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Towpath Bridge

Towpath Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: September 11, 2015

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Pedestrian Walkway Over Ohio and Erie Canal (Walhonding Canal)
Coshocton (Roscoe Village): Coshocton County, Ohio: United States
Structure Type
Metal Howe Pony Truss, Fixed
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
By Builder/Contractor: Massillon Bridge Company of Massillon, Ohio

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
Not Available
Structure Length
Not Available
Roadway Width
Not Available
1 Main Span(s)
NBI Number

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

View Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) Documentation For This Bridge

HAER Data Pages, PDF

This bridge is an example of Massillon Bridge Company's unique Howe truss system composed of a series of pipes connected by castings and plate. Here, the bridge functions as a simple Howe pipe truss. It appears to have been relocated here from an unknown location, and altered to suit this crossing (likely shortened). All the documentation prepared for this bridge by others references another example of a Massillon Bridge Company Howe Truss in Preble County. However, that bridge was reduced to scrap metal years ago. Therefore this bridge, despite alteration, is the only example of its kind in Ohio.  However what is interesting about the Massillon Bridge Company is that they did adapt the construction technique of a Howe truss system composed of pipes as seen here for use in components of other bridge types. For example, Whipple truss bridges built by this company sometimes have portal bracing composed of a similar pipe system. The company's patented bowstring truss design used a top chord (and sometimes floorbeams as well) composed of this Howe truss system.

This bridge is part of a larger historical setting. The bridge crosses the remains of the Ohio and Erie Canal Lock, technically part of a feeder canal called the Walhonding Canal. It was the only triple lock on the system. Also to the south of the locks can be seen the remaining stubs of timber piles in the water, these are remnants of a long-lost railroad bridge at this location.

Information and Findings From Ohio's Historic Bridge Inventory


The bridge carries a pedestrian path (former towpath) over the Ohio & Erie Canal lock at Roscoe Village, a state historic site in Coshocton.

Physical Description

The 1 span, metal Howe truss bridge is built of the truss lines that date to ca. 1872.


Composed of salvaged truss lines, but although deck and some end post modifications are not original, the truss lines are a rare example of cast and wrought-iron truss technology.

Summary of Significance

See HAER OH-94 for full report. This bridge is composed of two Howe truss lines that have been salvaged and weld repaired, but it is a very rare truss type composed of cast and wrought-iron members that is attributable to the Massillon Bridge Co. and dated ca. 1872 based on style/history. The diagonals are compression fitting pipes to a cast-iron connecting piece, and the verticals are rods with threaded ends at the lower chord connections and riveted ends at the upper chord connections. The chords are wrought-iron plate. A more complete example, although damaged from impact, is in Preble County (6831761).


The bridge is one of 6 extant examples dating from 1859 through the early 1870s of Joseph Davenport's technologically significant, innovative all-iron design that helped to launch Ohio's postbellum metal-truss bridge industry. All examples are rare and of exceptional importance because of their contribution to the evolution of the bridge type. Each is worthy of extraordinary measures to preserve.

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes


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