Historic Landmarks working to save Markland Bridge by end of week


Historic Landmarks hopes to save the old bridge in Markland by the end of the week.

“We really want to do it,” said Kent Abraham, the Director of the southeast office of Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana.

Kent Abraham and Marsh Davis, president of Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana, met with County Commissioner Brian Morton, and John and Fred McAlister, who were awarded the contract to tear down the bridge, on Friday to discuss what can be done to save the bridge.

At the June 2nd Commissioners’ meeting they approved a quote by McAlister to take down and remove the bridge for $21,800. The Commissioners cited liability reasons for removing the bridge, located in Markland over Log Lick Creek.

“We’re done with it,” Brian Morton said. “We awarded it to McAlisters to remove it. As a courtesy we introduced the McAlisters and the historical officials to see if they can get together and work it out.”

Fred McAlister said on Monday he was giving Historic Landmarks a chance to find a way to save the bridge. “I don’t know what they’re going to do. I’m just waiting. I told them to get back with me in a timely fashion.”

On Tuesday, Kent Abraham said he was aware that Historic Landmarks is “under the gun” if they want to save the bridge. “We want to respect their wishes and we want to have a solution.”

Kent Abraham said it is a Whipple Truss bridge that has historical significance. “We feel we have an important obligation to spend money” to save the Markland bridge by moving it to another location. “We’d love to see it stay where it is, but that’s not what’s being entertained,” he said “We want to keep it from going to the scrapyard. We’re interested in doing something. We’re bringing in the troops from our standpoint and we’re planning to make a reasonable offer.”

Another similiar bridge is currently in the process of being restored in Decatur and Ohio counties. It’s a Tripple Whipple Truss bridge, which had been among the 10 most endangered historic landmarks. “That was a fantastic rescue,” Kent Abraham saidd. “That is a fantastic bridge. There are only a handful left.”

Kent Abraham said that anytime an historic structure is threatened they prefer to save it by “keeping in the context intended and find a use for it. You not always can with a bridge, and you try to locate for other uses such as trails or parks. This bridge is 200 feet, so finding a place is a challenge.”

Still, Kent Abraham said that’s what they must do. “There doesn’t seem to be any prospect of keeping it on site,” he said. “So we’re hoping to take over the bridge and re-use it at another location.”