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Camden College Corner Road Bridge

Hueston Woods Bridge

Camden College Corner Road Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: May 7, 2006

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Camden College Corner Road (CR-24) Over 4 Mile Creek
Location
Rural: Preble County, Ohio: United States
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1929 By Builder/Contractor: Brookville Bridge Company of Brookville, Ohio

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
103 Feet (31 Meters)
Structure Length
111 Feet (34 Meters)
Roadway Width
20 Feet (6.1 Meters)
Spans
1 Main Span(s)
NBI Number
6841481

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)

Bridge Documentation

This bridge no longer exists!

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

This Historic Bridge Was Demolished By Preble County October 11, 2011 And Replaced With A Fake Non Historic Wooden Covered Bridge

A Disgraceful And Unfair Bridge Project

First-time visitors to HistoricBridges.org might find it odd that a website dedicated to "promoting the preservation of our transportation heritage" would purposely exclude wooden covered bridges from inclusion on the website. However there is perhaps no better explanation for why this exclusion is made than reviewing what Preble County is doing with the Camden College Corner Road Bridge.

The United States has idolized and obsessed over wooden to the point where these bridges are so overrated that many wooden covered bridges have done irreversible harm to the nation's population of non-covered historic bridges. Federal funding programs have targeted the preservation of covered bridges and covered bridges only, leaving metal truss bridges and concrete arch bridges to deteriorate and be demolished and replaced destroying that heritage forever. Covered bridges and covered bridges only have been promoted in literature, film, travel brochures, and advertisements to the point where the general public is highly aware of covered bridges but has little if any awareness of the equally significant value of historic metal, concrete, and stone bridges. An enormous imbalance is present in the United States when comparing the number of preserved covered bridges to preserved historic bridges of other types. Worse, many covered bridges described as "historic" have very little actual historic value. Many of these bridges suffer from a nearly complete loss of original materials, and others have been retrofitted with superstructures that render the covered bridge little more than a non-functional decoration. In other cases, modern covered bridges are constructed and presented to the public as historic bridges, which they are not. In contrast, many historic bridges such as metal truss bridges and concrete arch bridges display an extremely high degree of original materials and original design, yet are being demolished and replaced.

 Of all the disgraceful ways it might be possible to demonstrate a gross and unfair favoritism toward covered bridges perhaps none is greater than the Camden College Corner Road Bridge. The bridge is a beautiful riveted polygonal Warren pony truss with excellent historic integrity. Structurally, the bridge is in decent condition although the flooring system including deck stringers and floor beams might need to be replaced as part of a comprehensive rehabilitation to bring the bridge back to like-new condition. The trusses themselves still have a fairly good paint system present, and likely would only need minor repairs and a new coat of paint to restore them. Not only would rehabilitation likely cost less than replacement and save taxpayers money, it would also preserve a beautiful historic bridge.

What, then, is Preble County's solution? Build a fake modern wooden covered bridge that has no heritage value whatsoever and only serves to create a false sense of history. This bridge is to be built on a new alignment, next to the historic truss bridge. Then, the historic metal truss bridge is to be demolished, even though the plans show that it is not in the way of its replacement. If this project were to proceed as planned, except that it would leave the historic truss bridge standing next to its replacement, this would not be a serious issue. Certainly, the covered bridge would create a false sense of history, but as long as the genuine historic bridge remained in place this would be a very minor issue. However to demolish the historic bridge when it isn't in the way of the replacement bridge is nothing less than a waste of taxpayer dollars. Closed to vehicular traffic, this historic bridge would likely stand next to its replacement as-is for decades with no issues. The generous posted weight limit of 26 tons for the historic bridge demonstrates that the bridge is not on the verge of collapse under its own weight.

Demolishing a historic metal truss bridge and building a replacement non-historic modern covered bridge and is one of the most ridiculous projects to be encountered in the United States. The project sends a false message. To the general public, it tricks people into thinking Preble County cares about historic bridges and that they care about the beauty of their roads. The reality is that Preble County has chosen to demolish a riveted metal truss bridge with heritage value and they have replaced it with a bridge with no historic value whatsoever. Preble County in reality is wasting tax dollars and demonstrating a complete lack of concern for historic bridges.

Given that Preble County has a number of historic metal truss bridges, some of them nationally significant, this project raises serious concerns about the future of the other historic bridges in the county. Does the county plan to annihilate all of its historic metal truss bridges and replace them with fake modern covered bridges? It is hoped that the county will realize the error of its decision with this bridge and instead choose to rehabilitate its remaining historic metal truss bridges. Should the county choose rehabilitation, HistoricBridges.org would be happy to support such an effort and would gladly assist the county in locating engineers and contractors who can produce the best quality work for the least amount of money.

