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Mansfield Covered Bridge - Indiana


 
The Mansfield Covered Bridge is the longest of the thirty-one covered bridges located in Parke County, Indiana. This Burr arch truss covered bridge spans 275 feet across the Big Raccoon Creek in the village of Mansfield, just off of Indiana State Road 59 (IN 59). Built in 1867 by covered bridge builder J.J. Daniels, the bridge cost $12,000 to construct. By that time, Daniels was well established around Parke County for his covered bridge work, as Daniels built twelve of the covered bridges in Parke County, nine of which are still standing today. It is possible to walk underneath the Mansfield Covered Bridge and take a look at some of his construction techniques in building the bridge. 

Most of the covered bridges in Parke County, including the Mansfield Covered Bridge, rest upon Indiana Sandstone that was quarried locally in the Big Raccoon Valley. The quarry exported stone for the construction of the famous brownstone buildings found in places like Chicago and Brooklyn, but also played their role in local projects as well. For a while, IN 59 passed over the bridge, but has since been bypassed just to the west. The bridge's roof and decks were replaced in 1980 and 1990. In 2006, after a storm tore the bridge's central roof off, repairs were finished a year later.

Mansfield, Indiana has long been a center of commerce in the area, and the covered bridge is a centerpiece of its heyday as a mill town. Mansfield was founded around 1820 as New Dublin, then was known as Dickson's Mills and Strain's Mills before being named Mansfield during the 1830s. Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon Church, crossed the Big Raccoon Creek in Mansfield in 1834 on his way to Missouri. Mansfield was built around the historic Mansfield Roller Mill, likely used to roll down grain. Having the covered bridge located near the mill was great for the transport of goods and people to and from the mill. Today, just a few historic buildings remain in Mansfield.

Today, the Parke County Covered Bridge Festival brings plenty of activity to Mansfield, as this covered bridge is one of the most popular bridges to visit during the festival every fall. In fact, there's also ground for vendors to set up next to the covered bridge. However, I visited on a peaceful day in June of 2019 and found that the Mansfield Covered Bridge was great to explore, even when quiet and in a passive setting. 

Inside the covered bridge.

Mansfield Covered Bridge portal.

Side profile of the covered bridge

Some sources say the Mansfield Covered Bridge is 247 feet in length, other sources show the bridge is 275 feet long.

Historic marker showing the early years of Mansfield, Indiana.

Mansfield Roller Mill.


How to Get There:



Sources and Links:
They Used To Call Me Poindexter - Bridges of Indiana's Counties - Parke Co. - #38 Mansfield (4/31)
Mansfield Restoration - The Old Mansfield Village Story

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