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Published: December 12th 2016
Holliwell Covered Bridge
Madison County is located in the western Iowa and it became famous in the 1990-ies when a novel called The Bridges of Madison County was published
It's a pity Robert Kincaid never existed and that he didn't write any National Geographic article
When we arrived in O'Hare airport we passed the immigrations. The conversation we had with the officer there went something like this.
Officer (in a businesslike voice): "Welcome. What is the reason for you visiting USA?"
Us (in a happy voice): "Tourism."
Officer (in a slightly bored voice): "What are your plans?"
Us (in an excited voice): "We are going to rent a car and go on a road trip in Iowa"
Officer (in a very puzzled voice): "Why on earth would you want to go on a road trip in Iowa? What are you going to see there?"
Us (in very excited voices): "We are going to see the Bridges of Madison County, the famous ones, from the movie."
Officer (in a voice of a man who has had a vision): "Oh that makes sense. Now that you say it I might actually go to Iowa myself on my next vacation..."
Madison County is located in the western Iowa and it became famous in the 1990-ies when a novel called The
Holliwell Covered Bridge
Madison County gained even more fame later on when a movie based on the story, a movie featuring Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep, was released.
Bridges of Madison County was published and gained even more fame later on when a movie based on the story, a movie featuring Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep, was released.
The story starts like this. A photographer named Robert Kincaid is sent to Madison County, a rural area in Iowa, to write an article for National Geographic Magazine about the many covered bridges that can be found there. He gets lost on the way to one of the bridges and he drives up to a farm and asks for direction. The woman opening the door is Francesca Johnson, a housewife leading a life that she is not entirely happy with. Francesca's husband and children are away for a few days on a cow fair in Illinois. Francesca is alone and frustrated with living on a farm in rural Iowa so she lets Robert into her home and they end up having a short affair.
We like bridges in general, we have a soft spot for covered bridges and we enjoyed the film. So we thought it could be fun to see the covered bridges in Madison County ourselves.
Robert Kincaid is
Holliwell Covered Bridge
The story takes place in a rural area in Iowa. A photographer named Robert Kincaid is sent to Madison County to write an article about the many covered bridges that can be found there. Much of the film was shot at location in Madison County and Holliwell Covered Bridge was one of the bridges featured in the movie
a fictional character and there doesn't exist any National Geographic article about the covered bridges in Madison County. We think that is a pity because we are sure that it would have been a great one. We have on the Internet found one article about the covered bridges of Madison County
so there has been at least one serious study on the covered bridges of Madison County made.
It is no coincident that the author of the novel the Bridges of Madison County chose Madison County as a setting for the story because there is no place in the US with a higher concentration of covered bridges. Today there are six remaining covered bridges. They were seven until 1983 when the McBride Bridge was destroyed by an arsonist. Back in the end of the 19th century, when most of these bridges were built there were as many as 16 covered bridges standing in Madison County.
The covered bridges were built from wood. The purpose of the covering the bridges was to protect the structure from the negative effects from weather. The bridge deck must be made strong hence they use strong thick timber which is expensive. Without the protection the bridge deck
Holliwell Covered Bridge
He gets lost on the way to one of the bridges and he drives up to a farm and asks for direction. The woman opening the door is Francesca Johnson, a housewife leading a life that she is not entirely happy with. The two end up having a short affair.
will have to be replaced within 10 to 15 years. But if they covered the deck with a roof the deck could last much longer. The roof was built from much thinner planks and was much cheaper to replace.
Actually one of the six existing bridges, Cedar Bridge, was also destroyed by fire but it was later rebuilt. That happened in 2002 and ironically the reason the bridge was set on fire was a story similar to the one in The Bridges of Madison County. A man and his girlfriend had written their names on one of the walls inside the bridge. When the woman left him for another man he wanted to destroy their love mark on the bridge so he went there with a blow torch to burn it off. But dry wood has a tendency to catch fire easily so instead of just destroying their names he ended up destroying the entire bridge. The only positive side to this story is that today Cedar Bridge is the only covered bridge in Madison County you are allowed to drive a car across. After all, it is a newly built bridge so what would be the
It is no coincident that the author of the novel the Bridges of Madison County chose Madison County as a setting for the story because there is no place in the US with a higher concentration of covered bridges.
point in prohibiting that?
The covered bridges in Madison county are the following:
• Holliwell Bridge - this bridge was featured in the movie Bridges of Madison County.
• Imes Bridge - the oldest of the covered bridges in Madison County.
• Roseman Bridge - this bridge was also featured in the movie Bridges of Madison County. Many of the publicity photos for the movie were shot here. We had a bit of fun and recreated some of those photos ourselves.
• Hogback Bridge - we found this bridge to be the prettiest of them all because it reflected so nicely in the water.
• Cedar Bridge - the only one of the covered bridges in Madison County you can drive a car across.
• Cutler–Donahoe Bridge - this bridge has been relocated from its original place to Winterset City Park.
Winterset is the county seat in Madison County. All the covered bridges, except for Cutler-Donahue Bridge which has been relocated to Winterset City Park, are located in the rural area around Winterset. If you wish to see those five you need to have your own
Today there are six remaining covered bridges. Imes Bridge is one of them.
means of transportation. We can also recommend that you have a GPS because it is not easy to find your way even if you have a map.
Winterset is also known for being the birthplace of John Wayne. There is a John Wayne museum, John Wayne statue and the house he was born in is also open for visitors. We are not John Wayne fans so these attractions we only glanced at.
In the far end of Winterset City Park there is a small tower. It looks like a medieval defence tower but it has never served any military purpose. It was built as lookout point nothing more.
In the 20th episode of the seventh season of the Simpsons Bart Simpson has a fake drivers licence made. Using that he and three of his friends rent a car and go on a road trip. They eventually go to Knoxville, Tennesee but for a while they are thinking about going to see the covered bridges in Madison County. One day we will go to Knoxville and see what Bart and his friends saw. But right now we think they made a mistake
Back in the end of the 19th century, when most of these bridges were built, there were as many as 16 covered bridges standing in Madison County.
because rural Iowa is a great place for a road trip.
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