A Trip to Tulip Trestle
Indiana is full of many hidden treasure from the shores of Lake Michigan to the banks of the Ohio River. One of them is a little known train trestle in southern Indiana, southwest of Bloomington in Greene County. But “little” is the last word that should describe the Greene County Viaduct, affectionately known as “Tulip Trestle”. I first heard about Tulip Trestle some 15 years ago when a car club I was in made a trip to view the 2295 foot long structure.
Tulip Trestle was completed in 1906 at a cost of $246,000, or over $6 million in today’s dollars. It was built by the New York Bridge Company using mainly Italian immigrants making some 30 cents an hour, which was an above average wage for the times. And considering it took just 18 months to build, it makes their efforts even more impressive. All told the 2295 foot trestle stands 157 feet tall at its highest point and is supported by 18 towers.
Tulip Trestle is still used some 110 years after the first locomotive crossed it high above Richland Creek. Initially used to haul coal from Greene County mines, the Indiana Rail Road Company still makes several runs across it on a daily basis, and even shows off one of their trains crossing it on their website.
I’ve visited Tulip Trestle several times over the past 15 years to soak in an incredible product of the early 20th Century engineering. However, I’ve yet to be there at a time when a freight train has crossed. But recently some locals have created an observation deck on the north side where visitors can view a passing train, or just stand there to view the expansive viaduct. A Facebook page has been started by the group aiming to beautify the area around Tulip Trestle. You can join that page by clicking here.
The Green County Viaduct, Tulip Trestle, Tulip Viaduct, or whatever you’d like to call it, is about a 40 minute drive southwest from Bloomington, Indiana. You can view a map on how to get there by clicking on the Google Maps link here. And when you make the trip there and aren’t fortunate enough to see a train cross with a typical load of coal, here’s a fantastic drone video, complete with an Indiana Rail Road train crossing. Enjoy!