Built in 1856, the Crooks Covered Bridge is said to be the oldest of the 31 remaining covered bridges in Parke County, Indiana. The covered bridge is a 154-foot-long single-span Burr Arch truss structure that includes a hewn stone foundation. The bridge crosses Little Raccoon Creek just southeast of Rockville, Indiana, and is also known as the Walker Adams Bridge or Darroch's Lost Bridge. But the Crooks Covered Bridge has quite an interesting history behind it as well.
Crooks Covered Bridge, like many others in Parke County and beyond, was originally associated with a mill. In this case, it was Parkers Mill, which was built in 1830 on Little Raccoon Creek. Located about a half mile south of the Little Raccoon Bridge on the Rockville New Discovery Road, accounts from the mill state that a covered bridge was constructed just upstream from the ripple and dam. Parke County Commissioners records indicate that a bridge crossing the Little Raccoon Creek was discussed in 1850. In December 1855, a bridge was ordered and it was to be located on the old Rockville Greencastle Road. The original builder of the bridge was Henry Wolf and the bridge was built for $1,200.
Over time, the waterway where Crooks Covered Bridge crossed over had filled with sand and the creek had reportedly moved 20 rods to the west. Topographic maps show that an intermittent stream known as Molasses Creek was in about the location of the old creek bed. It had been decided to dismantle the bridge in 1863, but here's where various accounts make the true story seem murky. Some say the bridge washed downstream and a foundation and new road were put in place where the bridge debris landed. Others claim that the creek changed course and the bridge needed to be moved to span the banks. Another source reports General Arthur Patterson, one of the founders of Rockville, Indiana, rebuilt the bridge in 1872. Another account states that prolific covered bridge builder Joseph J. (J.J.) Daniels recommended that the Crooks Covered Bridge be rebuilt at Darroch's Site, which he considered safe from flooding. Daniels had his hand in building many covered bridges in Parke County.
I visited the Crooks Covered Bridge in June 2019. The red-painted covered bridge is a joy to visit and there is even a parallel road through the creek as well where you can take pictures from. The bridge windows are a nice touch. If you are taking a tour of the Parke County covered bridges, the Crooks Covered Bridge is certainly worth a stop, whether it's for the bridge's back story or the quaint feeling you get from seeing the bridge in modern times.
|A view inside the covered bridge.|
|Side view of the covered bridge.|
|Parallel road along the covered bridge. The low profile may mean fording the creek during periods of higher water.|
|A gentle creek passes under the Crooks Covered Bridge.|
|A parting shot of the Crooks Covered Bridge. Someone must have thought that the bridge clearance was nice.|
How to Get There:
Sources and Links:
Indiana Covered Bridge Society - The Crooks Bridge
Parke County - Crooks Covered Bridge # 12
Indiana Memory - Crooks Covered Bridge, Parke County, Indiana
Susan Tregoning Photography - A Guide to Parke County, Indiana: The Covered Bridge Capital of America
Travel Indiana - Explore the Covered Bridge Capital this Season
The Municipal - Maintaining covered bridges for generations to come