Bridging the past

Project launched to recognize
historic stone arch bridges

Straber Ford Bridge to be nominated
for historic register

Staff Report

(April 2008) – Members of the Ripley County Commission enthusiastically endorsed a proposed project to nominate Center Township’s Straber Ford Bridge to the National Register of Historic Places. Kent Abraham, of Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana, presented the project to the commissioners at the Jan. 28 meeting.

Straber Ford stone arch

Photo provided

The Straber Ford stone arch crosses
at County Road 500 North in
Ripley County, Ind.

Abraham described the project as part of a regional effort to raise awareness of the historic importance of stone arch bridges in Indiana. The southeast counties have one of the largest concentrations in the Midwest, Ripley County first among them. Listing on the National Register is one way of highlighting their importance.
Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana gained financial support of the project from the Efroymson Fund, a generous benefactor of historic preservation causes throughout the state. Ball State University’s Center for Historic Preservation, a community outreach service, will prepare the nomination. There is no cost to Ripley County.
The Straber Ford Bridge, crossing Otter Creek on County Road 500N, was chosen for its wonderful state of preservation. A plaque noting the listing will be installed upon approval. A successful listing could lead to the nomination of other bridges.
Listing on the National Register is mostly an honor, explained Abraham.
It raises awareness and appreciation, which will hopefully encourage preservation. It can open the door to some funding for maintenance and restoration. He said the stone arches of Ripley County are one of its distinctive treasures and have the same kind of appeal that covered bridges do for residents and visitors to the area. They are worth the proper investment, he added.
The nomination will be prepared this summer. Nominations are also being prepared for bridges in Shelby and Decatur counties. Official listing of the Straber Ford Bridge is anticipated in 2009.

Back to April 2008 Articles.



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