Medora Covered Bridge
"Three Spans over the White River"
The width of a river is measured from the high banks, not from shore to shore. Unless you span the entire river width, high bank to high bank, the bridge won't last many spring floods. This created the need for a 3 span bridge at Medora.
The Burr Arch provides for some of the longest spans of a wooden structure. Used in bridges spanning up to 400 ft (122m), each span might be as long as 12 ft (34 m). The total length of the bridge determining the number of spans needed. Two and three span bridges are rare as they were often the first replaced on major highways. Seldom would small secondary road warrant the cost of a multiple span bridge.
Bridges rest on stone piers, when that was easier to find and in the days before concrete. Quarried locally, the stone had to be strong enough to be immersed in water, able to withstand moving water, freezing and thawing and becoming dried out in the summers heat.
Piers often look just a little off 'kilter'. Disproportional on one side. This is because the upstream side is design to take the brunt of the spring floods, which includes logs, whole trees and rocks rushing down stream. Occassionally, you'll find a log laying up on the top of a pier. The bridge saved by the designers foresight is giving extra strength and space to the upstream end.
"Closed but not forgotten"
Many covered bridges have been replaced by modern bridges. None remain in Indianapolis, which once boasted some of the longest and most unique. The growth of cities and towns have forced traffic onto new bridges and early last century, that meant that the old wooden, i.e., coverd bridges, had to go.
Today, more care is taken to keep these relics of the past and they have become icons of days past. Many are protected in community parks, such as the Medora CB, which is in a public fishing access park.
Todays remaining covered bridges are often located in remote parts of the county. Backroads of gravel or dirt may be needed to get there and you'll pass through the smallest and least changed communities. If you're view of the US is of large metropolitan areas, i.e., New York, Chicago, Los Angeles or even just the larger cities like Indiapolis, Louisville, or Cincinnati, then a trip out to see a covered bridge will open a whole new part of America to you.