Weeds, vines, and high water hid early nineteenth century cast iron, wrought iron, and I-beams in an ever-changing Wildcat Creek near Lafayette, Indiana. They lay broken in the middle of Wildcat Creek. With no written documentation of a structure here, only the east and west bank cut-stone abutments remain to indicate a bridge once spanned the creek, and cast iron sections appear to be remnants of a center pier. Dan McCain, President Emeritus of Carroll County Wabash & Erie Canal Park, invited my wife Nan Jackson and me to inspect the wrought- and cast-iron sections, and on October 16 we had the pleasure of meeting Ed Geswein, the property owner who cleared the weeds and vines to open a path to the site of the cast iron artifacts. Also on site were Thomas Castaldi (Allen County Indiana Historian), David McCain, Mike Tetrault (Executive Director, Carroll County Wabash & Erie Canal Park), and some of the nearby property owners.
There is evidence of a damsite nearby, and there may have been a towpath bridge for the canal system. What I found most interesting was a large cast iron shoe removed from the creek that, along with the cast iron cruciform columns, could have been a center pier made up of cast iron, wrought iron and timbers.
This site has the potential for the discovery of an early bridge design, and an archaeological excavation may yield its hidden historic secrets.
Vern Mesler 2023