Made popular by a Hollywood movie in the 90’s the covered bridges of Madison County have gained popularity both from tourists and local people alike. The romantic movie had a bridge on its story and many people are now visiting these bridges to see what the fuss was all about. The following are a few of the most famous covered bridges in Madison County. From the original 19, only 6 remain and are now under the protection of the National Registry of Historical Places.
1. Cedar Covered Bridge
This famous covered bridge is 76 feet long and was also featured in the book by Robert James Waller which was turned into an Academy Award wining movie. In the book, this is where the characters of Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood met to take photographs. This was also the last of the bridges to be opened for vehicles to pass.
These days, largely because of its historical importance, only people are allowed to use the bridge. In the late 2002, the bridge was severely damaged by fire and rendered unsafe and fit for demolition. Fortunately, the bridge was rebuilt using the original materials and method as it was first built, thanks to the will of the townspeople who wanted to preserve its historic integrity.
2. Imes Covered Bridge
Moved three times since it was constructed in 1870, Imes is one of the oldest bridges in the county’s history. Imes spans 81 feet and is currently located in eastern side of St. Charles where it is beautifully places over a deep ravine – it’s been there since 1977 and was last refurbished in 1997.
3. Roseman Covered Bridge
It is one of the most endearing landmarks of Madison County and was the one featured in the movie. There are many stories about the bridge and its history but let’s start on the facts. It was built in 1883 by a man named Benton Jones and it has never moved an inch even after going a few reconstructions – the latest being in 1992 to prepare it for a Hollywood movie set.
One of the most famous stories associated with the bridge was that of a jail escapee who was trapped by the sheriff’s men on the bridge in 1892. The story goes that the escapee was wrongfully accused and escaped to prove his innocence. Unfortunately, he got trapped in the bridge after a brief pursuit. He then allegedly uttered an unearthly cry to show his frustration and prove his innocence. Then suddenly, he rose from the floor of the bridge and went through the roof as if he were a ghost. The man was never seen again and after the incident it was then decided that a person capable of such a miraculous feat must be telling the truth.
4. Holliwell Covered Bridge
The one of the longest covered bridge in the registry, this Holliwell covered bridge has the span of a hundred and twenty two feet (122 ft.) and as also featured in the movie The Bridges of Madison County. Spanning the Middle River, this bridge still remains in its original site since it was built in 1880 by Benton Jones with the support of the town.
5. Hogback Covered Bridge
This historic piece of architectural prize constructed in 1884 and was originally located in Winterset. It was named after a ridge made of limestone which can be found in the western side of the famous valley. It was last renovated in the early nineties and is now protected and maintained using public funds.