Dresden Suspension Bridge (Old OH 208)

The Dresden Suspension Bridge formerly carried OH 208 over the Muskingum River in Dresden, Ohio. Constructed in 1914, it was closed to automobiles in 1988.

History

The first crossing of the Muskingum River at Dresden was a wire cable suspension bridge with four stone towers that was constructed in 1853. 2 Designed by George Coepland, it was Ohio’s first suspension bridge. The bridge built by a stock company of local investors headed by George W. Cass at a cost of $28,000. A major flood in 1913 washed away the crossing. 1 2

Shortly after, County Engineer Ralph Strait began preliminary surveys for a replacement bridge. The county settled upon a truss bridge despite the signatures of over 1,000 names that favored another suspension crossing. 5 Those plans, however, were rejected by the Board of Engineers of the War Department, who said that the crossing should have an additional six feet of vertical clearance and that the horizontal clearance be increased to 630 feet.

A higher eyebar suspension bridge was completed in December 1914 4 by the Bellefontaine Bridge and Steel Company of Bellefontaine, Ohio at a cost of $125,000. 1 2 Designed by Clyde T. Morris, 3 the crossing was similar in design to the infamous Silver Bridge that collapsed in the 1960’s, albeit much smaller in scale. 3

The narrow Dresden Suspension Bridge was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. It was bypassed in 1988 and converted into a pedestrian-only crossing.

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