It is a secret and forbidden love story set in the backdrop of the rustic American Heartland. It is also a best selling book and a film staring some of the biggest named American actors. Perhaps you have read or seen it. It is the Bridges of Madison County.
The story outlines two siblings, who after going through the belongings of their recently deceased mother, Francesca Johnson, discovered she had a two week affair with a National Geographic photographer, Robert Kincaid, who was sent to Madison County, Iowa to photograph the covered bridges. The two never meet again. She requests her ashes be thrown off the Roseman Bridge, the bridge Kincaid is searching for when he stops Johnson for directions and also the bridge where she leaves a note inviting him to dinner.
Although a fictitious tale, the covered bridges of Madison County are very real and only a short distance from Des Moines, making it an easy trip for international students studying in Iowa to visit. The county was organized in 1846, and is named after James Madison Originally there were 19 covered bridges. Six of still remain today and five are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Roseman Bridge was built in 1883 and is not only famed for its role in The Bridges of Madison County. It is also known as the haunted bridge where two sheriff’s posses trapped a county jail escapee in 1892. It is said the escapee rose up through the roof of the bridge with a cry and disappeared.
Besides the famous covered bridges, international students studying in Iowa may want to visit the Bevington-Kaser Mansion and Historical Complex featuring thousands of historical artifacts in 14 buildings and the Madison County Courthouse which is also featured on the National Register of Historic Places.