According to the Indiana Covered Bridge Society, between 1820 and 1922, six hundred covered bridges were built in Indiana. Covered bridges were originally built that way to protect the bridges’ wooden floors from rotting. Unfortunately, less than one hundred are still standing.

Amateur photographer, the late Sydney B. Pepe, of Fort Wayne, Indiana, who died at the age of 90 in February 2011, donated his photo collection to the genealogy center and named DeKalb County historian John Martin Smith the executor of his estate.

As fate would have it, while he was in the process of sending Pepe’s collection to the genealogy center, Smith and his wife were killed in a car accident in October 2011. But, the legacy lives on.

Pepe made a significant contribution to preserving the legacy of Indiana, Ohio and Illinois bridges and other types of transportation in more than 6,000 pictures.

A reception is being hosted by the William H. Willennar Genealogy Center at Eckhart Public Library in Auburn, called “Transportation in Indiana” on August 4. There will be a display of digitized and original versions of Pepe’s photos. The photos include four of the five historic DeKalb County covered bridges that lasted into the 20th century.

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