Carl Brown of Lafayette, IN rescued the open letter bridge manufacturers sign from a local junkyard in Monticello, White County, Indiana shortly after the Oakdale Dam
Bridge was demolished in 1984. Carl has provided a history of the bridge.
Oakdale Dam Bridge
In 1833, Anthony Sheets constructed a sawmill on the Tippecanoe River in the southwest corner of Jefferson Township, Carroll County, Indiana.
It was known as Sheets Mill and was later expanded to handle the grinding of corn and wheat. An 1863 map of the County shows the two mills and two taverns at this site. In 1882 the Mill changed hands and was renamed the Oakdale Mill (often referred to as the Oakendale Mill).
Columbia Bridge Works
David H. Morrison founded Columbia Bridge Works in 1852. The son of Thomas Morrison and Harriet
(Humfreville) Morrison, he was born in 1817, died in 1882 and had four sons who worked with him in the bridge building business: Charles C. Morrison, James H.S. Morrison, Julius C. Morrison, and Samuel R. Morrison.
He was adept at using all the standard bridge materials of the age: wood, stone, cast iron, wrought iron and combination structures of both iron and wood. He developed a wide variety of designs including arches, bowstrings, trusses, suspension bridges and movable spans. He designed and patented many of his bridges and his workshop was located in Dayton, Ohio. One of his earliest designs was a wooden truss devised in 1852 and called the “D. H. Morrison Truss Bridge.” And among his many patents were the “Morrison Patented Cast and Wrought Iron Low Truss Bridge” 1857, “Morrison Patented Wrought Iron Arch Truss Bridge” 1867 and renewed 1871, “Morrison Patent Suspension Truss Bridge” 1859, “Morrison Patented Wrought Iron Double and Triple Quadrilateral Truss Bridge”. Also in 1857, he designed and built a suspension bridge. Washington Roebling, John’s son, did some suspension bridge design work for David H. Morrison early in the 1870’s. The Historic American Engineer Record (HAER) lists David H. Morrison as “one of the most important bridge engineers and manufacturers in 19th century Ohio.”
Liver cancer took David H. Morrison’s life on July 21, 1882; and in his will and codicil, David H. Morrison named three sons: Charles Carroll Morrison, Julius Curtis Morrison and Samuel Robert Morrison to succeed to his business known as the Columbia Bridge Works. The name “Columbia Bridge Works” was changed to “Columbia Bridge Company.”
It is believed (not verified) that Columbia Bridge Works was absorbed by Andrew Carnegie and merged into his Keystone Bridge Co. The Keystone Bridge Co. was one of the 28 bridge fabrication and construction companies combined in 1900 by J.P. Morgan to form the American Bridge Company (AB). AB became a subsidiary of the United States Steel Corporation in 1901 and remained so until 1987 when it became privately owned.
It is said that the symbol of Columbia Bridge Works stood for well-constructed, well- proportioned bridges that served their users well for generations. Some of CBW’s bridges are a part of the Historic American Engineering Record and others are restored and in use today. The Carmel Achor Bridge completed in 1882, spanning the north fork of Little Beaver Creek in Columbiana County, Ohio is used by light vehicular traffic. The Gallman Road Bridge completed in 1887, has been relocated to the pedestrian trail over Raccoon Creek in Newark, Ohio. The Germantown Covered Bridge completed in 1865, spanning Little Twin Creek in Montgomery County, Ohio is restored and used for foot traffic. It is a combination wood and iron rigid suspension truss bridge and an early work of David H. Morrison that has been in use for 6 generations.
Columbia Bridge Company history provided by Diana Lynn Morrison Jones, great-great granddaughter of David H. Morrison who was founder and owner of Columbia Bridge Works, Dayton, Ohio.