Fort Ritner Phantom Bridge, Fort Ritner, Indiana

Fort Ritner Phantom Bridge, Fort Ritner, Indiana

The Fort Ritner Phantom Bridge, Fort Ritner, Indiana

Built in 1895 by the Lafayette Bridge Company of Layfayette, Indiana, the Ft. Ritner Phantom Bridge is 354 feet long and spans the East Fork of the White River.

The bridge is located just a mile from the village of Ft. Ritner and connects Lawrence & Washington Counties.

Beginning in 1829 a ferry owned by Sinclair Cox was used to cross this area of the river. In early 1895 the county commissioners granted a petition filed by William A. Holland and others for a bridge to be built at this location. Bids were submitted by June of 1895 with the Lafayette Bridge Company submitting the winning bid at $8360.00. Luedtke & Fillion submitted the winning bid for the stone abutments and pier at $9400.00. The bridge was completed in December of 1895.

One of the more unusual aspects of this structure is that the builder plaques are words spelled out with punched holes in a piece of steel as opposed to the more traditional plaques that are embossed.

The bridge served the local residents faithfully but due to lack of maintenance it fell into disrepair. By 2006 when we did our automobile road rallies across the bridge, the weight limit was down to just 2 tons!

In 2014 the bridge was closed to all automobile traffic with the perception that this would only be temporary and the bridge would undergo a restoration. Unfortunately, 7 years later the bridge is still closed and it doesn’t appear that help is coming anytime soon. A few days before I shot this video in October, 2020. someone had started a fire on the deck of the bridge with resulted in the local fire department cutting a hole in the deck of the bridge in order to keep the fire from spreading across the entire span.