Imes Covered Bridge from Madison County
Remember the movie The Bridges of Madison County? It was a hit in 1995, and nominated for an Oscar. (Meryl Streep for Best Actress in a leading role, but Susan Sarandon won for her role in Dead Man Walking.) Directed by Clint Eastwood, and produced by Eastwood and Kathleen Kennedy, the film is a narrative about choices and consequences.
The story begins: It is autumn, 1965. Robert Kincaid (Clint Eastwood) comes to Madison County, Iowa, to photograph the Roseman and Holliwell covered bridges. He is a professional photographer on assignment to the National Geographic magazine and he is lost. Pulling his green pickup into the driveway of a farmhouse, he asks for directions. Francesca Johnson (Meryl Streep) is at home, alone. Her husband and two children are visiting the Illinois State Fair for the next 4 days. Francesca has been married for 15 years and is anticipating “time alone with herself” as the stranger approaches her for information.
The movie was adapted for screen by Richard LaGravenese from Robert James Waller’s novel, The Bridges of Madison County.
The Bridges of Madison County was made on location in Madison County not far from Des Moines in central Iowa.
Madison County originally had 19 covered bridges, but only six remain today.
The large number of covered bridges in this one county began as an economical move. The bridges were covered by order of the County Board of Supervisors in the early 1880s to help preserve the large flooring timbers. The floor boards were much more expensive than the lumber required to cover the sides and roof of the bridge.
Typically the bridges were named for the resident (or residents) who lived nearest to the bridge, an easy referencing method for the locals.
The oldest of the remaining covered bridges, the Imes is 81 feet in length. It was originally located over the Middle River west of Patterson, Iowa. In 1887 it was moved to a spot over Clinton Creek southwest of Hanley. The Imes Bridge was moved again to its present site over a natural ravine just east of St. Charles in 1977 and renovated in 1997. All 6 bridges are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
There is a fair amount of heavy duty wood reinforcing the inside of the barn.
Even the birds’ can get their nest covered in Madison County–if they build them in the eaves of the covered bridges.
I took photographs of the six bridges last autumn, on our trip home from the Southwest. There are more to come.
(I am plain worn out posting all those “whites in winter” shots. At least the bridges are mostly red, and surrounded by green trees and grass.)