bridge information


The Melcher Bridge
World Guide #14-61-26
Parke County Guide #24

Melcher Bridge

The Melcher Bridge is 97 feet longand crosses Leatherwood Creek. It was built by J.J. Daniels in 1898 with a Burr Arch single span truss, and a foundation of hewn limestone & shale and poured concrete. It is also known as "Klondyke Bridge," "Marion Bridge," and "Leatherwood Bridge."

The name "Marion Bridge" comes from the Marion Brick Plant. The bridge may have been built to provide road access from Montezuma, which is located 2 miles west. The brick plant closed in the early 1920’s. The name "Leatherwood Bridge" often gets this bridge confused with Leatherwood Station Bridge, and Leatherwood Ford. Klondyke was the name of the community near the bridge. It was named after the Klondyke Gold Rush, though in this area, the rush was for clay to the Marion Brick Plant. The name "Melcher" is from the nearby railroad station. Two lines of the B&O Railroad crossed just west of the bridge.

Though this bridge was built by Joseph J. Daniels, it does not now have the trademark Daniels Arch. The portal has been changed to look more like those built by William Hendricks and Joseph A. Britton on their shorter bridges. It was posted to the National Register of Historic Places on December 22, 1978, and is open to traffic.

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.