On April 28, 2005 an arsonist burned the Bridgeton Covered Bridge. They have a man in jail. We are awaiting the trial.
The first call for the fire came in at 12:42 am. A local farmer’s wife saw a glow in the sky and called the sheriff. The volunteer firefighters fought the blaze hard but it was too late. Two of the firefighters were married in the bridge (fireman and firewoman married each other). We lost our beautiful bridge but the firefighters saved the old mill.
My wife and I were called by the farmer at 1:08 am who said “The bridge is on fire but the mill is OK ….. so far” We rushed to the scene and were horrified by what we saw. We were in shock. A fireman pointed out that the windows (Acrylic) in the mill were melting. We let the firemen into the mill so it could be checked for fire. The mill is OK except for the melted windows and melted roof on the old office. I have fixed the leaking roof but haven’t fixed the windows yet.
There has been a huge effort to raise money for a new bridge. This was a famous covered bridge. Folks came from all over to see the “Covered Bridge Over a Waterfall“. It was very personal to a lot of folks in the area. Since it was on the edge of town everyone went through it on the way to school, church shopping …. Etc. And, it crossed the Mill Pond which is the local swimming hole and fishing hole. Everyone liked to play in the waterfall under the covered bridge. With the proud old mill setting on the hill overlooking it all it was one of the most beautiful sites in the Midwest.
Today we have over $100,000 collected for the new bridge. We have over 1000 acres of woods donated by local folks for the wood and 3 saw mills have donated time, machinery and men to go into the forests and pick out the trees we need, cut them and bring them out. We have 3 other saw mills donating to cut them up. The engineering, architecture and blueprints are being donated. The paint, metal and cedar shake roof is also donated by local companies. Many, many folks have donated labor. We have a long way to go but we have come a long way in only a few short months.
As soon as the Covered Bridge Festival is over I will post some photos of the burned bridge. I will also be giving updates on the new covered bridge as things happen. Check back on Bridgetonmill.com for continuing updates on our progress in rebuilding the bridge!
If you would like to donate go to rebuildthebridge.com
Mike Roe, Miller