The unusual tubular top chord of this bridge immediately identifies this bridge as the patented design of William Rezner. Only a few bridges of this design survive in the entire country. This is the only known one in Ohio.
If you review the Historic American Engineering Record documentation for this bridge it is a bit confusing. It suggests in the intro that the bridge was built in 1877 by the Wrought Iron Bridge Company, but then in the actual text seems to question that finding by noting that the documentation stating that date and company refers to a "low truss" which is what pony truss bridges used to be called. This is a through truss. It also uses a patented design that was not held by Wrought Iron Bridge Company, who had its own patented design of which is was very proud of. It would be both very strange and possibly the only known example of this prolific company doing something like this. It just doesn't make sense. Seems more likely the bridge was built by the Ohio Bridge Company of Cleveland Ohio who held William Rezner's patent.
Below is a rather unique item photographed by the Historic American Engineering Record. It is a tiny model of a Rezner bowstring truss which was included as part of the package submitted to the US Government when William Rezner applied for his patent.
Information and Findings From Ohio's Historic Bridge Inventory
The bridge carries a pedestrian walkway on the drive to the cemetery. It has been closed to traffic and was converted from a vehicular bridge to a pedestrian/bike path bridge in 1999.
The 1-span, 127'-long bowstring truss bridge has upper-chord arch members composed of two elliptical sections riveted at the flanges to a plate to form a tubular section. The bridge has rolled, cruciform-section verticals, and rod diagonals. The web members have threaded ends and are bolt connected to the upper chord and lower chord at the panel points with the use of cast-iron connecting pieces. The lower chords are flat bars that have been forge-welded to threaded rod ends to make the connections at the cast-iron bearing pieces that receive the arches. The rolled I-beam floorbeams sit directly atop the lower chords.
Summary of Significance
See HAER OH-39 for more detailed info. Summary from HAER OH-39: "The White Bowstring Arch Truss Bridge is the only known example in Ohio of William Rezner's patented oval wrought-iron tubular arch design. Only two other examples are known to exist in the United States (as of August 1986). Bowstring arch bridges were once common, and many were built between 1850 and 1880, but few have survived. This bridge was built by the Wrought Iron Bridge Company of Canton, Ohio, which was one of America's largest and most important bridge building companies in the late 19th century.
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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