Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Along the Way: Salt Creek Covered Bridge

Salt Creek Covered Bridge, Zanesville, Ohio
 My plans for the morning were falling apart quickly. The plan was to spend the morning in Zanesville, exploring the town and its surroundings. I arrived in town only to get detoured due to some big event that was going on (I never did figure out what it was).

Looking through my list of things to visit in the region, I settled on a covered bridge a little further east. Rather than the more direct route, the GPS had me taking numerous winding, narrow country roads which had some very sharp turns on them. After a thirty minute drive I finally spotted the covered bridge ahead of me on the left. (I’m not sure why the GPS took me the route it did, but when I left the covered bridge it was a ten minute drive to the exact spot I started at, but the drive was worth it because I saw a number of deer and a flock of turkeys as I drove along.)

Salt Creek Covered Bridge with
Ohio State Historical Marker
Stone to left of bridge is a historical plaque
I found a parking spot in a small pull-off area that had been part of the original road before the bridge was detoured by the current one, I had only taken a couple of steps before the dark skies let go and the cold rain fell. I dashed quickly for the bridge and found a place to stay dry. The sound of the rain hitting the tin roof was comforting, though I hoped that the shower would pass quickly.

Located along Arch Hill Road, the Salt Creek Covered Bridge (also known as Johnson Mill Covered Bridge – Johnson Mills is the community that once existed here) is one of the two remaining in Muskingum County and is the older of the two, having been built in 1876. It spans Big Salt Creek with a length of eighty-seven feet long and has a Warren Truss. An interesting piece of information I’ve discovered that this is the only remaining covered bridge with a pure Warren Truss design in the United States.

Historical plaque on stone next to the bridge
Unlike most covered bridges, the history of the Salt Lick Covered Bridge has been well documented. Originally built in 1876, it was covered in 1879. In 1953 the bridge was bypassed by Arch Hill Road and the bridge reverted to the property owner. The Southern Ohio Covered Bridge Association was formed in 1960 and purchased the bridge, replacing the roof with a tin one in 1962. The bridge was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. In order to get funding for upkeep, the bridge ownership was given to the county in 1995.

The rain stopped as quickly as it started and I exited the other end of the bridge to view the Ohio State Historical Marker that mentioned the importance of covered bridges and also a brief history of the Salt Creek Covered Bridge. A plaque on a stone next to the bridge also provided a little more information on the history of the bridge.

Salt Creek Covered Bridge
Ohio State Historical Marker
After taking a couple more pictures of the bridge, I was interrupted by the distant sound of thunder. I paused long enough to take a couple final photographs before leaving the peaceful location in search of a couple more interesting pieces of regional history before the next storm arrived. 

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