Places & Events
Bridges of Madison County, Iowa
The bridges of Madison County were covered to protect the wood from rain and snow. Many of the original 19 bridges rotted out if not protected or were taken down if they became too narrow for modern traffic. The bridges also became a refuge for travellers, from the sun and heat in the summer and the snow and cold in the winter. Unintentionally it became a great hiding place for young adults to meet together in secret - hence the association with relationships and love. All of the bridges are covered with initial carvings commemorating these relationships.
Roseman Covered Bridge was built in 1883 by Benton Jones and stands 107 feet in length. The Roseman is the only remaining bridge that stands in its original setting. Legend says it is haunted because of a story in which the sheriff and his posse where chasing a thief toward the bridge while other posse where charging from the other side of the river. When the thief passed through the bridge he vanished leaving no trace. Roseman was renovated in 1992 at a cost of $152,515. It is featured in the movie and the book versions of The Bridges of Madison County.
Cedar Covered Bridge was built in 1883 by Benton Jones and stands 76 feet long. Originally called the Caspar Bridge it stood across Cedar Creek at the northern entrance of Winterset on what is now Highway 169. Fearing the weight of traffice it was moved just east along the Cedar River to a park. It was the last of the bridges still open to driven traffic. Cedar is on the cover of The Bridges of Madison County novel. Destroyed by arson in 2002, this replica was constructed and dedicated on October 9, 2004.
Holliwell Covered Bridge was built in 1880 by Benton Jones and C. K. Foster to span a river on the wetward trail. The longest covered bridge, Holliwell measures 122 feet in length, it features a bow-backed construction style. Featured in The Bridges of Madison County movie, it was renovated in 1995 for $225,000 and spans the Middle River.
Imes Covered Bridge built in 1870 is the oldest of the bridges and 81 feet in length. Imes was built over the Middle River west of Patterson with just latticed side boards. It was moved to Clanton Creek in 1877, and then finally to a road side park just east of St. Charles in 1977.
Hogback Covered Bridge was built in 1884 by H. P. Jones and stands 97 feet in length. While many bridges received their names from nearby families, Hogback is named after its style of construction - a chambered roof or slightly arched covering. Hogback stood at its original setting until it was renovated in 1992 at a cost of $118,810.
Cutler-Donahue Covered Bridge was built by Eli Cox in 1870 and stands 79 feet in length. It still has the wooden pins that holds it together. Originally located on the North River near Bevington, it was moved to Winterset's City Park in 1970.
McBride Bridge was located just northeast of Winterset but was burned down by an arson in the 1980's. All that remains are its charred bridgeboards on empty pilings. News reports that the bridge burnt down when a man became angry after breaking up with his girlfriend and tried to remove his initials that were carved in the bridge.