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Blackhand Gorge Bridge

Blackhand Gorge Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth and Rick McOmber

Bridge Documented: June 8, 2014

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Abandoned Pedestrian Walkway Over Claylick Creek
Rural: Licking County, Ohio: United States
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1880 By Builder/Contractor: Unknown

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Main Span Length
43 Feet (13.1 Meters)
Structure Length
Not Available
Roadway Width
Not Available
1 Main Span(s)
NBI Number

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

This bridge may be the only one of its kind in existence, thanks to its truly bizarre truss configuration. It is not a Kingpost truss, nor is it famous engineer J. A. L. Waddell's design for an A-frame truss (often classified as a "Waddell A-Frame" yet this bridge is a variety of A-frame truss. It is not known who built the bridge. An 1880 construction date is listed for the bridge, which is plausible given the font on the bridge's Carnegie brands, and the unusual design of the bridge.

This bridge is in a park and is suitable for pedestrian use yet is closed off and not maintained. Given its high significance it needs to be fully restored and preserved!

Information and Findings From Ohio's Historic Bridge Inventory


The bridge carries an abandoned and closed off bike/pedestrian path over a stream in the Blackhand Gorge State Nature Preserve. In 2009, the trail was totally overgrown. The path is on a former railroad right-of-way. The path is located on old TR 332.

Physical Description

The 1 span, metal truss bridge is an A-frame thru truss with sub-diagonals. The upper chords are composed of paired channels with cover plate and battens. The diagonal struts are paired angles with long rivets/spacers. The diagonals and lower chords and eyebars. The bridge has a wood deck and chain link fence. The bridge is supported on ashlar abutments from a former railroad bridge at this location.


Floorbeam and deck system replaced in 1983 when bridge relocated. The eyebars of the lower chord at mid-panel are sprung.

Summary of Significance

The A-frame truss bridge was relocated from TR 332 to Blackhand Gorge in 1983, resulting in some loss of original design due to changes in the floorbeam connections and deck. It is, however, a very rare truss type/design and maintains sufficient integrity to convey its technological significance. The eligible recommendation of the prior inventory remains appropriate.


The bridge is rare in Ohio and the nation. It has high significance.

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes


Photo Galleries and Videos: Blackhand Gorge Bridge

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Maps and Links: Blackhand Gorge Bridge

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