Saturday, December 10, 2016
The Swartz Covered Bridge
A covered bridge spans the cold waters of the Sandusky River, as seen yesterday morning. It was about 23 F, windy, with snow flurries and I was in Wyandot County, Ohio to chase birds.
Even though this bridge is only a short distance from the birding hotspot of Killdeer Plains, and I'd seen signs pointing the way for years, I had never stopped by for a look.
I'm surprised it took me this long to check out this bridge. Covered bridges are a throwback to time long gone, and there aren't many left. They've gone the way that old wooden barns are headed - into architectural extinction. Fortunately there are avid bridge enthusiasts that work hard to save such structures, and I'm glad they do.
The driver's view of the Swartz Covered Bridge. This span is infinitely more interesting than some unadorned architecturally bland carbon copy of nearly every small bridge these days. The bridge was built in 1879, and I'm sure it eventually fell into a sorry state of disrepair, and was probably heavily sleeved with obnoxious Day-Glo graffiti in the interior.
In the early 1990's a band of local bridge supporters came together and raised the resources to rehabilitate the structure. And in 1992-93, the work was completed. Now, over two decades later, the bridge looks nearly pristine, as if they just finished the job last week. That pad of bricks at the entrance - and another on the other side - commemorate the names of all of the supporters.
The truss work on the bridge's interior is amazing, and fun to photograph. The span measures 96 feet across, the decking is nearly 13 feet wide, and it's 13 feet from the floorboards to the overhead beams.
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