Constructed in 1883, the 102-foot-long Sim Smith Bridge is a single-span Burr Truss covered bridge spanning Leatherwood Ford. It was named for the landowner, Simeon Smith, whose descendants retained the property through 1990.
Awarded the job with a bid of $3200, Britton beat out J.J. Daniels for this job by $300. This was the third covered bridge that J. A. Britton constructed. The arch is considered relatively primitive compared to Daniels’s perfectly curved ones. You can tell he was still learning bridge building since this arch is obviously composed of incomplete cut segments. Britton’s later bridges achieved attention to detail and craftsmanship that exceeded J.J. Daniels’s quality.
Britton built the bridge with his trademark portal openings, known as the “Britton Portal,” while this side of the bridge has the correct styled portal. At some point over the years, as repair work has been done, the North portal was modified into a “Daniels arched portal.”
Sim Smith Bridge is said to be one of the most haunted places in Indiana. According to local lore, in 1890, a young woman carrying her baby was walking home to Montezuma at dusk one night. As they approached the bridge, a horse and buggy from the opposite direction exited the bridge, striking and killing the woman and her baby.
The ghosts of the mother and child are said to haunt the bridge. People claim they have seen a woman carrying an infant in the shadows on the bridge; others have said they heard horse hooves, but the horses never appear. Some local fishermen say they saw a horse and buggy enter the bridge, but it never came out the other side.
Copyright 2022 Susan Rissi Tregoning
December 21st, 2022
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