HistoricBridges.org Menu: HistoricBridges.org Menu:


We Recommend:
Bach Steel - Experts at historic truss bridge restoration.

HistoricBridges.org: Bridge Browser

Owens Road Bridge

Owens Road Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: May 7, 2006 and June 6, 2014

View Photos
and Videos
View Maps
and Links

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Owens Road Over Panther Creek
Location
Rural: Miami County, Ohio: United States
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
By Builder/Contractor: Smith Bridge Company of Toledo, Ohio
Rehabilitation Date
1913
Main Span Length
84.0 Feet (25.6 Meters)
Structure Length
86.0 Feet (26.2 Meters)
Roadway Width
15.7 Feet (4.79 Meters)
Spans
1 Main Span(s)
Inventory Number
5533260

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
View Information About HSR Ratings

Bridge Documentation

View Archived National Bridge Inventory Report - Has Additional Details and Evaluation

The construction date of this bridge is unknown, but is assumed to date to ca. 1885. The National Bridge Inventory lists a 1913 construction date with a 1958 rehabilitation date. The 1913 date is incorrect, because although no plaque remains, this bridge clearly displays the distinctive details of a bridge built by the Smith Bridge Company of Toledo, Ohio in the neighborhood of 1885. The 1913 date may be an indication that in that year this truss bridge was relocated from elsewhere and reused here in its current location on Owens Road.

There are two details that are very unique to Smith Bridge Company through truss bridges that are found on this bridge. First, the "feet" of this bridge, where the bearing and the bottom chord connection to the end post is located has a very distinctive design. The highly unusual design of this bridge "shoe" allows the entire end post to function like a rocker bearing. Another unusual detail at this location is that the bottom chord is not connected to the end post with a pin connection. Instead, a threaded rod with nut type connection is present.

The second distinctive detail that associates this bridge with the Smith Bridge Company is that at the base of the portal bracing knees, resting inside the channel of the end post is a decorative cast iron spindle that provides a pleasing termination to the portal bracing.

A third less unique detail, but also usually found with bridges built by the Smith Bridge Company is the overall design of the portal bracing. The top of the portal bracing sits lower than on most truss bridges built by other companies. Specifically, the top portion of the portal bracing lines up more or less with the bottom of the top chord rather that with the top of the top chord. Finally the shape of the portal bracing, somewhat like an A-frame with the top of the "A" cut off and the entirety filled with lattice is the standard shape that the Smith Bridge Company usually used.

Finally, even less unique when compared against other bridge companies, but definitely details preferred by the Smith Bridge Company is that the overhead struts lack any v-lacing or lattice, and the overhead lateral bracing includes turnbuckles allowing for the adjustment of these members.

When looking at other documented Smith Bridge Company through truss bridges from the 1880s, it is found that those dating to ca. 1883 usually had built-up triangular shaped "fishbelly style" floor beams that ended in decorative cast iron blocks. In contrast, later examples from as soon as a couple years later dating to ca. 1885 instead have built-up beams that are shaped in a more standard i-beam shape. Since the Owens Road Bridge displays the i-beam shaped floor beams, a ca. 1885 construction date for this bridge seems appropriate.

Given the above strong evidence above that this is a ca. 1885 Smith Bridge Company bridge, it is somewhat amusing to read the findings of Ohio's most recent major update to the Historic Bridge Inventory. The hired consultant apparently looked at this bridge with their eyes closed. They jumped on the 1913 construction date, and assumed it was correct (a big mistake considering how many errors can be found in the National Bridge Inventory) and failed to associate a builder with the bridge. They even stated that the bridge has "no distinctive details" suggesting they never even noticed the unusual bridge shoe. This bad evaluation actually has serious ramifications however. As a result of this poorly conducted evaluation in the Historic Bridge Inventory, this bridge was condemned as Ineligible for Listing in the National Register of Historic Places. Given the age of this bridge and its distinctive bridge shoe detail that illustrates the creative designs of a noteworthy Ohio bridge builder, this bridge should be Eligible for Listing in the National Register of Historic Places. As currently evaluated, this bridge is not protected from harm or destruction by federally bridge funding programs.

Other Smith Bridge Company bridges very similar to this bridge include the Morseville Bridge and the Hamilton Road Bridge. The 1883 Hamilton Road Bridge is one of the earlier examples and has the fishbelly floor beams. The 1885 Morseville Bridge has floor beams very similar to the Owens Road Bridge.

Information and Findings From Ohio's Historic Bridge Inventory

Setting/Context

The bridge carries a 2 lane road over a stream in a sparsely developed, rural setting.

