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Coleman Road Bridge

Coleman Road Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: August 12, 2012

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Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Coleman Road (TR-152) Over Whetstone Creek
Rural: Morrow County, Ohio: United States
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
By Builder/Contractor: Massillon Bridge Company of Massillon, Ohio
Rehabilitation Date
Main Span Length
98.0 Feet (29.9 Meters)
Structure Length
99.0 Feet (30.2 Meters)
Roadway Width
13.8 Feet (4.21 Meters)
1 Main Span(s)
Inventory Number

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

This bridge no longer exists!

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

This bridge is an excellent example of a bridge built by the Massillon Bridge Company. While Morrow County has been blessed with a large number of remaining metal truss bridges, pin-connected through truss bridges remain relatively uncommon in the county. This is an excellent example with good historic integrity.

Like many bridge builders of this period, Massillon Bridge Company built many different styles of bridges, and the designs changed over time as well. However, at the same time, these different designs were generally duplicated for different customers and needs. This explains why this bridge's details are very similar to the Stancer Road Bridge in Michigan.

The bridge retains original railing, which is composed of a rolled shape similar to a "W." The design appears to be unique to Massillon Bridge Company bridges, and appears on some other bridges built by the company. The railing design is noteworthy because while no other period bridge builders used the design, it anticipates thinking of future decades: that a railing should function as a "guard" or "guide" rail, and serve to guide and deflect errant vehicles, rather than ensnaring them as many railings used during this period would have done. While not massive enough to work effectively with today's vehicles, this railing would have functioned well when the bridge was built.

The Historic Bridge Inventory found the bridge ineligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. HistoricBridges.org's position is that any pin-connected through truss that has fair or better historic integrity should be considered eligible, given their rarity, both in the state and nationwide. No state retains a population of pin-connected through trusses great enough to justify writing off such bridges as non-historic. Furthermore, the ca. 1894 date suggested for this bridge (apparently based only on the style of the bridge) may well be inaccurate. Michigan's similar Stancer Road Bridge dated to 1888, and this bridge might also date to 1888. As such, the bridge should not be written off based on the 1894 date, since the 1894 date is speculation. Also, the bridge stands out among similar bridges due to its lack of alteration. Many bridges of this type have substantial alteration. This bridge has nearly none.

Information and Findings From Ohio's Historic Bridge Inventory


The bridge carries a 1 rural lane road over a stream in a rural area of active farms. The road is winding. Most of the plaque has been lost, but enough remains to prove that the bridge was fabricated by the Massillon Bridge Co.

Physical Description

The 1 span, 99'-long, pin-connected Pratt thru truss bridge is has early details that are indicative of its fabricator. The truss members are traditionally composed. The rolled beam lateral bracing and rod lateral bracing are connected at the upper panel points by circular collars. The end floorbeams are hung using eye bars. The portal bracing is lattice and is supported in part on cast iron brackets. The bridge appears to be complete. Vertical clearance is 12'-2".


Has integrity.

Summary of Significance

The bridge is one of about 8 pin connected thru truss bridge, including early 1880s double intersection Pratt design examples, in the state fabricated by the Massillon Bridge Co., but its date of construction is not documented. The circular collar for sway and lateral bracing at the upper panel point is a detail used from 1881 until at least 1900. The lattice bracing is a mid-1880s detail that also continued in use through the 19th century. The bridge is a complete example of its type and design, and it dated ca. 1894 to reflect the middle of the documented population of similar bridges. It represents the Massillon Bridge Company's standardization of their thru truss design. It is the early examples that are technologically significant.

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.

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-1885 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. 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 1885 and have documented or attributed builders and dates of construction and/or significant connection or member details. Post-1895 examples are less technologically significant.


The bridge is one of 57 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 is representative of the standardization of pin connected bridges and has moderate significance.

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: No


Photo Galleries and Videos: Coleman Road Bridge


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Maps and Links: Coleman Road Bridge

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

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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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