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Four Appalachian Covered Bridges

Johnson Road Covered Bridge

Taking advantage of fresh powder in March, I visited four covered bridges in northeast Kentucky and southeast Ohio.

I started at Bennetts Mill Covered Bridge in Greenup County, Kentucky. Constructed in 1855 by Parmly Bennett for his adjoining mill in 1855, the Wheeler truss was reconstructed in 2003-2004. It remains the only one of its type still existing.

Across the Ohio River is the Otway Covered Bridge in Otway, Ohio which was erected in 1874 by Robert W. Smith using his patent for the Smith through truss design. Arches were added in 1896 for additional structural support and in the 1920s, the crossing was modified when a polygonal Warren riveted pony truss was added on the northern approach. The bridge was bypassed in 1961 and rehabilitated in 2014.

In nearby Jackson County is another Smith truss. The Johnson Road Covered Bridge was constructed in 1870 and rehabilitated in 2000. The muted red hues gave a bit of color to an otherwise melancholy landscape.

I ended the day at another Smith truss—the Buckeye Furnace Covered Bridge next to the Buckeye Furnace which was built in 1872 by Smith. It was rehabilitated in 1936 and taken out of service by 2010. It was functionally replaced by a modern concrete structure and the covered bridge moved to a temporary location in front of the company store at Buckeye Furnace. The long-term goal is to place the bridge back over the creek and reopen it as a pedestrian-only crossing but for now, it rests awkwardly in the middle of a roadway junction.

Buckeye Furnace Covered Bridge

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