Building bridges, part 2

Written by Mike Linderman, Sectional Archaeology Manager at Angel Mounds State Historic Site

On Tuesday morning, the three 60-foot sections of the new bridge arrived from Wisconsin. Three semis carrying the bridge parts left central Wisconsin Monday morning from the fabricator. When they arrived at the site, they had to negotiate the front gates of and then back down to the edge of the slough where a crane lifted the bridge off the trailers. Within two hours they were set in place awaiting the final attachment to the bridge piers.

Next step is building the landscape up to meet the height of the new bridge so that a walk can be poured from the building and across the bridge to the village site. We expect to have the bridge project completed by the end of the month.

Read part 1 of “Building Bridges.”

   

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Building bridges

Written by Mike Linderman, Sectional Archaeology Manager at Angel Mounds State Historic Site

Work began last week at Angel Mounds State Historic Site on the construction of our new visitor access bridge. An enormous crane has been set up on the site to begin driving the bridge supports into the slough waterway behind the building. Each metal support is 35 feet long and will be filled with concrete upon final placement. This is what the new metal and concrete bridge will sit on.

The new bridge will be of steel construction with a concrete walking surface. This replaces the third bridge at this location, which was taken down in 2009 due to severe wood rot.

The new bridge will be 180 feet long crossing the waterway behind the building and allowing public access to the Mississippian village site.

A rendering of the new bridge. The old bridge is featured in the inset.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Chasin’ Away the Blues

great-blue-heronToday was the third morning I sighted a Great Blue Heron on my drive to work, in the same area as before. About a mile north of T.C. Steele State Historic Site, Salt Creek runs westward on its way to Lake Monroe. The turn-off onto T.C. Steele Road is at the little town of Belmont, about halfway between Nashville (Indiana) and Bloomington. Ahead of me was the bridge that crosses Salt Creek, and over the creek, flying parallel to it, was the heron.

These herons are large birds, deserving of the name great. How you’d describe them further would depend on whether you saw them flying, or ‘at rest’. When they are hunting (for fish, frogs, reptiles and crayfish) they appear to be resting, until they use their spear-like beaks to jab their prey. Blink, and you’ll miss it.

Flying is another matter. If they were walking, they’d be sauntering — with an occasional stagger thrown in. The only bird I know that looks more awkward in flight is the Wild Turkey. I’ve never seen a Great Blue Heron at rest, on the nest, but I hope to someday.

They prefer tall trees, (usually near water) often nesting with other herons in ‘rookeries’. Apparently they don’t watch Home Improvement, but maybe they should. Their nests have been described as piles of sticks, added to over the years without benefit of Planning and Zoning.

This statue represents either a heron or a crane — people often confuse the two.

This statue represents either a heron or a crane — people often confuse the two.

Selma Steele placed this garden sculpture by her lily ponds. Today,  it is stored away — out of sight due to damage. I hope it can be restored soon and returned to its former spot. The Koi swimming in the ponds won’t need to worry about this heron (or crane). I’ll do more research, but meanwhile I’m calling it a Great Blue Heron.

I have learned that Great Blue Herons were more prevalent in the Steele’s day, just as Belmont was more of a town then than it is now. The road that the Steeles took on their way home was much rougher too, but there were compensations. Likely, they saw even more herons than I have and were just as uplifted by the sight, as they began the steep climb to The House of the Singing Winds. It’s hard to have the blues when you’ve just seen a Great Blue Heron.

Davie Kean is the master gardener at the T.C. Steele State Historic Site.