the larger rocks. He found a large one and called to Mr. Buchanen. Mr. Buchanen immediately tumbled into the water from a 12 to 15 foot cliff (in a new suit of clothes) and tried to "hog" the fish. In the lively struggle both men’s hands were cut as they reached into the fish mouth and tried to drag it out of the water. Their trophy fish weighed 47 pounds.

They placed the fish in the car and took it to the Rockville Republican newspaper office. They said it wasn’t unusual, they had caught them up to 75 pounds.

Turkey Run State Park now extends past the Cox Ford Covered Bridge. A public parking lot and a canoe landing are located southwest of the bridge.


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