Parke County, Indiana
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State Sanatorium Covered Bridge (#1)


Built: 1913
Builder: Joseph A. Britton
Creek: Little Raccoon Creek
Location: Located on State Sanatorium Grounds (now Lee Allen Bryant Nursing Home) on private property. Closed.
Reference Code: #1,14-61 -38, 12-61-41, x-1, Adams 10-15N—7W Size: 154 ft long +8’ +8’, 16 ft wide, 12’ 6
Truss: Burr Arch 1 span
Foundation: Concrete, Elbridge Bovde

Bridge History:
Morlan’s Mill was built by Israel Morlan at the ford 3/4 mile east of Sand Creek Station. The building was a frame three story structure and the dam was a hollow frame. The water washed over into a sandy bed, washing out a basin 10 feet deep.

The wheel was a turbine and there were wheat burrs, corn burrs, and a sash saw.

There was a ford at Morlan’s Mill located near the north border of the State Sanatorium. During high water, travelers could cross Little Raccoon on the Plank Road Covered Bridge, about a mile south.

Though built near Morlan’s Mill, the State Sanatorium Bridge was built for, associated with, and owned by the State Sanatorium.

The 65th Indiana General Assembly approved establishment and financing of the State Tuberculosis Hospital or Sanatorium on March 8,1907. It was in full operation by the end of 1910. The sanatorium functioned as a city unto itself with a school, 3 doctors, 16 nurses, a dentist, electric and steam power plant, laundry, dairy, bakery, and chicken farm. In the era in which it was established, the best cure for tuberculosis was fresh air, rest, sunshine, and good food.

This bridge was built to haul coal to the State Sanatorium from mines one or two miles away. The Sanatorium was heated by coal and the power plant was driven by coal. Prior to building this bridge, coal had to be hauled to Rockville and then out by State Road (now US 36) to cross the Plank Road Bridge, then onto the State Sanatorium grounds.

Elbridge Boyde said he hauled the materials to make the approaches to the structure with his team of mules. His mule team was the first to cross the new structure.

The Plank Road Bridge washed out in the 1913 flood. It was replaced by the Howard Bridge, also built by J.A. Britton, the same year.

This bridge is the only one to have lightning rods. The bridge was on private property and had fallen to disrepair and was closed.  In 2009 the bridge was moved to CR 100 N and is now open to traffic.


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