This is a truly unique setting. Here, there are two parallel drives side-by-side, and each carries an extremely rare 1870s cast and wrought iron bowstring truss, and each bridge is by a different builder. View the page for the other bridge here. The photo to the right shows a vertical member of this bridge with the other bridge visible in the background. The bridges and drives appear to be private property, but are next to a public park called Old Town Reserve. The park marks the birthplace of Tecumseh.
The bowstring that this bridge is parallel is a nice comparison to this bridge. Built by the Champion Bridge Company, the other bridge has a patented design that is far more unusual than that of the Wrought Iron Bridge Company, mainly due to the unusual and complex top chord design that Champion used. The other bridge's trusses have been made decorative and are not functional. In contrast, the trusses of this Wrought Iron Bridge Company bowstring remain functional.
Information and Findings From Ohio's Historic Bridge Inventory
The bridge carries a private drive (1352-1354 Old Springfield Pike) over a stream in a suburban setting north of Xenia. The drive provides access with the Old Springfield Pike for the houses on the east side of Old Town Creek. Between the creek and the Old Town Pike, to the west of the bridge, the drive passes through Old Town Park, which includes recreational fields, parking lot, picnic pavilion, and access to a bike trail. This is one of two parallel drives that serves this purpose. The other drive, located to the north of this one, is carried over the stream by another bowstring truss (29XXXX2).
The 1-span, 70'-long, wrought-iron bowstring truss bridge has the tubular arch chord section typical of the patented designs of the Wrought Iron Bridge Co. The arch is composed of four bowed-section channels. The verticals have a cross-shaped section, except for the verticals that make the floorbeam connections which are tapered and built-up of angles and lacing. The diagonals are rods with threaded ends that fit into special cast-iron connecting pieces along the top of the arch chords. The lower chords are composed of two flat iron bars with riveted splices. The flooring system consist of two metal floorbeams with bolted connections to the built-up verticals. The remainder of the floorbeams are timber and rest directly atop the lower chords. The bridge is supported on concrete abutments.
The bridge is believed to have been relocated here, date unknown.
Summary of Significance
The ca. 1875 tubular bowstring truss bridge is a complete and significant example of the patented design of the Wrought Iron Bridge Company of Canton, Oh. (Criterion C). The WIBCo was one of the largest and most influential bridge builders in the nation during the last half of the 19th century. David Hammond and Job Abbott of Canton patented the bowstring design in 1870. See HAER OH-91 for more information on the Hammond and the WIBCo.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
This bridge is tagged with the following special condition(s): Keystone Columns
This bridge and drive appear to be private property, but are next to a public park.
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