19 covered bridges were built in Madison County Iowa during the late 19th Century. The bridges were covered to protect the roadway, because it was cheaper to replace the boards of the roof and walls, then the heavy beams of the actual bridge. The 6 covered bridges which remain in Madison County, Iowa, were made famous by the Clint Eastwood movie The Bridges of Madison County.
The Madison County Covered Bridge Festival has been held annually since 1970. Each year on the second full weekend in October, Madison County residents invite thousands of visitors to celebrate their historic covered bridges. The Covered Bridge Festival in Winterset, Iowa provides a wide variety of food, antique & craft vendors, music & entertainment, artisan demonstrations, quilt show, car show, antique vehicle parade, and best of all - guided bus tours of Madison County's covered bridges.
The Imes Covered Bridge is just a mile off of Interstate 35 at St. Charles, Iowa. Imes Covered Bridge is oldest of the surviving Madison County covered bridges. The Imes bridge was built in 1870. It was moved to a spot over Clinton Creek southwest of Hanley, Iowa in 1887 and finally moved to its current location near I-35 in 1977.
The 81' Imes Covered Bridge was renovated in 1997 for a cost of $31,807. Imes bridge was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on April 15, 2008.
Imes Covered Bridge - St. Charles, Iowa
The 107' Roseman Covered Bridge was in 1883 by Benton Jones, and sits in its original location. The Roseman Bridge was renovated in 1992 at a cost of $152,515.
The Roseman Covered Bridge is the bridge Robert Kincaid is looking for when he stops at Francesca Johnson's for directions and the location where Francesca leaves her note inviting him to dinner in the Robert James Waller's novel The Bridges of Madison County.
Roseman Covered Bridge has also been called the haunted bridge because in 1892 two sheriff's posses trapped a county jail escapee in the bridge. Legend says that the man cried out, rose up straight through the roof of the bridge and disappeared.
Hogback Covered Bridge (1884) is 97 feet long, and is in its original location in a valley north of Winterset. It was in use up until the mid 1990s, when a modern bridge bypassed it. Hogback Covered Bridge gets its name from the limestone ridge which forms the west end of the valley.