Bridges of Madison County: Imes

Today’s post is the first of several that highlight “The Bridges of Madison County”. I mentioned a few days ago that I was involved with a new “project”. Well, that project was to photograph the famous covered bridges of Madison County in the fall colors. Madison County, Iowa has several covered bridges that are a wonderful attraction. Made famous by the movie “The Bridges of Madison County”, starring Clint Eastwood (also the film’s director) and Meryl Streep in 1995, the bridges are a big draw. In that movie, photographer Robert Kincaid wanders into the life of housewife Francesca Johnson, for four days in the 1960s. Since the movie and renewed interest in the bridges, Winterset, Iowa, self-proclaimed themselves as the “Covered Bridge Capitol of Iowa”. Six covered bridges reside in Madison County, with five of these in, or just outside Winterset. The sixth bridge, the Imes, is located along the highway in nearby St. Charles, Iowa.

Here are a few images of the Imes Covered Bridge:

Imes Covered Bridge



Imes Covered Bridge


And from the backside of the bridge, the community had added some old style lights, that led down a walkway to the bridge:

Imes Covered Bridge

Of the six bridges I photographed, the Imes was my least favorite. Not sure why, but may have been because it sat right in town and along a highway … just didn’t give an “old time” feeling. But still, a nice structure.

Some fun facts about the covered bridges of Madison County:

  • Originally, there were 20 covered bridges in the county
  • Only five of the original 20 covered bridges remain, and all are listed on the National Register of Historic Places
  • The bridges were covered by order of the County Board of Supervisors to help preserve the large flooring timbers, which were more expensive to replace than the lumber covering the sides and the roof
  • Most of the construction work was done by farmers to pay their poll taxes
  • The bridges were usually named for the nearest resident

Some facts about the Imes Covered Bridge:

  • The Imes is the oldest bridge, built in 1870
  • It is 81 feet long
  • The Imes was originally built over the Middle River, west of Patterson, Iowa
  • In 1877, it was moved to Clanton Creek, and then moved to it’s current location, just east of St. Charles, in 1977
  • The Imes bridge was renovated in 1997 at a cost of $35,538

Photo Equipment Used:

  • Canon 1D Mark 3 body
  • Canon 28mm-135mm and Tamron 17mm-35mm lenses
  • Bogen 3221 Tripod, with Kirk Ent. HD Ballhead
  • ISO 200 and 250
  • Aperture f/22
  • Shutter Speed 1/200 sec.



Posted in Landscape Photography, Nature Photography, Travel Photography
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