This bridge is sitting on the ground in this location in a park setting. The bridge was originally on Cherry Street in Canal Fulton. Abandoned and deteriorating due to poor storage practice, this bridge is a rare Massillon Bridge Company bowstring with sloped verticals and no diagonals. The bridge has been left sitting in the dirt. This has introduced forces in improper areas of the bridge causing severe distortion of the trusses. Some members have broken. The bottom chord is in the mud and due to moisture exposure it is deteriorating. The bridge deserves to be restored and reuse but with each passing year the amount of work needed and the cost associated is going to increase. The time for action is now!
Information and Findings From Ohio's Historic Bridge Inventory
The bridge is resting on the ground (not crossing anything) next to a pedestrian trail along the Ohio & Erie Canal accessed from Erie Avenue. It is the former Cherry Street bridge.
The bridge is a complete but perhaps racked example of a Massillon bowstring pony truss with their patented ribbed design.
The bridge itself has integrity.
Summary of Significance
The ca. 1875 bowstring truss bridge is attributable to the Massillon Bridge Co. due to the configuration of the trusses arch chord. It was reportedly moved to the present location in the 1930s and raised in 1972 when this section of the canal was restored. The bridge was surveyed by the SHPO in 1980 and recommended eligible. It was also included in the ODOT 1981 survey as a select bridge. It is a rare and technologically significant example of the type/design. The eligible recommendation remains appropriate. Bowstring trusses are characterized by arched top chords and a trussed or lattice web. They rank among the rarest and most technologically significant of 19th-century metal truss designs since they appeared early in the evolution of iron bridge development and were almost always based on the patents or proprietary designs of bridge builders and engineers. The progenitor of the form was the famed engineer Squire Whipple of New York, who built the first example in 1840 over the Erie Canal at Utica. After the Civil War, Ohio was a center for the development of the bowstring with its concentration of metal bridge-building companies. Companies such Wrought Iron Bridge, Champion Bridge, Massillon Bridge, and King Iron Bridge built their reputations on successful bowstring designs with a dizzying number of variant ways of forming and connecting the truss members. The companies emerged in time to fill the burgeoning demand for an economical, prefabricated bridge for use on American roads. Bowstring trusses thus document this exceptionally inventive and technologically significant period in the development of American metal trusses from the 1860s to early 1880s. The ODOT inventory has identified 22 surviving examples dating from ca. 1864 to 1880 (Phase 1A, 2008).
The bridge is one of the 22 extant bowstring truss bridges that survive in the state. Having so many is remarkable, and even though they are "common" based on their numbers, each is an important and irreplaceable record of the development of the metal truss bridge and the ingenuity associated with the Ohio industrial development. The bridge has high significance.
Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes
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