Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Bridges of Madison County

Madison County, Iowa, is the home of the covered bridges made famous in the book and movie, and I set out to find them. You can get a good map at the Visitors Center.

Hogback Bridge is in its original location over the North River. It was built in 1884, and was named for a nearby limestone ridge.

Cedar Bridge was built in 1883, but was destroyed by arson in 2002 and rebuilt in 2004.

At this point in our tour, we went through the town of Winterset, which also has some interesting things to see. John Wayne was born here in 1907, and you can tour the house where it happened.

The Madison County Museum and Historical Complex had some neat rusty stuff.

The Madison County Courthouse is yet another beautiful Iowa County Courthouse, and the dome can be seen for miles around. Prisoners kept on the third floor in the 1800s covered the walls with graffiti, and the graffiti can still be seen.

In the Winterset City Park is the Cutler-Donahoe Bridge. Built in 1871, it was moved here in 1970.

Also in the park is Clark Tower, a three-story limestone structure built on a bluff. It was built in 1926 to honor the Clarks, pioneer settlers of the county. You can climb to the top where there is a great view.

Now back to our bridge tour. Roseman Bridge was built in 1883 and is still in the original location over the Middle River. It played a prominent role in both the book and film version of "The Bridges of Madison County."

Holliwell Bridge was also featured in the film. Built in 1880, it is the longest bridge and is still in its original location over the Middle River.

The last bridge, Imes Bridge, was over by the interstate. Built in 1870 it is the oldest of the remaining bridges, and has been moved twice. All of the bridges were renovated in the 1990s.


  1. Great pictures! Heading to Iowa next month and will have to add this to list of things to see.

  2. Liked this posting. I will have to show mom the photos of the covered bridges. I thought it was very interesting how they differ in style from the bridges in PA.

  3. Great idea for a post! And beautifully done.

  4. Thanks. Very interesting. I often wonder why they built covered bridges as it doesnt seem to have a purpose other than structural merit.

  5. This was a great post of the Covered Bridges! I always go out of my way to see one if I know its around!
    OH MY MAN the DUKE--I didnt even know he was from IOWA! The Statue of him is awesome--safe journey

  6. Beautiful bridges and I loved that movie, thanks for sharing I loved this post!

  7. Thanks to Google...they built covered bridges to preserve the main "road "timbers, which were very expensive to replace.

  8. This was a great tour of Madison county. That you.

    Dan (Bubbadan)

  9. Thanks for reminding me of the covered bridges. Can't wait to someday get there myself. I eat this stuff up! Great post Diana!

    Cheers! Merri

  10. Interesting Courthouse and Tower. I had no idea the book & movie were based in Iowa. I always learn something from your posts! :-)

  11. Wow! This is one of the little trips I've been wanting to take. This and The Amana Colonies. Ooh and btw, I live in the KC area, so these are either day trips (which I'm big in to) or overnighters.

  12. I'm so glad someone else sees the beauty in the history of this town. My great grandma lived here since she was young right on John Wayne Dr, just a quick walk to the parks with cannons, and a small ice cream shop in the square. I'm going back tomorrow to photograph the things I never could when I was a kid, and I'll be posting them on my blog as well!


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