Historic, recently refurbished Putnam County covered bridge vandalized

PUTNAM COUNTY, Ind. - Vandals defaced a 19th-century covered bridge in Putnam County late Wednesday evening.

The Houck Covered Bridge was built in 1880. The 210-foot-long, 16-foot-wide bridge is one of nine covered bridges in the county.

Police said a vandal or vandals painted swastikas throughout the structure. They also added pentagrams and attempted to spell "Satan" -- but actually scrawled "Satin" instead.

"We're not sure whether its kids, young adults, adults. Obviously it’s not someone who has respect for historic structures such as this dating back to 1880. We hope they will soon learn they can't come out and do this," said Karla Lawless with the Putnam County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The vandals also managed to get to the top of the bridge to paint "Robert Loves Karen."

The bridge was recently refurbished to the tune of $1.7 million and re-opened last August.

All nine of the Putnam County bridges entertain thousands of visitors every year. 

"It's very disheartening. Very disheartening that people don't respect the history we have here in Putnam County," said Diana Love with the Putnam County Convention and Visitors Bureau. "We have a special feeling for all nine covered bridges in our county. It is a major tourist attraction."

Late Thursday afternoon, the county highway department also discovered a racial slur spray-painted near the site. County highway workers immediately painted over the graffiti.

The bridge will be cleaned more extensively when the weather warms up.

Putnam County Sheriff Scott Stockton has asked the public to come forward with any information about the vandalism. Stockton said whoever is responsible will be brought to justice.

Follow Derrik Thomas on Twitter: @derrikthomas

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