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Burson Road Bridge

Burson Road Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: August 12, 2012

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Burson Road (TR-62) Over Flat Run
Location
Rural: Morrow County, Ohio: United States
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1883 By Builder/Contractor: Massillon Bridge Company of Massillon, Ohio

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
59 Feet (18 Meters)
Structure Length
61 Feet (19 Meters)
Roadway Width
12.5 Feet (3.81 Meters)
Spans
1 Main Span(s)
NBI Number
5930839

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)

Bridge Documentation

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

With a proven construction date of 1883, this bridge is an extremely old surviving example of a Pratt pony truss. The bridge has been abandoned and is extremely overgrown. The bridge retains good historic integrity. However, it should be noted that the attractive riveted lattice railings on the bridge, while old, are not original to the bridge. They were likely salvaged from some other old bridge and placed on this bridge.

Information and Findings From Ohio's Historic Bridge Inventory

Setting/Context

The bridge carries a short segment of unimproved, 1 lane road over a stream in a rural area of active farms. The bridge is closed.

Physical Description

The 1 span, 61'-long, pin-connected Pratt pony truss bridge is supported on ashlar abutments. The truss lines are traditionally composed, and they represent the standardization of details. Verticals are toe-out channels with lacing. There is some in kind replacement of members, but changes are minor.

Integrity

Minor welded repairs

Summary of Significance

The pin connected Pratt pony truss bridge was placed by the Massillon Bridge Co. in 1883. It is one of 20 examples of the important bridge type in Morrow County with the oldest extant example dating to 1874. Massillon Iron Bridge Company is believed to have been established by Joseph Davenport about 1869 to market his all-iron Howe truss bridges. It was incorporated as the Massillon Bridge Company in 1873. Davenport left the firm in 1875, but it went on to become one of the several successful and prolific metal truss bridge fabricators in the region selling standard-design, pin-connected bridges to counties throughout the Midwest. In 1903, Toledo interests gained control of the company, and it was moved to Toledo and restyled the Toledo-Massillon Bridge Company. The business was moved back to Massillon in 1909, and they manufactured ships during World War I. It was acquired by the Fort Pitt Bridge Company of Pittsburgh in 1930 or 1933. The works closed in 1943. There are over 25 Massillon Bridge Co. truss bridges remaining in Ohio (2009) with the largest concentration in Morrow County. This is the oldest extant example of the firm's work in the county, and it is historically and technologically significant based on its age and association with the prolific instate fabricator.

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. The design, which initially was a combination of wood compression and iron tension members, was patented in 1844 by Thomas & Caleb Pratt. 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'. Prior to about 1890, a variety of panel point connections (including bolts, cast-iron pieces, and pins), end panel floorbeam connections, and lower chord designs were in widespread use. 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. Post-1890 Pratt trusses show a progression toward less variation in their details such that by 1895 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 eclipsed in the highway bridge market by more rigid, rivet-connected truss designs, particularly the Warren design, but also the Pratt design as well. The transition to riveted field 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, 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-1895 examples are less technologically significant.

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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