Bridges of Madison County What a beautiful sight! If you live in Iowa… as I have my whole life.. Then the covered bridges in Madison County are a must see. There is nothing quite like walking through the old wooden structures knowing that once upon a time they held horse-drawn buggies and wagons. They are beautiful.
Popularity rose for the bridges in 1995 when award-winning actor Clint Eastwood released a movie starring Meryl Streep that’s title was “The Bridges of Madison County” . People flocked to Iowa to see one of the 6 remaining covered bridges. Originally Madison County housed 19, and today 5 are on the National Registry of Historic Places.
You can read more about their history, the novel, the movie, and their tours here:
I decided this was another stop in Iowa that my kids should take the time to visit. I remember my Grandparents going once upon a time.. and since we only live an hour away, this was another stop we should take the time to make.
We visited 2 of the bridges. The first one was Roseman Bridge (the one in the picture of the backside of 2 of my kids) and it is known as the “haunted bridge”. Legend has it that this bridge is haunted because in 1892 two sheriff’s posses trapped a county jail escapee in the bridge. Legend says that the man cried out and jumped up straight through the roof of the bridge and disappeared. As the story goes he was not found again. The bridge was very quiet, covered with signatures of those who had been there before (marked in marker on the inside of one of the walls) and had a nice area for a picnic just outside the front entrance. The bad part of this one? It is literally in the middle of nowhere. Fortunately, you can pick up a map at the Madison County Visitors Center that has the names and locations of all the bridges, so I was able to navigate my way there off that map.
The second one we visited was in Winterset City Park and is named the Cutler-Donahoe covered bridge which was built in 1870. It was smaller than the first and had less graffiti and signatures in it. The park itself also houses the Clark tower which I will write about on a another day.
If you are wanting more information on the bridges as well as directions you can click here:
All in all the Bridges made a great day trip for my kids and I. Top the day off with ice cream from the local ice cream shop and it is a perfect summer day trip. One more thing off my bucket list of things to see in this beautiful state.