Well I’ll admit, this post is long overdue. I wanted to play around on photoshop with some of the pictures, which required the time to play around on photoshop. This was made all the more difficult because I don’t actually have photoshop. But here is the long-awaited Bridges Of Madison County Post including edited pictures, normal pictures, facts, and stories. Hey, I wanted to make it up to you if you felt at all neglected.
I was nervous about wandering the country looking for these bridges. I’d been told they weren’t marked very well. There were signs pointing us in the general direction, but we had to be on the lookout. Every time we passed one I’d scream and turn the car around, terrifying my mother. But that’s okay, she’s always terrified by something.
This first one is the Imes Bridge. It is the oldest of the bridges and has been moved twice. I’m sure its seen a lot in its day.
We had that bridge to ourselves after a couple from Texas packed up and moved on to the next. But then another car pulled in as we were leaving. An elderly man stepped out and greeted us, saying he lived in Winterset. He said whenever he saw people at the bridge he’d stop to welcome them. He was the self-appointed, unofficial greeter, with his qualification being his chattiness, sweet demeanor, and an entire life spent in Winterset, Iowa. Well, until he left to fight in the Korean war. I somehow lost the connection from his conversation about the bridges to telling us about footage he shot in Korea. By this point my parents and I were slowly trying to nudge ourselves over to the car. It was weird, but sweet I guess.
The next winding dirt road brought us to the Holliwell Bridge. It’s the longest of the six bridges (ooh, aah), and was featured in the movie (oooh, aaah).
Though there are six bridges remaining of the original 19, we made it to 3. The final one we saw sits in a park in Winterset.
All of the bridges are listed in the national register of historic places. The covers, if you were wondering, protect the timber floors.
The bridges were normally named for people who lived the closest to them. In rural Iowa all you need to do to be prominent enough to have a structure named after you is exist.
Here’s some info about the other bridges we didn’t get to see.
The Roseman Bridge is the bridge that Robert Kincaid is searching for when he stops and asks directions from Francesca Johnson. If you haven’t read or seen the movie inspired by the bridges, check it out. It’s directed by Clint Eastwood (spoiler alert: It’s nothing like Gran Torino or Flags of Our Fathers). The book is one of the best selling books of the 20th Century. Go Iowa!
Francesca and Robert actually met on the Cedar Bridge, which was burned down in the early 2000s. Unfortunately it isn’t the only victim of arson. Francesca’s house was burned almost a year after the Cedar Bridge was destroyed.
The farmhouse used in the film had been abadoned for more than thirty years (according to my roommate, Courtney, abandoned barns make for great party locations). It was completely restored for the movie.
I wanted to see this movie immediately once I found out Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood were in it. These are 2 of my favorite and most admired actors. The studio tried to cast a younger actress but when they couldn’t find anyone Eastwood’s mother suggested Streep.
It was cool to visit these bridges I’d read about and seen Holly wood films of. I’m one of those small-town girls who is easily excited to be on the same ground that Oscar-winning actors were once on. And it looks like another famous person stopped by too.
The graffiti was an unfortunate eye sore for the bridges. But I guess it’s better than having them burn down. After a while my parents and I just started to laugh at some of the philosophical gems etched in the wood – one step up from bathroom wall scribbles.
… And speaking of love.
Well, we can’t end on that note now can we?