Covered Bridges

Covered bridges recall a certain era in our history and are a symbol of quieter, less pressured times. The real charm of the covered bridge lies in its quaint surroundings of grassy river banks, rocky approaches, and hilly countryside. In addition to travel, these bridges served many purposes: protection, favorite courting place, as well as locales for weddings, church suppers, band concerts, fist fights, etc.

However, covered bridges were built because of their unique engineering features. The first bridges were merely logs thrown across a stream with poles used as supports. Builders learned that the trusses of the framework would last longer if they were sheltered. The result was the open-boarded bridge. Then, builders realized that the trusses needed protection from the wind - they could be blown into a leaning position. As this was a hinge motion from the more solid floor, the cure was overhead bracing, a roof. So, the covered bridge was born, providing protection against the weather by boarded sides and a shingled roof. Many resembled long, narrow barns. The Sugarcreek Township area had six covered bridges. All were built after 1850: one over the Little Sugarcreek, three over the Little Miami, and two over the Big Sugarcreek.

Steel bridges began competing with wooden bridges in the late 1800s. By the late 1940s and 1950s, covered bridges in the Bellbrook area began to disappear. When the Feedwire Road bridge was replaced in 1948, it was purchased by N.C.R. for preservation in the newly-established Carillon Park.