The Covered Bridges of Madison County

Originally boasting 19 covered bridges, six remain today, all listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The bridges were covered by order of the County Board of Supervisors to help preserve the large flooring timbers, which were more expensive to replace than the lumber used to cover the bridge sides and roof. Usually, the bridges were named for the resident who lived closest.

Roseman Covered Bridge

Roseman Bridge   Built in 1883 by Benton Jones, it is 107 feet in length and sits in its original location. Roseman was renovated in 1992 at a cost of $152,515. In Robert James Waller's novel The Bridges of Madison County and the movie of the same name, Roseman is the bridge Robert Kincaid seeks when he stops at Francesca Johnson's for directions; it is also where Francesca leaves her note inviting him to dinner.

Also known as the “haunted” bridge, Roseman is where two sheriff’s posses trapped a county jail escapee in 1892. Uttering a wild cry, it is said the man rose up straight through the roof of the bridge and disappeared. He was never found, and it was decided that anyone capable of such a feat must be innocent.

Holliwell Bridge   Holliwell Covered Bridge

Built in 1880 by Benton Jones, it is the longest covered bridge, measuring 122 feet. It remains in its original site over the Middle River southeast of Winterset. Holliwell was renovated in 1995 at a cost of $225,000. It is featured in The Bridges of Madison County movie.
 

Cedar Covered Bridge, 1883 and 2004

Built in 1883 by Benton Jones, Cedar bridge was 76 feet long and was the last bridge open to vehicles. It was built over Cedar Creek north of Winterset on what is now U.S. Highway 169. It was moved to its present location over the same creek in 1921. In Robert James Waller's novel The Bridges of Madison County, Cedar Bridge is where Francesca Johnson goes to meet Robert Kincaid to help him take photographs. Cedar is also the bridge on the novel’s cover. It was renovated in 1998 at a cost of $128,073.

Cedar was destroyed by an arsonist on Sept. 3, 2002. More details can be found here and here. A replica of the original bridge was built from the original plans using authentic materials and methods. The new bridge was dedicated on October 9, 2004.

 



Cutler-Donahoe Bridge

Built in 1870 by Eli Cox, it is 79 feet in length and features a pitched roof. It was originally located over the North River near Bevington. It was moved to its present site in Winterset's City Park in 1970.Cutler-Donahoe was renovated in 1997 for $35,538.

Hogback Bridge  



Hogback Covered Bridge

Built in 1884 by Benton Jones, it measures 97 feet, and is in its original location in a valley north of Winterset. Hogback gets its name from the limestone ridge which forms the west end of the valley. It was renovated in 1992 at a cost of $118,810.

Imes Bridge  


Imes Covered Bridge

The oldest of the remaining covered bridges, Imes was built in 1870 and is 81 feet in length. It was originally located over the Middle River west of Patterson. In 1887 it was moved to a spot over Clinton Creek southwest of Hanley. Imes Bridge was moved again to its present site over a natural ravine just east of St. Charles in 1977. It was renovated in 1997 for a cost of $31,807.


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