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Old US-24 Belly Creek Bridge

Old US-24 Belly Creek Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: November 6, 2021

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Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Old US-24 Over Belly Creek
Location
Rural: Henry County, Ohio: United States
Structure Type
Stone Segmental Deck Arch, Fixed
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1842 By Builder/Contractor: Unknown
Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
Not Available
Structure Length
18.0 Feet (5.5 Meters)
Roadway Width
Not Available
Spans
1 Main Span(s)
Inventory Number
3501655

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

One of several surviving stone arch bridges, many at least partially rehabbed, among the oldest in Ohio, that originally served the Miami and Erie Canal, but not carries a highway. This is the smallest of the bridges.

Information and Findings From Ohio's Historic Bridge Inventory

Setting/Context

The bridge is located under earth fill and is not visible from the 2-lane roadway. The setting is rural. The roadway is built on the right-of-way of the former Miami & Erie Canal. The Miami & Erie Canal was completed in 1845. It connected the Ohio River at Cincinnati with Lake Erie at Toledo. Aqueduct is overgrown.

Physical Description

The 1 span, 18'-long arch bridge has coursed ashlar spandrel walls, arch barrel, and wingwalls. The spandrel walls and wingwalls show evidence of shifting stones; the spandrel walls have failed.

Integrity

Spandrel wall failure is threatening entire aqueduct. Poor condition.

Summary of Significance

The stone arch culvert is one in a series of eight ca. 1842 aqueducts that now carry SR 24 and SR 424 over streams in Henry County along the north shore of the Maumee River. The highways are built on the alignment of the 1832-1842 or 1845 Wabash & Erie Canal (W&E) that linked Lake Erie at Toledo with the Ohio River at Evansville. At Junction in Paulding County the W&E Canal joined the Miami and Ohio Canal to Cincinnati (see 6333230). While the W&E did much to stimulate the historic development of Toledo as a great lake port, the ambitious canals, which were expensive for Ohio and particularly Indiana to construct, were completed about the time the railroads came into prominence. By the Civil War, the railroads had eclipsed the canals for shipping goods and materials thus driving the canals into decline. The W&E was abandoned was abandoned in 1909. Period accounts report that many sections, which were in bad repair at the time of abandonment, had disappeared by 1913. The canal was largely drained in 1929, and in selected locations, highways and roads were constructed on the filled canal like SR 424 along the north shore of the Maumee River in Henry County or TR 153 in Paulding County. Ohio's eastern and western canals represent a significant historic context documenting our young nation's approach to developing internal improvements and linking regions and markets. The aqueducts of the Wabash & Erie Canal are historically and technologically significant for their association with the canal. They chronicle an important aspect of American history, settlement and development, and roots of our economy. All are eligible; eight in Henry County and one in Paulding County) for their association with the canal.

Justification

A well represented bridge type throughout the state for both bridges and culverts, stone arch bridges date from the mid 1830s and the building of the National Road through Belmont Co. Many are superbly proportioned and constructed by local contractors. They were used built through World War I, particularly during the later years in park settings. More than 125 examples remain. This example has moderate significance based on loss of integrity and comparison with a more complete aqueduct for the same canal in Paulding Co.

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes

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Maps and Links: Old US-24 Belly Creek Bridge

Coordinates (Latitude, Longitude):

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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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