Builder: Joseph A. Britton
Creek: Little Raccoon
Location: Located 3 miles east of Rockville on present US 36
Reference Code: (#44) Adams 10-15N-8W
Truss: Burr Arch 1 span
Repair/Restoration History: Replaced Plank Road Bridge, which was destroyed in 1913 flood. Replaced by iron bridge in 1931 or 1932 during building of US 36.
Bridge History: The Howard Bridge was built in 1913 to replace the Plank Road Bridge, which was damaged in the 1913 flood. Joseph A. Britton retained the unique look of the earlier bridge. Unlike his "Button Portal," this portal had the squared off opening and rounded false front hiding a normal peak roof, very much like the earlier Plank Road Bridge.
Joseph A. Britton constructed the nearby State Sanatorium Bridge on the other side of the State Sanatorium property and the Cox Ford Bridge on Sugar Creek on the traditional Britton plan that same year.
There are photographs showing the bridge in 1916 and texts describing it as still in good condition in 1927. The last remnants of the Plank Road were dug up and the road was reconstructed east of the Howard Bridge site in about 1930 as US 36 was built. At the same time period, the bridge was replaced with a two lane iron bridge. The swampy ground had preserved the oak planks of the Plank Road from the 1850’s to the 1930’s.
The Howard Bridge may have been named for General Tilghman Ashurst Howard, a Rockville favorite son, He was born in 1797 in South Carolina. His mother died when he was two months old, and he was raised by his half brother, John McElroy.
At age 19, he was a school teacher and store clerk in Newport, East Tennessee. By age 21, he was a lawyer and at 27 was elected to the Tennessee State Senate. He moved to Bloomington, Indiana, in 1830 and to Rockville in 1832. He was appointed as Indiana Attorney General from 1833 until 1839, when he was elected to Congress. In 1835 he was commissioned by President Jackson to investigate the growing conflicts over Indian treaty claims. In February 1844, he went to Washington D.C. to promote The Wabash & Erie Canal in spite of political resistance at home. In June 1844 he was appointed by President Tyler as Charge d’Affaires to the Republic of Mexico. In August, on his trip through Texas, he died. In 1847 his body was returned for burial in his own orchard in Rockville.