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Rice Cemetery Road Bridge

Rice Cemetery Road Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: August 12, 2012

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Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Rice Cemetery Road Over Tributary Flat Run
Rural: Morrow County, Ohio: United States
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1894 By Builder/Contractor: Unknown
Rehabilitation Date
Main Span Length
41.0 Feet (12.5 Meters)
Structure Length
43.0 Feet (13.1 Meters)
Roadway Width
12 Feet (3.66 Meters)
1 Main Span(s)
Inventory Number

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

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

At first glance this bridge has the appearance of a bridge that is either abandoned or perhaps placed here to provide a farmer with access to farmland across the stream. However, if one were to cross this bridge and follow the dirt/grass trail they would arrive at a tiny cemetery, which is the real reason this bridge is located here. The bridge sits on stone abutments.

This bridge has an unusual detail. The floorbeams extend a fair distance beyond the truss lines. There also are two unused holes drilled into the flanges of this section of floor beam that extends beyond the trusses. It is possible that at some point the trusses were "slid" down the floorbeams to create a more narrow roadway which would help keep heavy traffic off of the bridge and also might be able to support more weight, since it would have a narrower, and thus lighter, deck. The bridge does have a very narrow 12 foot roadway which might suggest this is what happened.

The bridge has a posted two ton weight limit. Weight limits below three tons are very rare in the United States.

Information and Findings From Ohio's Historic Bridge Inventory


The bridge carries a 1 lane unimproved road over a stream in a rural setting. The narrow lane goes to Rice Cemetery, a small burial ground.

Physical Description

The 1 span, 3-panel, 43'-long, pin-connected Pratt pony truss bridge is supported on ashlar abutments. The truss lines are traditionally composed with built up box section upper chords and end posts. The diagonals and lower chords are eye bars, and the verticals are toe-out channels with lacing. Floorbeams have been replaced in kind, and welded plate has been added to the bottoms of the end posts.


Minor welded repairs to end posts, other wise maintains integrity.

Summary of Significance

The fabricator of the 1894 pin connected Pratt pony truss bridge is not documented in Morrow County records, but stylistically it appears to have been fabricated by the Massillon Bridge Co. that sold many truss bridges to the county. It is one of 20 examples of the important bridge type in Morrow County with the oldest extant example dating to 1874. Many are undocumented and represent the era of standardization. Morrow County retains many deteriorating pin connected truss bridges largely because of the economic issues associated with there replacement in a largely rural county with no industrial tax base. This example is not historically or technologically significant. This example has expedient repairs and is not historically or technologically significant in comparison to the county and state population of pin connected pony truss bridges.

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. The design, which initially was a combination of wood compression and iron tension members, was patented in 1844 by Thomas & Caleb Pratt. 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'. Prior to about 1890, a variety of panel point connections (including bolts, cast-iron pieces, and pins), end panel floorbeam connections, and lower chord designs were in widespread use. 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. Post-1890 Pratt trusses show a progression toward less variation in their details such that by 1895 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 eclipsed in the highway bridge market by more rigid, rivet-connected truss designs, particularly the Warren design, but also the Pratt design as well. The transition to riveted field 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, 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 1894. Post-1895 examples are less technologically significant.

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: No


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Maps and Links: Rice Cemetery Road Bridge

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