Peabody Singing Tower

 NORTH MANCHESTER HISTORICAL SOCIETY
 North Manchester, Indiana

Recipient of Indiana Historical Society's Awards--"2013 Outstanding Project Award" &
"2009 Outstanding Historical Organization".  Welcome to our web site!  Enjoy using this Portal to Our Past!

  Home  Eel River  Native Americans  Pioneers  Agriculture  Businesses  Roads  Railroads  Banks  Military    
N.Manchester   Liberty Mills   Laketon   Townships  College   Schools  Churches  Cemeteries  Deeds
Photographs  Biographies  Family Roots  Obits  Newspapers  Architecture  Newsletters   More  


Eel River Valley





  Copyright © 2009-2014
North Manchester
Historical Society
All rights reserved.


Please contact
our Center for History
if you find
inaccuracies or
inappropriate content.


     

Source: NMHS Newsletter, February 1991

Covered Bridge Progress Report

The North Manchester Covered Bridge, one of the town’s best known historical landmarks, is undergoing structural renovation with special attention to replacement of decayed and weakened structural members on the underside of the bridge, new flooring, and reinforcement of the east end.  When repairs are completed the maximum load capacity of the bridge will increase from three tons to five tons.

A vital link in the town’s highway system, the bridge was closed in the mid-1980’s but reopened to traffic more than a year ago at the urging of the Historical Society.  A traffic count made early last fall indicated heavy traffic on the bridge, and without the bridge this traffic would be diverted to streets used by school buses and student pedestrians going to and from the North Manchester Elementary School.  This would create both safety problems and traffic congestions on the streets leading to the school and at their intersection with State Road 114.

Interest in preserving the bridge was especially heightened following the disastrous fire that nearly destroyed the Roann Covered Bridge.  Though efforts are underway to restore the bridge, much of it will be a replacement because so much of the original was consumed in the fire.  The North Manchester Covered Bridge is the only remaining one in Wabash County with most of the original structure intact.

The combined concern of the historical society, county, and town officials resulted in a county appropriation of $35,000 for repairs.  After work started, decaying beams were discovered under one end of the bridge, which required an additional $5,000.

Additional efforts seek to assure the security of the bridge.  Interior lighting of the bridge is adequate, but lighting at the approaches is being increased, and the feasibility of installing a security system is also being investigated.

The bridge was built in 1872 by the Smith Bridge Company of Toledo, Ohio, for $3,515, exclusive of stonework on abutments.  The entire structure is built of wood, put together with pins, iron bolts and square cut nails.  It is a single span over the river with no center supports.  For the Indiana Sesquicentennial in 1966, the bridge was extensively repaired with steel pylons near the west end, new flooring, and general renovation.

Our society monitors the bridge, marshalling resources to assure its preservation.  It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a major artifact in the town’s outdoor museum.  With continued vigilance the bridge will stand for many more generations as a reminder of how our ancestors lived.  That is, after all, what our historical society is for.


Research Note: According to the write-ups by Ron Branson at www.countyhistory.com/wabash/ :

THE NORTH MANCHESTER COVERED BRIDGE

Actually, there have been 3 covered bridges built on this stretch of Sycamore Street, where it intersects South Mill Street , crossing the Eel River in Section 5, Township 29 North, and Range 7 East, on the southeast edge of North Manchester, Wabash County.

The first North Manchester Covered Bridge, built in about 1850 and lost in 1857, was listed in the World Guide as #14-85-19 (according to G. Gould's 1977 list), while the second Manchester Covered Bridge, built in about 1860 and lost in 1872, was listed in the World Guide as 14-85-20 (also according to G. Gould's 1977 list).

The current North Manchester Covered Bridge is a single span Smith #4 Patented Truss structure with a length of 150 feet, or 174 feet including the 12-foot overhang at each end, is 18 feet wide and 12 feet high. Built in 1872 by the Smith Bridge Company, the structure cost $3515, not including the expense of the abutments. Old images of this bridge show a walkway attached to the north side of the structure, which has been removed and, because of the bridges extreme width (it is the widest Covered Bridge in Indiana), has been moved inside the main structure. Though no historical marker is present, the current North Manchester Covered Bridge was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1982 and is listed in the 1989 World Guide as 14-85-02.


THE LAKETON COVERED BRIDGE

Actually, there were 2 structures known as the Laketon Covered Bridge, neither of which is now standing. Both structures were built on the same site and crossed the Eel River in Sections 10/15, Township 29 North, and Range 6 East, Wabash County.

Although the builder is unknown, the first Laketon Covered was constructed in about 1858 and lost in 1874. The first Laketon Covered Bridge was listed as #14-85-14 in the World Guide (according to G. Gould's 1977 list.

The second Laketon Covered Bridge was a Smith Truss structure having a length of 165 feet, or 189 feet including the 12-foot overhang at each end, was 16 feet wide and 14 feet high. Built by the Smith Bridge Company in 1875 the second Laketon Covered Bridge was listed as #14-85-15 in the World Guide (according to G. Gould's 1977 list) and lost in 1957.


THE LIBERTY MILLS COVERED BRIDGE

Actually, there were 3 structures known as the Liberty Mills Covered Bridge, none of which are standing. The all three were built on the same site and originally crossed the Eel River in Section 22, Township 30 North, and Range 7 East, Wabash County.

The first Liberty Mills Covered was built in 1859, listed as #14-85-16 in the World Guide (according to G. Gould's 1977 list) and was lost in about 1867.

The second Liberty Mills Covered Bridge was built in 1867 under the supervision of J. Comstock and had a length of 175 feet, or 193 feet including the 10-foot overhang at each end. The second Liberty Mills Covered Bridge was listed as #14-85-17 in the World Guide (according to G. Gould's 1977 list) and lost in about 1872.

The last Liberty Mills Covered Bridge was a single span Smith Truss structure that was 175 feet long, or 193 feet including the 9-foot overhang at each end, with a portal clearance 16 feet wide by 16 feet high. Built by the Smith Bridge Company in 1872, the third Liberty Mills Covered Bridge was listed as #14-85-18 in the World Guide (according to G. Gould's 1977 list) and lost in 1953.