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Prof. James Cooper Publishes Iron Monuments to Distant Posterity: Indiana's Metal Bridges, 1870-1930

January 12, 1988

james cooper 036.jpgJanuary 12, 1988, Greencastle, Ind. - A field guide to the approximately 1,700 known metal bridges in the state of Indiana is the result of the ongoing work of DePauw's James L. Cooper. The professor of history at DePauw has authored Iron Monuments to Distant Posterity: Indiana's Metal Bridges, 1870-1930. The 220-page work tells for the first time the story of metal-bridge building in Indiana, including sketches of the major Hoosier designers and manufacturers.

Dr. Cooper meticulously researched the material for this book over a seven year period, and visited many of the bridges himself in compiling information, architectural drawings, county records and photographs. The text notes the unusual design Old DePauw Gold EC Logo.jpgcharacteristics and cultural significance of each structure, and is accompanied by hundreds of photos and illustrations.

The professor's book describes the reasons for the construction of the iron bridges, the engineers and entrepreneurs who funded and built the spans, and how the bridge building industry kept pace with the automobile and increased demands of rail and river traffic. Also included is a county-by-county inventory of individual bridges throughout Indiana. The final chapter presents a preservation plan for the bridges, many of which have been abandoned to the ravages of the elements.

James Cooper has been a member of the DePauw University faculty since 1964.