Greene County Viaduct - AKA Tulip Trestle
It was built in 1906 and is still standing strong after 91 years of use. The viaduct is officially known as Bridge X75-6. It is the third longest bridge of its type in the world. Its dimensions are one-half mile long, 2,307 feet to be precise, and it stands 157 feet off the ground at its tallest point.
The viaduct consists of seventeen 75-foot deck-plate girder spans, alternating with eighteen 40-foot girder tower spans. The viaduct also consists of two 50-foot spans at the west end and two 60-foot and two 45-foot spans at the east end. The weight of all that plus the weight of the track itself, is approximately 2,895 tons.
The cost of this massive project was about $246,504. A Chicago bridge engineer estimated that to build a bridge the same size today would cost around $10,000 per foot or $20 million.
To construct a bridge the size of the viaduct, a massive coordinated effort had to be organized. The first item that was needed was money. The viaduct was first owned by Indiana Southern Railroad, and Illinois Central Gulf, another railroad company, secretly financed it. Mainly immigrant Italian laborers constructed it.
The steel workers were paid 30 cents an hour and common laborers were paid only 15 cents an hour. Frank Hunt, who was a subcontractor, was reported to have hired 50 teams to work on the railroad. The teams were paid $3.50 per day and the drivers were paid $1.50 per day. This was considered to be above-average wages. However, men and horses were in such demand for this mammoth project that the supply of both became quite low.
Several companies did the rest of the work. The Collier Bridge Company did the concrete work, and the American Bridge Company made the steel frame which was later put together by Strobel Steel Construction Company. In charge of overall construction was Archibald Stuart Baldwin. The construction of the viaduct attracted many sightseers. Families would often have picnic dinners while watching the viaduct be constructed.
Despite its size, the bridge is difficult to find without explicit directions. The following course is one of several to the site: Leave Bloomfield on State Road 157 north. Go 3.2 miles to County Road 325N and turn right for 1 mile. Drive through a railroad underpass and past the Tulip Church of God on the right. Continue on this road for another mile and bear right at the Beechwood Lake Baptist Youth Camp. There is another railroad overpass .6 mile farther. On the left within .5 mile is a white frame Wesleyan Church. One mile from the church turn right onto County Road 480E. It is .5 mile to the base of one of the towers of the viaduct.