I am keeping you in the loop today on our Tuesday Tour – the Ashtabula Covered Bridges Trail or the “Covered Bridge Loop” in Ashtabula County, Ohio.
Last week, I showcased the first four covered bridges that Papa and I visited last summer on a self-guided driving tour. This week, enjoy the photos of the next four we viewed as we ambled down country roads – sometimes gravel covered – connecting historic, older spans with more recently erected ones.
Crossing the Ashtabula River in Monroe Township, the Root Road Covered Bridge looks the part of an old historic bridge. The two-span structure was originally erected in 1868 and has shown some wear and tear even though it was rehabilitated in 1982-83 when girders and a center concrete pier were added, and the 114-foot-long bridge was raised 18 inches. Driving through the Town lattice design, you can imagine the history this timeworn bridge has experienced. It certainly can’t lay claim to the prettiest covered bridge, but it deserves recognition for being one of the oldest still drivable spans in Ashtabula County.
Next, we found a newer bridge, State Road Covered Bridge, erected in this century in 1983. It was the first covered bridge designed and built by Ashtabula County Engineer John Smolen, Jr. and you will hear a little bit more about him in next week’s post. Assembled using 97,000 feet of southern pine and oak, the span features Town lattice construction and a four-foot-high window that extends the length (152 feet) of the bridge. We found this covered bridge, crossing Conneaut Creek in Monroe Township, lovely and more picturesque than the previous one. This site offers a parking area and public access to Conneaut Creek. Originally, an earlier covered bridge, built by two gentlemen named Ira Benton and David Niles for $100, stood there from 1831-1898.
It’s interesting to note that Conneaut Creek is actually the longest river in eastern Ashtabula County, and our driving tour took us to two more covered bridges crossing this waterway. Middle Road Covered Bridge was the next stop. Erected in 1868, it is a single span Howe truss design and is 136 feet long. Located about three miles south of downtown Conneaut, this historic bridge is in good shape having been reconstructed in 1984 when volunteers and some college students aided in its rebuilding. Again, I find it sad that people have chosen to deface this historic site with graffiti as you can see in the photo below.
The last bridge on today’s tour, but not the last in the driving loop (four more to be highlighted in next week’s Tuesday Tour), is Creek Road Covered Bridge. We arrived at this 125-foot-long Town lattice designed span just shortly after lunchtime and were delighted to find a place to park, no people in sight, and a restful park bench, where we peacefully ate our picnic lunch, overlooking Conneaut Creek. Sitting 25 feet above the creek, this bridge became one of my favorites on this trip. The original date of construction is not known, but the bridge was renovated extensively in 1994.
The soothing and tranquil spot provided a pleasurable break on our driving tour while we soaked up sunshine, heard birds serenading us with song, and listened to the gentle rippling of the creek. When we take time to just pause and observe the world around us, we find blessings, even at a covered bridge.
I hope you join me again next Tuesday to see the last four covered bridges out of the dozen we visited in the state next door. And I hope the serenity of these quaint bridges encourage you to look at the amazing sights in the world about you.
“Bridges become frames for looking at the world around us.” ~ Bruce Jackson