By Lissa Poirot
Did the Clint Eastwood movie The Bridges of Madison County make you want to drive through the historic and iconic covered bridges of Iowa? Originally, there were 19 bridges in Madison County. Today only six remain, and they are the only covered bridges in all of Iowa. Here’s where to find the state’s covered bridges for a quaint photo-op before they disappear.
1. Cedar Bridge
Of the six remaining covered bridges in Madison County, Cedar Bridge is the only one that you can drive through. Originally built over Cedar Creek in 1883 in a different location, the bridge was moved in 1921 to its current location in Winterset. Despite being renovated in 1998, the bridge was destroyed by arsonists in 2002 and a replica was rebuilt in 2004 using the original building plans. Alas, in 2017, arsonists attempted to destroy the bridge again, and it is currently under reconstruction.
2. Cutler-Donahoe Bridge
Currently located in Winterset City Park as an attraction versus a useful bridge, the Cutler-Donahoe Bridge was first built over North River in 1870. After being moved to the park in 1970, the bridge was renovated in 1997.
3. Hogback Bridge
Located in Madison County, Hogback Bridge was built in Winterset in 1884. More than $100 thousand was invested to restore the 97-foot barn-red wood bridge in 1992.
4. Holliwell Bridge
At 122 feet, the Holliwell Bridge is the longest of the remaining covered bridges, located over Middle River near Winterset. Featured in the movie, the bridge received a full renovation in 1995 at the tune of $225,000.
5. Imes Bridge
Built in 1870, Imes Bridge is the oldest of the remaining covered bridges. Although originally located over the Middle River, it was moved to Clanton Creek in 1887 and then to its current ravine site near St. Charles in 1977. The bridge was also renovated in 1997.
6. Roseman Bridge
Making its appearance in the movie, Roseman Bridge is where Eastwood’s character first meets Meryl Streep’s character, as well as where ashes are scattered at the film’s end. Located in Winterset, the bridge is rumored to be haunted.
Save the Date!
Madison County throws an annual festival to its covered bridges. The Madison County Covered Bridge Festival features a parade, entertainment, kids’ activities, cinematic-themed activities, and more.
Did You Know?
John Wayne was born in Madison County, Iowa, and you can visit his birthplace and the only museum dedicated to the actor in the heart of Winterset. A self-guided John Wayne Birthplace Trail features markers and locations that were important to Wayne. Pay his old stomping ground a visit during your self-guided covered bridge tour.