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Ohio Road Trip – A New Covered Bridge.

July 13, 2013

When you think of covered bridges, chances are you think of old historical structures.  And you’d largely be correct.

According to the Federal Highway Administration’s article Ohio’s Vanishing Covered Bridges:

Most of America’s covered bridges were built between 1825 and 1875. By the 1870s, most bridges were covered at the time of construction. The original reason for the cover was to protect the bridge’s trusses and decks from snow and rain, preventing decay and rot. The cover served other purposes also-it kept horses from being spooked by the waters underneath, it was a reprieve from weather to the weary traveler, and it was used for political rallies, religious meetings, a night’s sleep for tramps, town meetings, poker parties, sweethearts’ rendezvous, drunken revels, dances, and even rainy-day luncheons took place on the covered bridge. An uncovered bridge would last approximately 20 years but a covered one could last 100 years.

Floods washing away the bridges caused the need for redesigning them. Builders began to use a combination of iron and wood trusses. The invention of the automobile encouraged builders to use steel. But with World War I came a shortage of steel and the wood bridges again became the norm. Now they were being built with windows, laminated floors, asphalt surfaces and interior whitewashing.

…Ohio is second to Pennsylvania in remaining covered bridges. All over America concrete and steel have replaced instead of repaired the structures that are so vital to our historical past. Down from 3,500 to approximately 138, the historic covered bridge that Ohioans over the centuries have enjoyed is quickly disappearing.

Interestingly enough, there is  a modest resurgence in building covered bridges today.  By 2005, Ohio was the only state where the number of covered bridges was increasing.  This is a scenic trend going on in several locations, including in nearby Madison County, a rural farming area where I spent some of my younger years.  Last year, a brand new covered bridge went up there across Little Darby Creek.  The construction was not without delays, design issues and questions of cost.  Yet the result was photogenic.  I made a brief visit to the bridge and wanted to share some photos I took of it.

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The covered bridge spans the Little Darby at the site of an old quarry, not far at all from a small park.  It was easy to walk out along the road and take a closer look.

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On one side of the bridge is a pedestrian walkway.

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The Darby Creek watershed is both a state and national scenic river system.

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The bridge is less than a year old, and the sight and smell of crisp new lumber fills the senses.

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I like the idea of continuing the covered bridge tradition.  It’s a link to Ohio’s past.

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Down below, the Little Darby widens out into the old quarry area.

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Lizard’s Tail was blooming in the shallow water.

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Water Willow also bloomed in shallow areas.

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Ohio’s most numerous turtle- Painted Turtles- could be seen resting on logs.

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It wouldn’t be a summer scene without Chicory and Queen Anne’s Lace along the road!

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…and not too far away, a purple cow advertised an ice cream shoppe.  Now that’s my kind of summer.

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25 Comments leave one →
  1. July 14, 2013 5:27 am

    We’ve enjoyed riding our bicycles across the bridge on ride west of town!

  2. July 14, 2013 6:20 am

    I like it!It’s funny that you just happened to post this now, some butthead just set fire to one of the remaining covered bridges in this area, and it was destroyed. I hope they rebuild it again.

    • July 15, 2013 10:36 am

      That seems to be an evil trend- it happened here in Ohio recently, too. Absolutely depraved to do things like this.

  3. July 14, 2013 10:56 am

    It’s really pretty. I like the pedestrian walkway.

  4. July 14, 2013 11:06 am

    A very nice bridge. Slows down life a bit so you can enjoy the nature of the area. I suppose it was “trucking” that was against the covered bridge … or is it high enough for them to cross, too?

    • July 15, 2013 10:39 am

      It certainly adds character, Bearyweather! That’s a good question about the height of the covered bridge roof- I didn’t see any posted measurement, so my guess is that it’s similar to freeway overpasses. If it were lower I bet it would be posted!

  5. July 14, 2013 2:47 pm

    I’m glad you did a piece on our new bridge!!! Did you get a chance to walk around the park? I haven’t been on the trails yet but we often go there to walk the track with our dogs. My favorite part of you post is the picture of the chicory & Queen Ann’s Lace… you’re right, I love that about summer.

    • July 15, 2013 10:41 am

      I sure did, Cheryl! It’s a nice little park. Whenever I think of summer, warm sidewalks, Chicory and Queen Anne’s Lace come to mind. I never think of them as weeds, I love the sight of them!

  6. July 14, 2013 5:57 pm

    That is a very fine bridge indeed.

    • July 15, 2013 10:45 am

      I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was done, Tootlepedal- there was some grumbling about the road being closed a long time due to construction delays. But it certainly is a fine-looking bridge!

  7. July 15, 2013 12:05 am

    That new bridge is incredible! We lose so much of our soul when we become more efficient. It’s good to see that some of it is coming back, at least there.

    • July 15, 2013 10:46 am

      I agree, Montucky! It was interesting to learn about new covered bridges being built here in Ohio.

  8. July 15, 2013 3:22 am

    Lovely! I had heard of the covered bridges from watching the film ‘The Bridges of Madison County’ years ago. It’s really good that they are being looked after, and new ones built. The purple cow, however, would probably give me nightmares! 😀

    • July 15, 2013 10:48 am

      The purple cow is certainly unique, Jo 😀 I like the trend of new covered bridges being built!

  9. July 18, 2013 2:28 pm

    We have an old covered bridge in our area, but I had no idea anyone was building them anymore!

  10. July 19, 2013 8:26 pm

    It’s really interesting to see how bridges are designed now compared to the ones here from the 1800s. From what I see there isn’t really a lot of difference except for a few added support rods. If you want to see an old one that is supposed to be ‘the most beautiful covered bridge in New England” just click here: http://nhgardensolutions.wordpress.com/2013/06/12/a-sense-of-place/

  11. July 21, 2013 1:59 pm

    Beautiful bridge. It’s good to see the chickory, too. We don’t seem to have much of it here on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. There are some fairly new covered bridges in northeast Ohio that are fun to visit in the winter months when there’s lots of snow on the ground.

  12. July 23, 2013 1:33 pm

    I love that tangle of Chicory and Queen Anne’s Lace. This bridge brings back memories.

Trackbacks

  1. The Covered Bridges of Union County. | Seasons Flow

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