Mission Statement

The ultimate goal of this website is to promote preservation of historic bridges. Iron bridges are the rarest of all America's bridges yet iron and old steel bridges are being lost at an alarming rate. I understand that not all these bridges can be saved but often there is indiscriminate demolition of metal bridges - including rare examples listed by the National Register of Historic Places. Without greater public awareness the communities that are home to these  metal bridges will recognize too late that some are priceless artifacts.

Website Content

The focus of this website is on metal truss bridges, which includes arch, cantilever, suspension and other bridges that incorporate truss-work. Some metal stringer (beam) bridges also may be included when interesting historically or structurally. A companion website is devoted to concrete and stone arch bridges.

This website attempts to document the locations of all surviving vehicular and pedestrian bridges built in Ohio before 1942. The cut-off date is somewhat arbitrary but was selected because bridge construction came to a virtual stop during WW II and a transition to welded trusses was almost  complete when construction resumed. Welded truss bridges are still being built in Ohio. After the war a further demise of the truss bridge resulted from increased utilization of continuous steel beam and reinforced concrete bridges.

The Bridge List was compiled from official public bridge inventory reports (see Bibliography) augmented by many other sources including "finds" by individuals. The private or abandoned public bridges on the list are not on current government inventories.

A major challenge faced in compiling this data has been the inaccuracy of the official bridge inventories. A common error is misclassification of bridges as existing when in fact they have been replaced or removed. A large proportion of bridges  reported as extant ( as high as 50% ) are in reality gone. I have also noted that the build dates quoted by the bridge inventories are often incorrect as judged from the structure of the bridge. For example. pinned lower chords were rarely used after 1920 and welded trusses were not utilized before 1928 (but were rapidly adopted during the 30's and were standard in the 40's).  However, build dates may not be consistent with these rules. Reported build dates of 1900 and 1940 are disproportionately common and especially suspect. They seem to have been used as default guesses by the county when good information was lacking. Quoted build dates also are sometimes confused with reconstruction / rehabilitation dates or the date the bridge was moved to its present site.

The latitude/longitude coordinates of the bridges were determined from topological maps (Delorme, Topo USA 5.0) of the bridge roadway and intersect or by a GPS reading at the bridge site. These coordinates were used to mark the bridge locations on google maps using hyperlinks. Note that in some cases the bridge may appear shifted from the roadway due to small differences between the google and Delorme maps.

Descriptions of the history and structural details of the bridges are beyond the scope of this project. This information may be available in the included references and bibliography. If the bridge terminology used by this website is not familiar check out the background material or other references on the Links page.

This project is being supported by many people whom I have listed on the Thank You page. I am especially appreciative of those enthusiasts who find or visit bridges to check their status. Everyone is encouraged to participate in this search and send information and photographs to: webmaster. I'd especially like to hear of any old bridges you know about that are not listed.

Annual Report 2008

The total number of bridges documented in these pages has surpassed the 1000 mark including about 960 historic metal bridges. In February a companion website http://oldohiobridges.com/arch was established to catalog Ohio’s historic concrete and stone arch bridges and lists bridges that are on the National Register or rated as select or reserve status, plus some interesting non-select examples. It initially included more than 100 bridges

The Bridge List table was reorganized last year to more clearly indicate (by color coding) whether an existing bridge is public, private, abandoned, closed or on exhibit. Unconfirmed bridges on the Bridge List are now relatively few so easy to miss, therefore, bridges that are either missing a photo or needing confirmation were copied into a separate table to make them more easy to identify by those who want to focus on those bridges in most need of a visit.

In June the website was moved to a new hosting service (Bluehost) because of service problems experienced with the old host (we suffered about a week of downtime in May.) The move has also provided better administrative tools to help maintain this website but the changes should be largely transparent to users except for improved reliability.

Several contributors were particularly active in 2008. Gary Erdos photographed many bridges in NE Ohio, which had a high number of unconfirmed bridges. Doug Miller also filled in missing information in W Ohio, Janis Ford made contributions throughout the state and Don O’Brien continued as the major contributor in southern Ohio. The NW area of Ohio is now the remaining region in most need of further investigation.

Directed Google advertisements and search boxes where included in the website to try to offset the hosting costs. I’ll evaluate their effectiveness this year and am open to your comments about this and all other aspects of the website!

Annual Report 2009

Additions to this website slowed considerably in 2009. This is not just due to the fact that there are fewer additional bridges to add as time goes on but due to health issues that are making typing and other aspects of compiling this list more difficult for me. This situation will ultimately require me to close this website. I hope its content can be transferred to another enthusiast.

Annual Report 2010

No new entries were made in 2010 and some features were removed. It is anticipated that the site will close later this year.


This website is an interest (well maybe it's an obsession) that initially came about as a result of my passion for riding a motorcycle on the rural roads of Ohio. I like to explore all types of old bridges so have a need to know their locations. I have found many websites about covered bridges but little about metal truss bridges. This lack of information motivated me to undertake this website.

Oldohiobridges.com was launched May 2005 and grew out of a small website hosted on roadrunner begun the year before. If you visit here often you will notice changes as I fine tune the presentation. However, I intend to keep this website focused on the relatively narrow mission of documenting the locations of Ohio's old bridges. There are already enough websites abandoned because they outgrew someone's ability to maintain with the time and resources available.

I encourage anyone who enjoys history and the outdoors to make use of this website and take up bridge hunting. It's a great complement to hobbies like motor touring, "waymarking" and photography.

Click the button below to see a TV segment about the webmaster made for the "Art of Living" show that first aired on the "Retirement Channel", February 2007.

Video Segment