When I was there recently, it had just snowed, and the passage across this tiny creek looked treacherous. With new snow on what might once have been a bridge, I did not know how slippery the logs or planks might be. But by taking my time and getting low to the ground, I made my way across.
A hundred yards or so further on I caught sight of my goal.
Once there had been a bridge here, but now there are only ruins of a bridge. However, those who put together the Jasper County Interim Report: Indiana Historic Sites and Structures Inventory thought it was important even though the road bed is long gone. The Report was published by the Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana in 2002 with funding from a number of sources, including the National Park Service and the Lilly Endowment.
This bridge is an example of a bowstring truss bridge according to the Report. The Report estimates that it was built around 1900, and gives it a Notable classification. Outstanding is the best that an item can get, and there are few of those. Notable is the next category down, and this ranking is still rare enough to be special. (Grade inflation did not hit the Report.) The vast majority of entries (over 90% and maybe over 95%) are simply Contributing.
From the little I could find on the Internet, this type of bridge has was popular in the 19th century and then died out. There are plans to preserve this one by moving it to Rensselaer and using it as a pedestrian bridge over the Iroquois River in the Austin Park. Delphi, Indiana has decided to preserve old bridges, and they are proud of a bowstring arch bridge that they restored. I am sure they would be happy to take this one if Rensselaer did not want it.
Here is a closer look at the support structures or trusses.
The foundation is an impressive mass of stone. However, at the bottom of the east side, there is some degradation of that foundation.
I am not sure how well the history of this bridge is known. From a reliable source (Judy K): "It initially was thought to be a bridge moved there from elsewhere, but it is now believed to be original to that location." I have also heard that it was a private bridge, not a bridge on a public road. If it was, it was a pretty substantial structure for private use.
And here is the trail back to Laird's Landing. This is not a place a lot of people go, especially not in winter. But if you want a little adventure, try it.