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The Parke County Covered Bridge Festivalâ„¢ on October 12th-21st, 2018

JH Russell Covered Bridge

Built: 1897
Builder: Pearly Weaver and Geroge Weaver
Creek: Square Rock Branch, moved to dry ground
Location: Located in Penn Township, north of Annapolis, 2 1/2 miles west of Turkey Run.
Reference Code: 14-61 -39, 12-61 -42, X2, Penn 31 -17N—7W
Size: 42 ft long +4’ +4’, 12 ft wide, 12’ clearance
Truss: Modified Queen Post 1 span
Foundation: Square rocks from branch
Original Cost: $2.50/day  

Repair/Restoration History: Moved to Jordan and Woody Farm as barn about 1970. Destroyed.

Bridge History: Also known as "Jordan Bridge"

This structure was one of five privately owned covered bridges. The other four include State Sanatorium, the Lusk Covered Bridges and Clinton. It was one of two Queen Post type covered bridges in Parke County. The other was the Turkey Run Bridge.

William Kennedy and Sarah Russell Kennedy were some of the earliest settlers in this area. James Russell owned the farm later. Hugh Russell, Sarah’s brother, settled on the other side of Sugar Creek. A Mr. Davis, a member of the Covered Bridge committee of the State Historical Society, interviewed Pearly Weaver. Pearly Weaver was only 24 years old when he built the bridge in 1897 for J. H. Russell. He was assisted by his brother, George.

Having no experience in bridge building, he secured a book and drew up the plans. The abutments were constructed by a craftsman who had just completed a similar job nearby. He set up a derrick and lifted stones from the stream bed to build the abutments. The stones were uniform in thickness and were the reason it was called Square Rock Branch. The greater part of the materials were secured on the Russell Farm and labor was cheap, so the bridge cost was comparatively low. He remembered receiving $2.50 a day. He said he remembered looking through the woods to find two oak trees tall and straight enough to make the stringer beams. The trees were 21/2 feet in diameter and 50 feet long, squaring 12 inches at the top. The joists in the bridge, the side posts, and the nail ties were of clear poplar taken from an old cabin that had been located nearby. The trusses were made of maple and oak from the farm.

Captain James Russell is said to have wanted the bridge built so he would not have to be carried through the stream when he died. A James R. Russell operated the Armiesburg Mill near the Armiesburg Covered Bridge.

Ralph Jordan bought the farm and bridge. In 1944, he built an airport called "Port 0’ the Woods". Later the bridge was moved to dry ground and used as a barn. It deteriorated and was eventually torn down.