Annually, we go to Amish Country in Holmes County, Ohio. We visit Lehman’s Hardware Store (just to window shop!), the world’s biggest coo coo clock in Sugarcreek, Ohio, and always Der Dutchman for that great Amish buffet (hoping it’s peach season for some of their famous peach pie). However, there is fun Amish Country just an hour or so east of Cleveland in Ashtabula County. We found Mary Yoder’s Amish Kitchen (we always want that yummy Amish buffet!) and a couple of shops. We missed the Amish flea market which is only on Mondays.
However, Amish wasn’t what we went for. We were just happy to discover that the Amish reside here. We went to visit the 19 covered bridges of Ashtabula County. We only made it to 12 of them, but that gives us a reason to return—to see the rest of the bridges (and again find Mary Yoder’s Amish Kitchen). Following are pictures and some of the history of the bridges we explored.
Windsor Mills Covered Bridge was our first stop. It was built in 1867 and renovated in 1002-03. It is 120’ long and crosses a tributary of the Grand River, Phelps Creek.
Next was the Riverdale Road Bridge. This Town Lattice bridge is 114’ long and sits high above the Grand River. Built in 1874, the bridge had center steel bracing added in 1945 and the floor was rebuilt and glue-laminated girders added to the interior in 1981. This created a bridge-within-a-bridge and narrowed the width. In 1987 the road at the east end of the bridge was washed out. A new concrete abutment was then built.
The Netcher Road Bridge followed. It was built in 1998 and is one of the modern bridges. This “Neo-Victorian” designed bridge is 110’ long and spans the Mill Creek. It opened to traffic in 1999.
The South Denmark Road Bridge came next. Built in 1890, this Town Lattice bridge crosses the Mill Creek and is 81’ long.
We then found the Caine Road Covered Bridge built in 1986. This bridge honors the County’s 175th anniversary. At 124’ long, it spans the west branch of the Ashtabula River.
The Graham Road Covered Bridge was built from parts of a bridge that washed downstream in the flood of 1913. The bridge is now part of a small park on the south side of the road.
When we come upon an old barn, we just can’t resist taking photos. While not a bridge, this old barn has weathered many Ohio winters.
Root Road Covered Bridge was built in 1868. It is a Town Lattice bridge and was raised 18” when it was renovated in 1982-83.
The Middle Road Covered Bridge was built over the Conneaut Creek in 1868. Conneaut Creek is a favorite of steelhead fishers. The bridge was renovated in 1984 with the aid of 7 volunteers. It is a 136’ Howe Truss bridge.
The State Road Covered Bridge contains 97,000’ of southern pine and oak. It was built in 1983 over the Conneaut Creek. This was the first covered bridge designed and built by John W. Smolen, Jr., County Engineer. It is 152’ long.
Creek Road Covered Bridge is 125’ long. This Town Lattice bridge is so old that there is no record of the date it was built. It is 25’ above Conneaut Creek and was renovated in 1994.
The Olin’s have owned the property next to Olin’s Covered Bridge on Dewey Road since 1873 when the bridge was built. This is a Town Lattice bridge 115’ long spanning the Ashtabula River. This bridge was renovated in 1985.
The last bridge we visited before we needed to head back home was the Smolen-Gulf Covered Bridge. This is the newest covered bridge on the tour, built between 2006 – 08. There is a park that sits a short distance from the bridge, over-looking it. That is where these photos were taken. This is the longest covered bridge in the U.S. and the 4th longest in the world. The structure was designed by John W. Smolen, Jr. and the architectural design was done by Timothy J. Martin (the current county engineer). The bridge is on State Road crossing the Ashtabula River and is one of 17 drivable bridges here. The bridge is 613’ long (in 4 sections), has walkways on both sides, supports 2 lanes of legal-weight traffic, and is more than 93’ above the river. It cost 7.78 million to build and is on a main thoroughfare. This bridge replaced a steel bridge built in 1949 which had replaced the Crooked Gulf Covered Bridge built in 1867. It is expected to last 100 years.
Ashtabula County has many other adventures to offer such as the 23 stops on the winery tour winding through Ohio’s green, rolling hills. Then there are the 107 stops on the quilt tour (note one or two of the bridges has a painting of a quilt on it because it is part of the quilt tour also). To say nothing of the Lake Erie shoreline in this county. And then there’s Geneva-On-The-Lake, but, those are all other stories.
We plan to return to the covered bridge tour in Ashtabula County and find the shortest covered bridge in the U.S., along with the other ones we missed. And Mary Yoder’s Amish Kitchen!