Physical Description

The 1 span, 86'-long, pin-connected Pratt thru truss bridge is traditionally composed of built-up compression members and eyebar tension members. U-shaped hangers at the lower panel points supported the built-up floorbeams. The bridge has lattice portal bracing.

Summary of Significance

The 1913 pin-connected Pratt thru truss bridge is later example of a common type/design and has no distinctive details or features. The builder is not documented by available county records. The not eligible recommendation of the prior inventory remains appropriate.

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, although eventually superseded in popularity by Warren trusses. 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'. Significant surviving examples of all-metal Pratt trusses mostly date to the last quarter of the 19th century, and they are found with thru, pony, and the less common bedstead configuration. Prior to about 1890, a variety of panel point connections were in widespread use (including bolts, cast-iron pieces, and pins), but engineering opinion was coalescing around pins as the most efficient and constructible. 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. Later post-1890 Pratt trusses show a progression toward less variation in their details such that by 1900 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 waning and eclipsed in the highway bridge market by more rigid, rivet-connected truss designs, particularly the Warren but also riveted Pratts. The transition to riveted 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-1900 examples are less technologically significant. Significant unaltered examples of riveted-connected Pratt trusses date from ca. 1900 to 1915.

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: No

Divider

Photo Galleries and Videos: Owens Road Bridge

 

View Photo Gallery

2014 Bridge Photo-Documentation

Original / Full Size Photos
A collection of overview and detail photos. This gallery offers photos in the highest available resolution and file size in a touch-friendly popup viewer.
Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer

Divider

View Photo Gallery

2014 Bridge Photo-Documentation

Mobile Optimized Photos
A collection of overview and detail photos. This gallery features data-friendly, fast-loading photos in a touch-friendly popup viewer.
Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer

Divider

View Photo Gallery

2006 Bridge Photo-Documentation

Original / Full Size Photos
A collection of overview and detail photos. This gallery offers photos in the highest available resolution and file size in a touch-friendly popup viewer.
Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer

Divider

View Photo Gallery

2006 Bridge Photo-Documentation

Mobile Optimized Photos
A collection of overview and detail photos. This gallery features data-friendly, fast-loading photos in a touch-friendly popup viewer.
Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer

Divider

Maps and Links: Owens Road Bridge

Coordinates (Latitude, Longitude):

Search For Additional Bridge Listings:

Bridgehunter.com: View listed bridges within 0.5 miles (0.8 kilometers) of this bridge.

Bridgehunter.com: View listed bridges within 10 miles (16 kilometers) of this bridge.

HistoricBridges.org Bridge Browser: View listed bridges within 0.5 miles (0.8 kilometers) of this bridge.

HistoricBridges.org Bridge Browser: View listed bridges within 10 miles (16 kilometers) of this bridge.

2021 National Bridge Inventory: View listed bridges within 0.5 miles (0.8 kilometers) of this bridge.

Additional Maps:

Google Maps

Google Streetview (If Available)

Bing Maps

OpenStreetMap

GeoHack (Additional Links and Coordinates)

Apple Maps (Via DuckDuckGo Search)

Apple Maps (Apple devices only)

MapQuest

HERE We Go Maps

ACME Mapper

Waze Map

Android: Open Location In Your Map or GPS App

Flickr Gallery (Find Nearby Photos)

Wikimedia Commons (Find Nearby Photos)

Directions Via Sygic For Android

Directions Via Sygic For iOS and Android Dolphin Browser

USGS National Map (United States Only)

Historical USGS Topo Maps (United States Only)

Historic Aerials (United States Only)

CalTopo Maps (United States Only)


Divider
 
Home Top

Divider

About - Contact

© Copyright 2003-2022, HistoricBridges.org. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer: HistoricBridges.org is a volunteer group of private citizens. HistoricBridges.org is NOT a government agency, does not represent or work with any governmental agencies, nor is it in any way associated with any government agency or any non-profit organization. While we strive for accuracy in our factual content, HistoricBridges.org offers no guarantee of accuracy. Information is provided "as is" without warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied. Information could include technical inaccuracies or errors of omission. Opinions and commentary are the opinions of the respective HistoricBridges.org member who made them and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone else, including any outside photographers whose images may appear on the page in which the commentary appears. HistoricBridges.org does not bear any responsibility for any consequences resulting from the use of this or any other HistoricBridges.org information. Owners and users of bridges have the responsibility of correctly following all applicable laws, rules, and regulations, regardless of any HistoricBridges.org information.

Admin Login

Divider