Last Wabash River Covered Bridge Struggles to Survive

By WISE Web News

October 15, 2010 Updated Oct 15, 2010 at 1:34 PM EDT

GENEVA, Indiana (Indiana's NewsCenter)--It’s an American icon, the covered bridge. And there were once dozens of them spanning the mighty Wabash River. Now there is just one.

“This was the place they would stop if there was the threat of a rainstorm,” says Geneva, Indiana town manager Doug Milligan as he walks across Adams County’s Ceylon covered bridge.

The Ceylon Bridge has safely ushered folks over the Wabash since before the Civil War. Built as the uncovered Baker Bridge in 1860 it was covered 19 years later. It served travelers until 1973 when Adams County Road 900 was rerouted around it. Now the bridge is a beloved historic treasure in desperate need of some TLC.

“It helps generate tourism people want to see what’s here and how their ancestors lived what they dealt with,” says Doug Milligan who is heading up an effort to restore the bridge. “We think it’s important to economic development for our town.”

Milligan says rotted main spans need to be repaired or the bridge will eventually collapse. That would be a real loss to this community. The Ceylon Bridge has touched many lives as evidenced by all the initials, dates and declarations of love carved on its hand hewn beams.

Geneva has applied for a $400,000 dollar grant from the state to restore the bridge and add it to Adams County’s expanding hiking trail system. The town should find out in December if the money will come through, so the picturesque Ceylon Bridge can continue serving the community it has been part of for 150 years.

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