Bridgeton Covered Bridge (#8)
Builder: Dan Collom & local community
Creek: Big Raccoon Creek
Location: Bridgeton Indiana
Reference Code: #8, 14-61-04, 12-61-04, bt Raccoon 15/22-14N-7W
Size: 245 feet long, +11’+11’, 13’ ft wide, 12’ clearance
Truss: Burr Arch 2 Span
Foundation: Sandstone Block
Original Cost: $10,200
Repair/Restoration History: Bypassed 1967. Replaced 2 earlier open bridges which fell in. Refurbished 1988-9 by Bridgeton Heritage Foundation. Destroyed by arson April 28, 2005, rebuilt in 2006.
Bridge History: The first Bridgeton Mill was built by Kockwood and Silliman in about 1823. It was owned by Oniel and Wasson and later bought by James Searing. James A. Rea worked the mill from about 1850 to 1860. Ralph Sprague bought the mill in 1862 and it burned down in 1869. In 1871 he rebuilt the mill, and it was operated by Joseph Cole. In 1882 Daniel Webster bought the mill, and in 1889 P.T. Winney bought it. In June of 1914, George Brake and Fred Mitchell purchased the mill. Mr. Brake said that the south half of the dam was constructed in 1913, the remainder in 1916. It is concrete, 225 feet long and 9 feet high.
In earlier years, the town developed a bad reputation and was often referred to as "Sodom". The ladies of the town tried to change the town's reputation. They renamed the town Bridgeton for its early bridge. The first bridge was open with wood rails and piers. Owen Wimmer and family were dropped into the mill pond with their wagon and team when it fell in. J.H. Kerr and others rescued them A second and similar bridge was built on the same site. This bridge fell down, too, just after J.H. Kerr drove cattle across. A covered bridge was built in the same location, just above the mill dam with the abutments attached to the dam structure in 1868. On May 6, 1868, before the bridge was completed, three men tried to cross the rain swollen waters in a boat. It overturned and James Shumaker survived while William Clark and Gideon Crooks were drowned. (This location remains a dangerous place for canoers. The rapid current will pull a boat or canoe through the breach in the dam before they can turn the craft or secure a hold on the tone wall.)
The Bridgeton Station was on the Indiana Coal Railroad. The railroad only hauled freight and coal.
The present mill has been converted to run on electric power. Robert Weis and the Weis Milling Company operated the mill until 1995 when it was purchased by Mike Roe. The current owner has restored the mill and produces over 20 different milled products.
The 1868 bids included: Mr Epperson, Howe Plan, $16,000; Wheelock and McCoy, Burr Plan, $17,400 and Smith Plan, $10,200; J.J. Daniels, Burr Plan, $10,200. The construction was awarded to J.J. Daniels. Today, the Daniels portals have been squared off. Decorated benches and steps have been built at the portals. The 13 wide bridge is noticeably narrower than other covered bridges. The creek has silted in below the bridge making the bridge seem very low.