bridge information


The State Sanatorium Bridge
World Guide #14-61-38
Parke County Guide #1

Sanitorium Bridge

The 168-foot long Burr Arch truss State Sanatorium Bridge is located on private property and originally crossed Big Raccoon Creek, and the only bridge said to have lightening rods. It was built by J.A. Britton in 1910. At the time, there was a ford at Morlan’s Mill, which was located near the north border of the State Sanatorium. During high water, travelers could cross Little Raccoon on the Plank Road Covered Bridge, about a mile south (now highway 36).

Though it was built near Morlan’s Mill, the State Sanatorium Bridge was built for, associated with, and owned by the State Sanatorium. The 65th Indiana General Assembly approved establishment and financing of the State Tuberculosis Hospital or Sanatorium on March 8,1907. It was in full operation by the end of 1910.

This bridge was built to haul coal to the State Sanatorium from mines one or two miles away. Prior to building the bridge, coal had to be hauled to Rockville and then out by State Road (now US 36) to cross the Plank Road Bridge, then onto the State Sanatorium grounds. Elbridge Boyde said he hauled the materials to make the approaches to the structure with his team of mules. His mule team was the first to cross the new structure.

The Plank Road Bridge washed out in the 1913 flood. It was replaced by the Howard Bridge, also built by J.A. Britton, the same year.

The Sanatorium Covered Bridge was rehabilitated and moved to a new location approximately 1 mile upstream, to the site of the old Adams Bridge. The original Adams Bridge was built in 1907 by Jefferson P. Van Fossen and was the same size as the State Sanatorium Bridge and destroyed by flood in 1969 and washed under the State Sanatorium Bridge just a mile downstream from this location.

Work on the $1.34 million project started on July 30, 2008 and was opened for traffic on December 29, 2008, though some tasks, such as painting, were completed the following spring.

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.