The Roseman Bridge, also known as the Oak Grove Bridge, is the westernmost
of the six remaining covered bridges in Madison County, Iowa. This is the
original 1883 structure at its original location over the Middle River.
The bridge piers were replaced with steel supports, and the bridge was
extensively renovated in 1992. Later, in the early 2000s, there was an
arson attempt on the bridge. The bridge is very lucky to still be standing.
The Roseman Bridge was in use until 1981. It has been bypassed by a new
roadway located about 1,000 feet to the east of the bridge.
This bridge was featured in both the novel and the film ‘The Bridges
Of Madison County’. Photographer Robert Kincaid, played by Clint
Eastwood, stopped at the Johnson Farm to ask for directions to the Roseman
Bridge. Kincaid meets Francesca Johnson at the farm, played by Meryl Streep.
Later, Johnson leaves a note for Kincaid at the Roseman Bridge, which led
to their brief affair while Johnson's hardworking farmer husband took their
children to the Iowa State Fair.
The photo above is looking southeast towards the west face of the Roseman
Bridge. The vantage point is a walkway leading to a privately operated
gift shop. The photo below is looking south towards the Roseman Bridge
from the parking area at the north end of the bridge site.
The photo above is looking towards the north portal. The photo below is
looking down the length of the approach span on the south end of the bridge
towards the south portal. There is a lengthy approach trestle on the south
end of the bridge, while the approach span on the north end is relatively
short. Note the rip-rap rock along the riverbank. This is to protect the
bridge from flooding, something that led to the demise of many covered
bridges throughout the Midwest.
These two photos are looking northeast towards the Roseman Bridge from the
south side of the Middle River. The photo above is a closer view of the
bridge, while the photo below includes the approach trestle.
The photo above is the west side and the underside of the bridge as seen
from the south bank of the Middle River. The photo below is a close view
of the top of the piers at the south end of the bridge. While the piers
have been replaced with steel, the bridge itself is still supported
exclusively by its wooden truss structure.
The photo above is looking north down the length of the bridge deck. The
floor planks are well worn, but still structurally sound. The photo below
is looking out the north portal towards the parking area. The stairway on
the left side of the roadway leads to a privately owned gift shop.
The photo above is a view of the wooden trusswork that supports the bridge.
The structure uses two parallel timber beams, one near the roof, and one at
the floor, which are connected by the crisscrossing frame members. A
second support using two angled beams acts like an arch to add additional
strength to the truss. The planks on the side of the bridge are attached to
the structure via smaller stringers. The photo below is the bridge name
sign located above the south portal.
The photo above is a street sign located near the bridge site. Seeing a
sign with the word ‘Bridge’ is a good sign that you are getting
close the site. The photo below is the guide sign leading tourists to the
bridge site. Each of the six remaining covered bridges has such a sign.