- Brown Truss Type Covered Bridge.
- Built in 1867
- Was the oldest operational covered bridge in Michigan that still carried vehicle traffic.
- Destroyed by arson on July 7, 2013.
- 100% Disabled Veteran leading rebuilding effort.
Who We Are
Whites Covered Bridge stood for over 146 years, providing a vital transportation link, a picturesque setting, and great historical value to Ionia County, Michigan. On July 7, 2013 the bridge was destroyed by arson. At that time, the bridge was the oldest covered bridge in use in Michigan.
Within days, our group, Friends Rebuilding Whites Bridge was formed to make sure that our covered bridge gets rebuilt. What started as a group of strangers has evolved into a group of friends with the common goal of seeing this bridge rebuilt.
Our group came out swinging and quickly got Governor Rick Snyder, the Ionia County Road Commission and the township that the bridge stood in our our side as partners in the rebuilding effort. We also acted quickly as a group and organized a recovery effort of the remains of the old bridge using volunteer labor and machinery along with donated fuel for the excavator and trucks, and removed the remains from the river not only stopping the debris from further polluting the river, but saving the taxpayers of Ionia County, Michigan over $40,000.00. Without our intervention, the debris would still be in the river because the county did not have the money to remove it.
What It Will Cost
Bridges aren't Cheap! The estimated cost to build a replica bridge is in the neighborhood of $350,000-$450,000.00 down from the intial estimate from the county, which includes the cost of all materials and labor. This cost estimate was derived from the Project Engineer who rebuilt the Ada, Michigan covered bridge that was destroyed by fire in 1979. He has come on board with us and has been instrumental in furthering our cause, he also brings experience that few people will ever possess, the experience of already rebuilding a covered bridge.
We have partnered with the Fallasberg Historical Society, who now has the oldest covered bridge in Michigan open for traffic, to be our Fiscal Sponsor. Their beautiful covered is located just a few miles upstream from where Whites Bridge stood so they have a vetted interest in our effort. They will maintain all the funds raised through this campaign and when we have raised the money, they will turn the money over to Keene Township so that they can enter into a contract with the county to replace the bridge.
All money raised for the rebuilding of the bridge will go for just that, the rebuilding. If for some reason the bridge can't be rebuilt, the money will stay with Keene Township who will use the money to fund programs for the citizens of the township.
Why Should You Donate to Us
Covered bridges are cool. No, really, you should contribute because this bridge has impacts outside of the local area. Whites Bridge is a popular spot for photos; it is part of covered bridge tours, and bicycle tour routes. The bridge also held a lot of history, it was a place where you could go and actually see and feel the spot where your long deceased relatives signed their names. I know my Great Grandparents, Grandparents, Mother, Father and myself and my children all signed our names in the old bridge and even though we lost history in the old bridge, the new one will be a clean slate for the current and future generations to sign.
Although 146 years of history have been destroyed, it is not forgotten and rebuilding the bridge will keep the person who burned it down the satisfaction of knowing that they succeeded. They will see that in the end that the "Phoenix" will rise and that good always trumps evil.