bridge information


The Sim Smith Bridge
World Guide #14-61-14
Parke County Guide #23

Sim Smith Bridge

The Sim Smith Bridge was built by J.A. Britton in 1883 and named for a nearby landowner at the time, Simeon Smith. It crosses Leatherwood Creek, which gives it the lesser known name "Leatherwood Ford." The bridge is 98 feet long and uses a Burr Arch truss structure.

This was J.A. Britton’s third Parke County Bridge. The arch of the Sim Smith bridge is composed of incompletely cut segments. It has one "Britton Portal" and one "Daniels Portal;" Joseph A. Britton originally built it with his trademark openings, but the North end was modified into the "Daniels Arched Portal" in a later repair. When US 36 was surveyed in the 1920’s, the Sim Smith Bridge was saved by the rerouting of the highway. It is still in use.

This bridge has a reputation for being haunted. In one story from circa 1890, travelers waited on one side of the bridge for the horse and buggy they heard approaching from the other side. However, the buggy never appeared, and could not be spotted despite the travelers leaving their own buggy to search.

In another story, two high school students investigated the haunting claims and, at first, found nothing more than a glow worm. Then on the other side of the bridge, they both saw a Native American woman carrying a papoose. They ran to their car, but when they drove across the bridge, she was gone.

Parke County is the home of the nation's largest Covered Bridge Festival (see Established in 1821 and named in honor of the first territorial delegate to Congress, Benjamin Parke, this county is located in West Central Indiana and Rockville is the County Seat.

Parke County originally had fifty-seven (57) known covered bridges plus one (1) it shared with Vermillion County to it's west. Today it has thirty (30) remaining.

Points of interest in the County include: Turkey Run State Park, Billie Creek Village, Raccoon Lake Recreation Area, and all of the beautiful Covered Bridges.