Discussion of Bridge

Except for a lack of v-lacing and a different builder, this bridge has a striking resemblance to the Indian Trail Road Bridge back in Michigan, although the two bridges are completely unrelated in any way except for the period in which they were built. Particularly the railing design on the bridge, which includes a pole and a strip of riveted steel below, is very similar to Indian Trail.

This bridge is a warren pony truss with a polygonal top chord. It features riveted connections. V-lacing is present under the top chord. The members of this bridge are simple i-beams in design. The single span structure rests on concrete abutments. There are rocker bearings at the east end of the truss. The bridge was built in 1929. The deck is concrete with an asphalt wearing surface. The floorbeams under the bridge appear to have been replaced, as indicated by welding around the bottom chord connections. Regardless, these floorbeams today are quite badly rusted. Perhaps it is a testament to the lesser quality of modern steel compared to the pure steel used back during the truss bridge era. See the photos gallery, just below the full/wallpaper sized images for photos of the weld marks and rusty beams.

Be sure to visit the page for the Foos Road Bridge, another similar bridge in the county built by the same company, the Brookville Bridge Company of Brookville, OH.

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.

Physical Description

The 1-span, 111'-long and 20.6'-wide, rivet-connected Warren pony truss bridge has a polygonal upper chord and verticals. The chords are built-up members and the verticals and diagonals are rolled sections. The lower chord connections have been altered by replacement of rivets with bolts for the floorbeam connections. The floorbeams originally were level with or slightly above the lower chords (see old survey photos) but are now carried below the lower chords with a welded connection plate. The bridge has rolled stringers and a concrete deck. The bridge has steel channel guard rails with a pipe hand rail. The concrete abutments have been repaired with concrete including extensive work for new bearing areas for the truss's rocker bearings.

Integrity

Replaced floorbeams and altered lower-panel connections with combination of bolts and welded connections (ca. 1985). Alterations to concrete abutments.

Summary of Significance

The 1929 Warren pony truss is a later example of its type/design with no distinguishing features. The integrity of original design has been impacted by alterations to the lower-chord panel points and connections to accommodate replacement floorbeams. The truss has riveted connections, typical of Warren trusses from about 1900 to the 1940s when riveted connections began to be phased out in favor of welded connections. This example is not historically significant for its technology or context. More complete and distinguished examples better represent the significance of the type/design to the development of the state's road systems. The not eligible recommendation of the prior inventory remains appropriate.

Warren trusses are the most common design found in Ohio and the nation. The Ohio Phase 1A survey (2008) has identified more than 500 examples dating from 1897 to 1961, accounting for well over half of the approximately 800 pre-1961 metal trusses. The Warren design was particularly well suited to rigid (riveted, and later welded connections), but not as well suited to pin connections; this helps to explain its popularity in the 20th century rather than the 19th century, although it is based on a British patent issued to engineers James Warren and Willoughby Monzani in 1848. In the U.S., the popularity of the Warren truss coincided with improvements in pneumatic field riveting equipment starting about 1900. The Warren, which is based on a series of equilateral triangles, is identified by its simplicity of design, ease of construction with equal-sized members, and ability of some diagonals to act in both tensions and compression. Warren trusses are often stiffened by the addition of verticals; they can also have polygonal (sloped) upper chords to achieve greatest depth at midspan.

Warren trusses were a standard design of the Ohio State Highway Department in the 1910s and 1920s, but they achieved their greatest popularity with county engineers, who purchased the bridges from Ohio fabricators such as the Champion Bridge Co. and the Mt. Vernon Bridge Co. Fewer than 25 surviving rivet-connected Warren trusses date prior to 1915, and they represent the period when the rivet-connected design solidified its position as the most popular prefabricated county truss design.

A noteworthy change in the technological development of Warren trusses was the transition from riveted to welded connections that began in the mid to late 1930s. The development was based on improvements in arc-welding equipment and the propagation of welding techniques as a substitute for riveting in many fields of construction, such as steel-hull ships and steel-frame buildings. While most of Ohio's remaining truss fabricators went out of business in the depression of the 1930s, Ohio Bridge Corporation (OBC) of Cambridge grew its business on the development of a standard weld-connected Warren pony truss with polygonal upper chords in the years immediately following WWII. OBC remains in operation and many Ohio counties continue to find the weld-connected Warren trusses to be a desirable economical alternative to other bridge types. More than 360 of the 500 Warren trusses in the study are weld-connected and most are attributable to OBC from the late 1940s to 1960. It is the early examples of weld-connected Warren trusses dating from the mid 1930s to mid 1940s that are the technologically significant examples.

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: No

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Photo Galleries and Videos: Camden College Corner Road Bridge

 
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Maps and Links: Camden College Corner Road Bridge

This historic bridge has been demolished. This map is shown for reference purposes only.

Coordinates (Latitude, Longitude):
39.591970,-84.770640

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