Take a Dark Journey Through the Medora Covered Bridge

Stretching 460 feet long, the Medora Covered Bridge claims distinction as the longest historic covered span in the United States, its windowless design earning it the nickname “The Dark Bridge.”

(Photo: Lee Lewellen)
(Photo: J.S. Rice on Flickr)

(Photo: J.S. Rice on Flickr)

Seven floods and a bypass could not sink the Medora Covered Bridge, the longest historic covered span in the United States. While you can’t drive over it any more, walking or biking through the resonant span is really a better way to appreciate the sight, sound and artistry of the 1875 bridge over White River in Jackson County.

Joseph “J.J.” Daniels constructed the three-span Medora Covered Bridge, one of over 50 bridges he built. Today, only a fraction of his works remains. Medora, the only three-span covered bridge left in Indiana, incorporates one of Daniels’ trademarks — long, perfectly symmetrical arches. Daniels incorporated a Burr Arch Truss design that allowed the bridge to stretch 460 feet over the east fork of the White River. The lack of windows earned the National Register-listed structure the nickname “The Dark Bridge.”

(Photo: Lee Lewellen)

Closed to traffic after being bypassed by a newer concrete bridge in 1972, the Medora Covered Bridge sat underused for decades. Jackson County Commissioners spent $100,000 to address emergency structural failures, and Brownstown Exchange Club helped fund an engineering study. The Jackson County Parks and Recreation Department won a transportation grant, a National Historic Covered Bridge grant, and federal stimulus money to restore the dilapidated span so folks today and long into the future can enjoy the sensory experience of traveling — on foot or bicycle — through the historic darkness.

(Photo: Paul Seigle on Flickr)

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