Designed by Joseph Davenport, who later formed the Massillon Bridge Company, this is the oldest surviving iron bridge in Ohio. It was the first iron bridge built in Stark County. In 1899, the bridge was relocated from its original site in Alliance to this park in Massillon. The relocation was done for reasons of historic preservation, as such this may be one of the first examples of historic bridge preservation in the country! The bridge was restored again in 2010.
This bridge as originally built was actually a deck truss, having much deeper floorbeams. This is why the railings, which are original, look overly tall today, since originally the deck was higher than it is today. The Howe truss design hints at the patented design that Davenport later used for other bridges built by the Massillon Bridge Company.
Above: Historical photo of the bridge in its original location, showing the deck truss configuration.
Information and Findings From Ohio's Historic Bridge Inventory
The bridge carries a pedestrian trail over a dry run in Massillon's Oak Knoll Park.
The 1 span, 27'-long bridge is a cast and wrought-iron Howe truss that was fabricated in 1859 and relocated from Alliance to Massillon in 1899.
Summary of Significance
The bridge is a rare and very significant example of early metal truss construction and the oldest known cast and wrought iron bridge in Ohio. See HAER OH-85 and David Simmons, Timeline, 1985.
The bridge is one of 6 extant examples dating from 1859 through the early 1870s of Joseph Davenport's technologically significant, innovative all-iron design that helped to launch Ohio's postbellum metal-truss bridge industry. All examples are rare and of exceptional importance because of their contribution to the evolution of the bridge type. Each is worthy of extraordinary measures to preserve and has high significance.
Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes
Original / Full Size Photos
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