The Zoarville Station Bridge is located over Conotton Creek in Zoarville Station, Ohio. It is the only known Fink through truss in the United States. The restored crossing carries the Zoar Valley Trail, the Ohio-to-Erie Trail, the Buckeye Trail, and the North Country Scenic Trail, and gives access to the Ohio-Erie Canal Corridor and the adjoining towpath trail.
The Zoarville Station Bridge, constructed in 1868-69 by the Smith, Labrobe & Company of Baltimore, Maryland over the Tuscarawas River on Factory Street in Canal Dover, was a three-span modified Fink through truss with Phoenix columns manufactured by the Phoenix Bridge Company of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. 1 4 It was one of three crossings in the vicinity.
The new iron bridge succeeded two wood bridges. 4 The first, a toll bridge built by the Dover Tuscarawas Bridge Company, opened on June 7, 1819, but it was destroyed in an ice jam in 1827. A replacement was completed in 1833 at the cost of $4,000.
The crossing was it was the only direct link between the county seat, New Philadelphia, and Canal Dover, an early industrial and mining center. 4 Canal Dover, e was located at the intersection of the Ohio & Erie Canal and four railroads: the Cleveland, Tuscarawas Valley & Wheeling, the Cleveland & Pittsburgh, the Cleveland & Pittsburgh Tuscarawas Branch, and the Marietta, Pittsburgh & Cleveland.
Increasing demands on the wooden bridge prompted the county to explore options on its replacement in the mid-1860s. Commissioners were at first hesitant towards a new bridge across the Tuscarawas River but decided to accept bids for a new wood or iron crossing. 4 Robert Rue submitted the lowest bid for the stonework, and a contract signed on January 29, 1868. Bidding on the superstructure was delayed until mid-February when a contract was awarded to the Smith, Latrobe & Company. Another contract to build earthen approaches was let on June 16 to Jacob Wegley.
Work on the new abutments was completed by September 23, and construction on the superstructure began shortly thereafter. 4 Testing of the new wrought iron Fink through truss was completed on May 21, 1869. 4 The old wood bridge and its stone piers were sold for a few hundred dollars on June 30.
By the 1900’s, the iron crossing across the Tuscarawas was considered too narrow and congested to handle the growing demands of the region. The county accepted a bid for a new, wider concrete bridge by Edward J. Lander of Canton, Ohio 1 3 on January 18, 1905. 4 As part of the contract, Lander received the old iron bridge, which was dismantled after the new concrete crossing was completed.
Later in the year, the county rejected a wood bridge replacement proposal across One Leg Creek (today’s Conotton Creek) at Zoarville Station. 4 It instead accepted a bid by Landor who proposed using one of the three spans of the Canal Dover Fink through truss for $2,900.
The Zoarville Station remained in use until the 1940s when it was abandoned. Charles Lebold purchased the then-abandoned bridge for $50 in 1969, 1 4 which was acquired by the Camp Tuscazoar Foundation for $1 in 1996. 1
Work to restore the Zoarville Station Bridge began in mid-1998 when six tons of unoriginal steel and decking were removed, which was completed by August. 1 Grubbing and clearing around the bridge site and roadway were finished by C&L General Highway and Bridge of Dover in August 2000. The bridge was then dismantled and stored in a warehouse.
New approaches were graded to the bridge site in 2001and work to rebuild the repaired and repainted crossing began in mid-2007. 1 The reassembled span was lifted into place on new approaches on July 27 and reopened to pedestrian traffic following dedication ceremonies on September 15.
The American Council of Engineering Companies recognized the Zoarville Station Bridge restoration project with an Outstanding Achievement Award in February 2008. 2
- State: Ohio
- Route: Zoar Valley Trail, Ohio-to-Erie Trail, Buckeye Trail, North Country Scenic Trail
- Type: Fink Through Truss
- Status: Active - Pedestrian
- Total Length: 112 feet
- Deck Width: 17 feet
- Above Vertical Clearance: 19.8 feet
- “Zoarville Station Bridge at Camp Tuscazoar.” Camp Tuscazoar Foundation. N.p., 18 Aug. 2013. Web.
- “Zoarville Station Bridge Update Page.” Camp Tuscazoar Foundation. N.p., 18 Aug. 2013. Web.
- Ohio Historical Society. “The Fink Truss.” Timeline, vol. 2, no. 1, Feb.-Mar. 1985, pp. 16-17.
- Lawrence, Wm. Michael. Zoarville Station Bridge. Research report no. HAER OH-79, Washington, Historic American Engineering Record.