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The Parke County Covered Bridge Festivalâ„¢ on October 13th-22nd, 2017

Armiesburg Covered Bridge

Built: 1854
Builder: Henry Wolf
Creek:
Big Raccoon Creek
Location:
Located on Lafayette Road in Armiesburg.
Reference Code: (#42) Wabash 7/12-15N—8/9W
Truss: Long Truss with Arch
Original Cost: $6,500 or $7,500  

Repair/Restoration History: Destroyed by flood in 1913. Replaced by two span concrete bridge. This concrete bridge collapsed in 1930 and was replaced by the present concrete bridge. Arches were reused in Cox Ford Covered Bridge, #36. 

Bridge History: Armiesburg was the site where General William Henry Harrison crossed the Big Raccoon in 1811 on his way to the Battle of Tippecanoe. Later, in 1812. General Samuel Hopkins camped nearby on his campaign. (Therefore it is Armiesburg, not Armyburg.)  A mill was built at Armiesburg in the 1820’s by Abner Cox. (Or. Solomon Allen built a mill in 1827.) Later, John W. Underwood operated the mill. The first was of logs with a brush dam. Arthur Patterson replaced it with a 3 story frame structure and a log dam, which was later operated by James Patterson. Judge J.Y. Patterson, and J.W. Russel.

Aquilla Laverty bought the mill in 1890 and remodeled it with a stone basement, new rollers, steam engine, and stone dam. He tried to move it to his farm as a steam powered mill and elevator, but he fell from the building and died 5 days later on December 1,1896. The mill was never rebuilt. The county commissioners decided in 1852 to build a bridge at Armiesburg. As the rumor of the decision became a news leak, county residents began protesting. The county commissioners ware convinced to call a special meeting at which the bridge was postponed for another year. Various groups wanted bridges built at Manwaring Mill or Sugar Creek, Portland Mills, Mansfield Mills, Bridgeton, and Reelsville over Big Raccoon and at other places on Little Raccoon.

The Armiesburg Bridge was authorized by the county commissioners in June, 1854. The county authorized $5,500 the first year and an additional $2.000 a year later. There were $700 in public donations. Through the years there has been much confusion over the identity of Parke County’s earliest covered bridge builder. Henry Wolf has been confused with his son. Aaron Wolf. In fact, Aaron J. Wolf was born Armiesburg in 1854 while Henry was building the Armiesburg Bridge. Aaron Wolf later operated a successful sawmill in Waveland. Indiana, and held several Parke County offices.

A photo of the bridge shows clearly that it did not have the kingposts of a Burr arch. Stephen Daniels and his son, Joseph J. Daniels were representatives of Colonel Long and his patented truss and were building Long Truss bridges in Ohio during this same time period.

Part of the wood for the Armiesburg Bridge was sawn at the nearby Armiesburg Mill. Some was sawed by Julius Egbert and Chariton Britton with a whipsaw. Chariton Britton gave the whipsaw to his son, Joseph A. Britton, another Parke County bridge building giant. The wood included local beech, oak and walnut. Armiesburg was once a thriving community with mills, stores, and population. It was the second county seat, and court was held there in 1827. Armiesburg launched and passed many flatboats of Parke County pork, grain, whiskey, lumber, and other products on their way to the South and New Orleans.