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Gilmore Bridge

Gilmore Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth and Rick McOmber

Bridge Documented: June 24, 2007

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Darr Road (TR-148) Over Sandusky River
Location
Rural: Sandusky County, Ohio: United States
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
By Builder/Contractor: Unknown

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
112 Feet (34.1 Meters)
Structure Length
221 Feet (67.4 Meters)
Roadway Width
16 Feet (4.88 Meters)
Spans
2 Main Span(s)
NBI Number
7230273

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

This bridge no longer exists!

This historic metal truss bridge was demolished for no reason in 2010 (while unfairly, a nearby historic covered bridge is fully preserved!)

This bridge had a 1910 construction date listed, but this may be inaccurate, and just a guess date. This bridge had been abandoned since 1977. A yellow sign on the road just off of CR-9 declaring the Gilmore Bridge closed was the only evidence to travelers that a bridge was hiding at the end of the road. Note that the sign spells the name "Gilmore" with one L, but maps spell a road near this bridge with two L's. It is unclear if one spelling is supposed to be more correct.

This impressive structure features two beautiful truss spans seated upon stone piers and abutments. Their is some deterioration on the pier, which if left unchecked for many years, could create a risk for collapse. The truss superstructure appears to retain excellent historic integrity, including original lattice "hub-guard" style railings. The trusses would have been outstanding candidates for restoration and reuse, perhaps in a new location. Both spans could have been relocated together, or each span could have been moved to a different location.

Instead, in 2010 this bridge was demolished. No replacement bridge was built. In other words, the bridge was demolished for no reason other than to reduce a piece of significant transportation heritage to scrap metal. What a waste of history and tax dollars!

New visitors to HistoricBridges.org may wonder why wooden covered bridges are excluded from a website dedicated to historic bridges. The Gilmore Bridge is a perfect example of why. Consider that the Gilmore Bridge was located about 1.5 miles east of a preserved two-span wooden covered bridge. Both this truss bridge and the covered bridge are historically significant. However, the covered bridge has been bypassed and preserved, while this beautiful truss bridge was left to rot and even worse was later demolished. Coincidence? Absolutely not! This is a pattern that has been replicated all over this country, and is the very reason that this website does not visit or feature wooden covered bridges. Government programs have been designed to be in favor of covered bridges and against truss bridges, and other historic bridge types. This has been coupled by a misinformed general population who walk into welcome centers and see Covered Bridge Tours but no Truss Bridge Tours or no Arch Bridge Tours, and are led to believe that the only type of historic bridge is a wooden covered bridge. Wooden covered bridges have been getting all the attention, while historic truss bridges are either abandoned or demolished and replaced with modern slabs of concrete. This discrimination is an insult to this nation's transportation heritage. This truss bridge was just as worthy of the attention and care as the nearby covered bridge has received, yet it has been denied this. Instead it was sentenced to the dumpster, while the nearby covered bridge... which by the way likely has a lot less original material than the metal truss did... gets all the attention. The matter is only further made worse by the state historic bridge inventories that automatically consider all covered bridges historic, but which wrote off unaltered, 100+ year old truss bridges like the Gilmore Bridge as not historic, which given how few pin-connected truss bridges remain is a little questionable. For all these reasons, HistoricBridges.org does not feature covered bridges... and instead puts the spotlight on all these other neglected historic bridge types... and the discrimination they recieve.

It is unclear how many people have only turned west onto CR-9 off of OH-53 to see the covered bridge, yet were never even aware of the equally important historic treasure just off to the east.

As long as this bridge remained standing Sandusky County still had a chance to make a change for the better and preserve this bridge, most likely for non-motorized use. The Gilmore Bridge was one of the oldest and most significant structures in the county and its preservation would have been a worthwhile endeavor. Instead, Sandusky County chose to forever deprive the world of this historic bridge.

Information and Findings From Ohio's Historic Bridge Inventory

Setting/Context

The one-lane bridge carried a rural road over a stream in a setting with active farms. The bridge is closed to vehicular traffic. There is a curve at the east end of the bridge.

Physical Description

The 2-span, approximately 300'-long pin-connected, Pratt thru truss bridge is traditionally composed. The lower chords are loop forged eyebars. The other members are traditionally composed, built up section. The floorbeams appear original, and the bridge is supported on ashlar stone units that are failing. The upper lateral bracing is set in place with U-shaped brackets. The original lattice railings are inside the truss lines. The plaque attached to an inclined end post has been removed.

Integrity

Abutments are failing with open joints. Plank deck failed. Section loss to coverplate. Bridge is in overall deteriorated condition.

Summary of Significance

The plaque has been removed, but stylistically the pin connected Pratt thru truss bridge appears to date to no later than ca. 1890. It has loop forged eye bars for the lower chords. Unfortunately many of the members, including the end posts, have section loss. The plaque has been taken leaving only a scar, so the fabricator is not readily identified. The bridge is not an early example of its type, which is very well represented in Ohio, and it does not appear to have any innovative or distinctive details. Rather, it reflects the standardization of design that characterizes pin connected truss bridges by 1890. 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. Ohio has three covered bridges that use this combination configuration, but they are all modern reconstructions based on the Pratt patent. 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, Pratt truss highway bridges, whether pinned or riveted, were almost always built under the auspices of counties and local units of government; the Pratt was not a standard design of the state highway department.

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.

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: No

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Photo Galleries and Videos: Gilmore Bridge

 
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Maps and Links: Gilmore Bridge

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

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