Sunday, August 23, 2009

Bridges of Madison County

In 1992 a soft spoken professor named Robert James Waller from the University of Northern Iowa became famous for writing a short little novel called The Bridges of Madison County. Most people associate the title with the movie.

And most of us associate the movie with Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood. A pretty dynamic duo if there ever was one.

Recently I took a drive to Madison County (yes, there really is such a place!) to see some of the covered bridges. The bridges are near a small town called Winterset which is about 1/2 hour southwest of Des Moines.

Here is the real Roseman Bridge -- the one you see in the movie. You will notice I took this image from about the same location as the picture above of the two main actors. The difference is that the bridge has been repainted and fixed up since the movie was made.

In case you are not sure if you have the right covered bridge, there is a sign above each bridge -- though this particular bridge is usually crawling with tourists.

When you approach the bridge you can see the water in the stream below. I guess this is why there was a need for the bridge. To be honest, I liked the shadows as much as anything. I think that is what makes this image interesting.

These bridges are long and there is extremely heavy planking making up the floors. The reason these bridges were covered was to protect these heavy floors.

As you walk through any covered bridge -- especially Roseman -- you see handwritten names, notes, hearts, messages, etc. all along the walls. I thought this one was particularly interesting.

But this is what you see more than anything else -- two people's names and usually a date indicating the day of the visit.

I liked looking at the water and the surrounding trees, grasses and wildflowers.

There is a genuine peaceful quality to this area and I like that.

If you ever get to Iowa, be sure to put a visit to Madison County on your list.

Thanks for stopping by.


Memphis MOJO said...

Nice pictures. I would love to see it in person, too.

Jo said...

Omigosh, Russell, that's wonnnnnderful -- especially seeing the bridge from the same location as the scene in the movie.

When I saw the movie, I remember thinking what lovely countryside that was. There is one scene where Meryl Streep, as an older woman, goes for a walk around there, and I thought it looked gorgeous.

Did you write your name on the bridge? I hope so you did!

What gorgeous photographs!

Russell said...

Thank you for your comments. No, I did not write my name on the inside of the bridge. There are actually 5 bridges, but Roseman is the most popular.

You cannot drive through Roseman bridge any more but you can drive through the others -- well, at least the others I have visited. I was at Cedar Bridge, too, and drove through that one.

Cedar Bridge is the one on the cover of the book.

The entire movie was filmed in Iowa on location. I had students in some of my night classes who were in some of the scenes. I had an African American woman client who was in the scene in the dance club.

However, you know what? I never saw the movie. Some day I will have to see it!

willow said...

I read Waller's book and also read "Slow Waltz in Cedar Bend". The Streep and Eastwood duo sparked fire in the movie! You've really gotta see it, Russell.

Thanks for the pictures. I LOVED this post.

Leslie: said...

Omigosh Russell, you HAVE to watch the movie! It's so sad when two people meet and know it's true love but they can never be together. SO sad!

Small City Scenes said...

Great shots and info. I liked the book and the movie. I am more apt to read a book than go to a movie though. Love the mom and son message. Looking at the river looks like some of the local rivers out here this time of year. Very bucolic. Nice post. MB

Dr.John said...

Since I will never get there. Thanks for taking me along.

Mean Mama said...

Thank you for the beautiful pictures of Iowa Russell. When I go there I will be sure to see this area.

Hilary said...

I love covered bridges. There are so few left here in southern Ontario but the few which remain are lovely and romanic. I really love that message from mother to son and its reply. So touching.

Daryl said...

Great post. There are some wonderful covered bridges in New England ... but the ones I have seen are not as well kept up as this .. nor do they have the lovely countryside the way this does .. thanks as always for a glimpse inside your world.

Country Girl said...

I hope you added your name to the bridge.
I didn't like the movie but I loved the book. I like Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep, but the Clint Eastwood character was nothing like I imagined him to be from the book. Such a touching story, and sad.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed looking at the photo's just as I loved the novel and the movie ...and would love to visit but it's just a bit too far..."The old dreams were good dreams, they didn't work out, but I'm glad I had them"
Johanna from the Netherlands