Because  You Asked . . . .

Chambers Road Covered Bridge - photo by David Simmons


County's Last Covered Bridge

Following the melting of the glaciers, a vast network of creeks and rivers drained the land.  What we see as small creeks had been large streams.  Look behind the high school building at the path the Big Walnut Creek had cut out of the rock or look at the width of the flat plain now Ruffner Park which was often flooded by the rushing water.

When many of the settlers first came to this community they followed waterways north from the Ohio River to Franklinton (now Columbus). There some picked up Indian trails through the forest while others followed creeks.  However the same waterways that led them to settlements were an impairment to life on the other side of the waterway.

Baskins tells of two families settling on opposite sides of a river.  The lady on the west side was very anxious to meet the lady on the east and they made arrangements to do so when the water would be down.  Unfortunately on the day of the planned meeting, the water was swollen from recent rains and impossible to cross on foot so the first couple was about to return to their home when the second couple arrived in a wagon pulled by oxen.  Not wishing to disappoint his wife, the man unhitched the oxen and rode one across the river, and when he reached the west bank, 'the lady, Europa-like' fearlessly sprang on the back of the other ox and they went back across the raging waters.  When she concluded her visit, she returned the same way.

Those with knowledge of building bridges were indeed welcomed into the settlements.  Covered bridges were soon built across the many waterways connecting neighbors and surrounding towns. Louise Sheets (1892-1982) told of coming from Delaware by wagon over the corduroy road and the long bridge over Alum Creek to visit her grandparents who lived in Sunbury.  The road made of trees lying perpendicular across the road where is ran over swampy land was bumpy, the bridge scary.  In spite of the dreaded trip, she enjoyed visits to her grandparents and later lived in their house on North Columbus Street.

Today only one of the many bridges remains in our county.  The Chambers Road bridge was built across the Big Walnut Creek in 1874 by Everett S. Sherman using the Childs Truss form of construction. It is 36 feet in length with a 6.5 foot overhang at each end, 13 feet wide and 11 feet high with a metal roof, and sits on cut stone abutments.  It has one span and a load limit of 8 tons.  

In 1957 the bridge was almost lost when it was hit by a truck.  The bridge was repaired and restored by the county for traffic about 1983.

Thanks to Baskin's  "1880 History of Delaware County and Ohio" and an Auto Tour vignette by Maxine Longshore.  Also thanks to notes from David Simmon's talk to the Big Walnut Area Historical Society and his photos of the Chambers Road Bridge which are in the Community Library collection.  Janet MacKenzie took the current photos

Chambers Road covered bridge is one of the hidden treasures featured on the Big Walnut Area Historical Society's Auto Tour on Sunday, October 5th.  Participants will purchase tour booklets at the Myers Inn, 45 South Columbus Street in Sunbury between 1 and 4 p.m.  The booklet has driving instructions to the historical landmarks and vignettes on the sites.  The first 100 cars to complete the trip and  return to the Myers Inn by 5 p.m. will receive a surprise.  The Auto Tour, a part of the Heritage Day Celebration of the Historical Society, is part of the Big Walnut Ohio Bicentennial Celebration.

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Photos of Chamber Road Bridge

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Photos by David Simmons Photos by Janet MacKenzie-2003
Painting of Alum Creek Bridge Photos by Mathew Lansinger-2005  

Other Covered Bridges of the Area

HowardRoadcoveredbridge.jpg (58613 bytes)   coveredbridgesunrd.jpg (91614 bytes)

Alum Creek
Sunbury Pike -
St. Rt. 37
from Judy Shumway

Daniel Terrill Covered Bridge Howard Road

Truck Falls
Thru Daniel Terrill Bridge
Terrill Bridge
from Paul Clay
Yankee Street Genoa Township

. . . .And Now You Know
by Polly Horn


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(08/17/2007 )

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