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Bellville Bridge

Bellville Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Rick McOmber

Bridge Documented: June 19, 2010

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Bellville: Richland County, Ohio: United States
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1937 By Builder/Contractor: Mount Vernon Bridge Company of Mount Vernon, Ohio and Engineer/Design: Ohio State Highway Department
Rehabilitation Date
Main Span Length
138.0 Feet (42.1 Meters)
Structure Length
146.0 Feet (44.5 Meters)
Roadway Width
30 Feet (9.14 Meters)
1 Main Span(s)
Inventory Number

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

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

This bridge is an unusual structure because it was designed with the goal of producing a specific form of aesthetic appearance. As such, it deviates from the standard design of most truss bridges from the period. For example, the bridge has vertical end posts rather than inclined end posts. Further, the bridge has attractive arched struts which compliment the arched shape of the Parker truss. The bridge has a striking lack of v-lacing or lattice, which gives the bridge a more simple and streamlined appearance. The bridge has pedestrian railings that occur rarely in Ohio and appear to be based off of a railing design used widely in Michigan and Ontario.

Information and Findings From Ohio's Historic Bridge Inventory


The bridge carries a 2 lane highway and sidewalks over a stream in a setting of mixed-use 20th-century development in Bellville.

Physical Description

The skewed, 1 span, 146'-long, riveted Parker thru truss bridge has built-up chords and rolled I section web members. There is slightly arched upper lateral bracing at the five interior panel points of the five panel bridge. The end posts are vertical, not sloped, as is characteristic of most Parker trusses of this period. The gusset plates have been shaped to have curvilinear edges, rather than straight edges, giving them a "webbed" appearance. The bridge has rolled floorbeams, stringer, and a concrete deck. The cantilevered sidewalks are supported on built-up brackets and finished with standard decorative metal-panel railings. The stone-faced U-shaped wingwalls are completed by random ashlar parapets.


OHPO approves rehabilitation 1983. The bridge was rehabilitated in 1985. Painted in 1998.

Summary of Significance

The Parker thru truss was fabricated by the Mt. Vernon Bridge Co. for the state highway department in 1938. It is an exceptionally well-proportioned, although technologically late, example of the bridge type/design. It has nice aesthetic detailing, including the gusset plates, lateral bracing, and ashlar wingwalls. It speaks well of the bridge bureau's attention to design under the leadership of D. H. Overman. There is a similar pony truss in Pickaway County on SR 56 (6501567). The bridge was rehabilitated in 1999, which included replacing the deck and painting. The project does not appear to have diminished the integrity or the ability of the bridge to convey its significance. The prior inventory included the bridge in the reserve pool. It is recommended eligible.

Camelback and Parker trusses are members of the Pratt-family of trusses with sloped top chords Technologically, Camelback and Parker trusses differ only in the number of top chord slopes (Camelbacks have exactly five slopes, and Parkers have more than five slopes.) The sloped-chord trusses provide the greatest depth at midspan where it is needed to accommodate the stresses, meaning that less material is needed in their construction as compared to a parallel chord truss of similar span, but fabrication is made more difficult due to the varying lengths of the members. The sloped-chord trusses are often associated with longer spans where the savings in material is great enough to be worth the additional fabrication costs. The practice of sloping the top chords dates to at least the 1840s and appeared early in the development of metal trusses. As with other truss designs, pin connections were used from the 1870s to 1900s, and mostly phased out during the 1910s. Rivet connections were being used by the early 1900s and were prevalent from the 1910s to 1940s. Standardized rivet-connected Camelback and Parker designs were used by many state highway departments, including the Ohio State Highway Department. There are 23 trusses (8 Camelback, 15 Parker) in the Ohio inventory (Phase 1A, 2008).


The bridge as a later example of a common type/design has a moderate level of significance. Of the over 140 examples built between 1897 and 1960, only 13 predate 1910.

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes

View PDF Historic Bridge Inventory Sheet


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Maps and Links: Bellville Bridge

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2021 National Bridge Inventory: View listed bridges within 0.5 miles (0.8 kilometers) of this bridge.

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