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Riverbend Bridge

TR-241 Bridge

   


Riverbend Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth and Rick McOmber

Bridge Documented: June 24, 2007
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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Pedestrian Walkway Over Depression
Location
Rural: Hancock County, Ohio
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1895 By Builder/Contractor: Canton Bridge Company of Canton, Ohio

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
1972
Main Span Length
119 Feet (36.3 Meters)
Structure Length
124 Feet (37.8 Meters)
Roadway Width
15.4 Feet (4.7 Meters)
Spans
1 Main Span(s)
NBI Number
3234312

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)

Bridge Documentation

View Archived National Bridge Inventory Report - Has Additional Details and Evaluation

This bridge retains excellent historic integrity, including builder plaques, decorative finials, and original railings. The few alterations present on the bridge are minimal and could be corrected as part of a restoration project. For this reason, the CR-241 Bridge is a significant example of the bridge type that was the standard for the late 19th century, the pin-connected truss bridge. It is a great example of a typical Canton Bridge Company through truss bridge, and its design details are similar to other bridges built by the company. It is noted for its decorative finials, a rare detail on a rural bridge.

This bridge was replaced by a new bridge in 2009. However, thanks in part to efforts by Vern Mesler, the man behind the restorations of the truss bridges in Michigan's Historic Bridge Park, this bridge was relocated a short distance to a park where it stands as an exhibit in the park. Thus the bridge is a noteworthy example of a preserved metal truss bridge in Ohio. The relocation of this bridge was accomplished in an unusual manner. Instead of picking the bridge with one or more cranes, the bridge was moved the way houses are often moved, by rolling it back off the river on wheels.

Information and Findings From Ohio's Historic Bridge Inventory

Setting/Context

The bridge carries a 2 lane road over a stream in a sparsely developed, rural setting. The road provides access to the River Bend Recreation Area from SR 568.

Physical Description

The 1 span, 124'-long, pin-connected Pratt thru truss bridge is traditionally composed of built-up compression members and eyebar or rod tension members. The upper chords are toe-out channels with cover plate and lacing. The verticals are toe-out channels with lacing. It has A-frame portals complete with ball finials and builder's plaque. There are lattice railings. The bridge has rolled floorbeams supported from the lower-chord pins by U-shaped hangers. The bridge is supported on stone abutments with concrete caps.

Integrity

Floorbeam hanger connection in end panels has been altered by welded box strengthening, otherwise it has integrity of original design. One of four finials is missing.

Summary of Significance

The 1895 pin-connected Pratt thru truss bridge is technologically significant as a complete example of its type/design by a prominent Ohio fabricator (Criterion C). It is 1 of 5 identified examples of the pin-connected Pratt by this builder dating from 1886 to 1910, and the only example of a thru truss (the other 4 are pony trusses). The Canton Bridge Company was established in 1876, but apparently struggled financially and was reorganized in 1891. One of the original 1891 stockholders was David Hammond, the founder of Canton's larger and better-known fabricator, the Wrought Iron Bridge Company in 1866. The Canton Bridge Company was not an innovator in Pratt truss-bridge design but was perhaps best known for its successful sales network with offices in major cities from the Northeast to the Midwest with the offices headed by relatives or close associates of David Hammond. In 1901, the company erected over 800 bridges and claimed to have fabricated 25% of all highway bridges built in Ohio that year. The company remained in operation through at least the mid-1910s.

Pratt trusses were undoubtedly the most popular truss design of the last quarter of the 19th century and continued to be built into the 20th century, although eventually superseded in popularity by Warren trusses. The design, which initially was a combination of wood compression and iron tension members, was patented in 1844 by Thomas & Caleb Pratt. Ohio has three covered bridges that use this combination configuration, but they are all modern reconstructions based on the Pratt patent. The great advantage of the Pratt over other designs was the relative ease of calculating the distribution of stresses. More significantly, it translated well into an all-metal design in lengths of less than 200'. Significant surviving examples of all-metal Pratt trusses mostly date to the last quarter of the 19th century, and they are found with thru, pony, and the less common bedstead configuration. Prior to about 1890, a variety of panel point connections were in widespread use (including bolts, cast-iron pieces, and pins), but engineering opinion was coalescing around pins as the most efficient and constructible. Many of the connection details were proprietary and associated with individual builders or companies, and thus earlier examples are generally taken to be technologically significant in showing the evolution of the design. Later post-1890 Pratt trusses show a progression toward less variation in their details such that by 1900 the design was quite formulaic with few significant differences between the designs of various builders. This marked the end of the pin-connected Pratt's technological evolution and, in fact, it was soon waning and eclipsed in the highway bridge market by more rigid, rivet-connected truss designs, particularly the Warren but also riveted Pratts. The transition to riveted connections, which happened even earlier with railroads than highways, was in no small part due to concerns about stress reversals at the pins under heavier loads and improvements in pneumatic field riveting equipment in the early 1900s. In Ohio, Pratt truss highway bridges, whether pinned or riveted, were almost always built under the auspices of counties and local units of government; the Pratt was not a standard design of the state highway department.

In Ohio, there are 185 Pratt trusses dating from ca. 1874 to 1945 with at least 60 dating prior to 1900 (Phase 1A, 2008). The technologically significant unaltered examples of pin-connected Pratt trusses for the most part date prior to 1900 and have documented or attributed builders and dates of construction and/or significant connection or member details. Later post-1900 examples are less technologically significant. Significant unaltered examples of riveted-connected Pratt trusses date from ca. 1900 to 1915.

Justification

The bridge is one of over 150 extant pin-connected truss bridges dating from 1874 for pony trusses and 1876 for thru trusses. Twenty six predate 1888 and represent the era of experimentation that evolved into standardized designs by about 1888. This example has moderate significance because the genre and the fabricator are so well represented in Ohio.

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes

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