Why Does the Indiana License Plate Have a Covered Bridge on it?
Have you ever wondered how our state plate came to be? It's pretty interesting!
Over 100 Years Of Plates
License plates first came around in 1901, and back then there were only about 4,000 motor vehicles on the road. A lot has changed over the last century! According to How Stuff Works:
Back in 1900, there were just 4,192 motor vehicles in the U.S. But every year, the number of cars was skyrocketing (by 1908, it would reach 63,500). As automobiles grew in popularity, eventually replacing the horse and buggy, state governments needed a way to keep tabs on vehicles. The simple license plate was the solution, with a few letters and numbers stamped into a thin metal sheet to designate a car to its owner.
Over the years license plates went from being plane metal plates with numbers and letters to having designs representing their respective states. When I was a kid, the standard plate for Indiana was the sunset with "Amber Waves of Grain" printed across the bottom. Personally, that plate design and the latest plate design with the covered bridge are my two favorite Indiana standard plate designs. You can see a rundown of Indiana plate designs, here.
Indiana's Covered Bridge Plate
The story behind the covered bridge license plate is pretty neat. In 2016 the Indiana BMV held a contest where Hoosiers could vote on their favorite license plate design. You can see all three potential designs, here, but to be honest I think Hoosiers made the right choice as the other two designs were quite boring. According to a press release from the Indiana BMV more than 300,000 votes were cast, and a whopping 54% of those votes went to the covered bridge license plate design. The covered bridge design debuted as the standard license plate design in Indiana in January 2017.
Why a Covered Bridge?
Indiana is home to Parke County, which has been dubbed the "covered bridge capital of the world." In fact, Parke County, Indiana is home to 31 covered bridges. There are less than 1,000 covered bridges left in the United States today, so the fact that 31 are located in one county in Indiana, is really impressive. Of course, every year the covered bridges of Parke County are celebrated with Indiana's largest festival, the Covered Bridge Festival.