Home of Indiana's Largest Festival

The Parke County Covered Bridge Festivalâ„¢ on October 12th-21st, 2018

Coal Creek Covered Bridge

Built: 1869, rebuilt 1898
Builder: Joseph J. Daniels, rebuilt also
Creek:
Coal Creek
Location: Located at Lodi and 1/2 mile south of Silverwood.
Reference Code:
#33, 14-61 -30, 12-61 -33, rb, Liberty 2-17N—9W
Size:
170 ft long +12’ +12’, 16 ft wide, 13 ft clearance
Truss: Burr Arch 1 span
Foundation: Stone reinforced by wood rip rap
Original Cost: $7,000  

Repair/Restoration History: J.J. Daniels was paid $2.25 in 1873 for visiting and examining the bridge. The embankment was repaired in 1874. Destroyed by arson in 1992.

Bridge History: Also known as Lodi Bridge. Lazurus Shirk settled on Coal Creek in 1826. James Marks came in March 1830. The east hill of Lodi was called Golderay. The town was platted on April 11,1836, and named Fullerton by Peter Blakewell. It was owned by Jesse Bowen and Elijah Thompson. It may have been named for Robert Fulton, who built the first successful steamboat.

The name of the town was changed to Lodi on January 26,1837. It may have been named for a city near Milan, Italy, where Napoleon won a great victory over the Austrians in 1796. The Post Office was called Lodiville.

In 1857, the name of the town was changed to Waterman in honor of Dr. Waterman who moved to the town with his business enterprises of a pork packing plant and store. An R.M. Waterman owned large coal fields north of the town in 1874. Lodi was quite prosperous during the ten years the Wabash and Erie Canal was in operation. The last canal boat passed Lodi on the way to Lafayette in 1875. The feeder dam for the canal can be seen from the covered bridge.

Joseph J. Daniels built the covered bridge in 1869 for $7,000 and after major damages, rebuilt it in 1898. He said it was harder to do the rebuilding than it was to do the original construction. In the 1880’s Lodi businesses and buildings included the Lewis Davis and Charles Bright flour mill, a drug store, a dry goods store, grocery store, two blacksmith shops, a sawmill, a Masonic Lodge, a G.A.R. Post, and a school.

A health spa was in operation for many years, built around the Lodi Artesian Well north of town. The well was purchased in 1913 by Chicago capitalists. They placed a large pipe into the well that flowed into a basin. A large dance pavilion and a baseball diamond were built. The resort was most popular through the depression. The pavilion was converted to a roller skating rink. The well was used to fill the swimming pool. The business came to an end when Fred Clingan attempted to clean out the well pipe and instead plugged it. While many were sad to close a landmark, others expressed gratitude for relief from the sulfurous smell of the water.

The Lodi Iron Bridge crosses the Wabash. It was built in 1906 by the Lafayette Engineering Company of Lafayette, Indiana, and engineered by Fred Rush of Terre Haute. Lodi remains a small town served by a garage, thrift shop, sign shop, mower and bait shop, vegetable stand, and archery and gun shop.

In 1991, the portal lettering incorrectly identified both J.A. Britton and J.J Daniels as builders. The roof is of wood shingles, and antique style advertising has been reapplied.

Sadly, this bridge was lost to arson in 1999.