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The Tulip Viaduct
|Locale||Solsberry, Greene County, Indiana, USA|
|Maintained by||Indiana Rail Road|
|Total length||2,295 feet (700 m)|
|Height||157 feet (48 m)|
|Longest span||74 feet (23 m)|
|Construction begin||May 22, 1905|
|Construction end||December, 1906|
The Tulip Viaduct is a 2,295-foot (700 m) long railroad bridge (also known as the Greene County Viaduct or Tulip Trestle, and officially designated Bridge X76-6) in Greene County, Indiana, that spans Richland Creek between Solsberry and Tulip. According to Richard Simmons and Francis Haywood Parker, authors of Railroads of Indiana, it is "easily the state's most spectacular railroad bridge". The bridge was built in 1905 and 1906 by the Indianapolis Southern Railway and successor Indianapolis Southern Railroad, which became part of the Illinois Central Railroad in 1911. It is now part of the Indianapolis–Newton, Illinois, line of the Indiana Rail Road.
Work on the bridge started on May 22, 1905, when a ground breaking ceremony was led by Joe Moss. It was finished in December of 1906 and is the longest rail trestle in the United States and the third longest bridge of its kind in the world. It has 18 towers for support.
The original cost of the viaduct was $246,504 which is an estimated $6,202,420.10 in 2012 dollars. This massive structure was built using mostly Italian immigrant laborers. The laborers were paid up to 30 cents an hour, which was considered to be an excellent wage in 1906. The viaduct was constructed by Indianapolis Southern Railway and secretly financed by Illinois Central Railroad. It was built for train travel to transport coal from Greene County mines to large cities, such as Chicago. Passenger trains once traveled across the viaduct, but passenger service was discontinued in 1948.
According to a placard that used to be attached to the western side of the bridge (underneath the tracks on a large I-beam), the bridge was constructed by the New York Bridge Company, not the Indianapolis Southern Railway or its successor the Indianapolis Southern Railroad. In 2004 or earlier, the placard had been removed. Two 45-foot (14 m) sections were added to the bridge in 1916. Other than that, the bridge is as it was when it was originally constructed.
Over the years, a large amount of graffiti has been spray-painted on the trestle, especially at the base of the towers nearest the road. The most well known graffiti is "MICHELLE WILL YOU MARRY ME?" in the middle of the trestle just under the tracks. Instead of removing the graffiti, it has remained on the viaduct. It has helped to preserve the viaduct. The spray-paint is so thick in some areas that rain and snow cannot affect the metal surface, causing the metal to remain intact. There is a path that leads to the track surface. While the Indiana Rail Road has placed no trespassing signs along the path and beside the tracks, people do still climb up there. Some even walk across the viaduct. Only one confirmed arrest has been documented.
The bridge is 2,295 feet (700 m) long and is 157 feet (48 m) above the ground at its highest point. It was built using 2700 tons of steel and is composed of individual 40 feet (12 m) and 74 feet (23 m) spans supported by eighteen towers.
- Simmons, Richard; Parker, Francis (1997). Railroads of Indiana. Indiana University Press. p. 190. ISBN 0-253-33351-2.
- Simmons, Richard; Parker, Francis (1997). Railroads of Indiana. Indiana University Press. p. 231. ISBN 0-253-33351-2.
- Greene County Indiana County Web Site (note: not linked here because it is on Wikipedia's black list; however, this specific page has been requested to be added to the white list (see discussion).
- Rund, Christopher (2005). The Indiana Railroad Company. Indiana University Press. p. 112. ISBN 0-253-34692-4.