Union County, Ohio – July 2019 – Covered Bridge Tour + 1

Union County, Ohio has a number of covered bridges. Unlike most counties, not all of them are vintage, with 3 of them being built in the last 20 years. Still they have character, so it was worth riding around the countryside for a couple of hours checking them out.



























The one non covered bridge was, in my opinion, the best. The Streng Road Bridge was built in 1914 with steel trusses. It replaced a covered bridge that was destroyed in the 1913 flood.

All of the original ornamentation and decorative elements are still in place. So highly thought of it is the only non covered bridge to be listed as an Ohio Historic Bridge (which is amazing as there are literally hundreds of cool old bridges throughout the state).










Marysville, Ohio – September 2018 – Bluesgrass on a Covered Bridge

What do you do with a covered bridge that is no longer viable for traffic – close it and put it in a park. Once a year they hold a bluegrass festival on the bridge.

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The shuttle was rustic (we walked).

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Although more stylish rides were available.

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The covered bridge was decked out with lighting, including the only chandelier I have ever seen on a bridge.

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The first band we saw was the Rock Island Plow Company.

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The dobro player was very good.

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With a couple of exceptions, they played traditional bluegrass.

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There was a second ‘stage’ where individuals played.

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The last band we watched was the Tyler Williams Band.

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‘Emily’ the bass player had a cool, thin electric bass.

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Tyler, who has been blind from birth, was a great guitarist.

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He had a unique finger picking style to his play.

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Emily also provided excellent vocals to the band.

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It was a unique setting for some traditional music, and worth the couple of hours we stayed.

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September 2018 – Auf Wiedersehen to the Audi

Over the last couple of years the cars have become frequent subjects in my photos. After 4 years of loyal service, and fantastic adventures, the Audi S5 was traded in.

This posting highlights the Audi’s trips it took us on.

First trip was to Western Ohio – and a giant fiberglass bull.

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Most of the time the birthplace of Presidents are honored locales, but not for Rutherford B Hayes – his is a BP station in Delaware, Ohio.

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A covered bridge in Fairfield County, Ohio – The car was not allowed to cross it, but we were.

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Utopia has been found (along the Ohio River).

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The settling of America – on the right is a famed S bridge of the original National Road. Overhead is US Route 40 – the main route west from the 1910s through the 1960s. A 1/2 mile to the left (not shown) is Interstate 70.

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A riverboat in Cincinnati.

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867 feet above the Audi the New River Gorge Bridge. They offer tours where they connect you to the beams underneath and you cross – I passed.

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Polo anyone. 3 horses in the field and 340 under the hood.

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After Utopia, come Paradise – in the Northern Peninsula of Michigan. I find it ironic that somewhere that gets 200 inches of snow a year is considered Paradise…

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The Audi is not on a runway – it is an abandoned air force base in Michigan – with some random Jets parked around town.

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Welcome to Minnesota doncha ya know.

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Big Horn Canyon National Recreation Area Montana/Wyoming.

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Yellowstone. That is not the radiator overheating 🙂

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One of the funniest moments in our travels was the day we ran into a cattle drive on a road in Idaho – this cow spent 5 minutes licking the bugs off the front of the Audi.

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We drove 9 miles out a dirt road at the Golden Spike National Historic Site (where the transcontinental railroad met in the 1800s). Wondering who was dumb enough take an Audi out this dirt road, until a Tesla pulled up.

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Devils Rocks Utah

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Pagosa Springs, Colorado. The hotel was filled with a Corvette Club and us.

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Bonjour from Paris – Texas

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We went down to the Crossroads….Clarksdale, Mississippi.

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We have seen Utopia and Paradise, and now the Center of the World

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The original Model T factory in Detroit. They let my German car go along with all the classic American cars on the Woodward Dream Cruise all the way through the city to the burbs where the other 100,000 cool cars were cruising.

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Plymouth, Massachusetts – National Monument to the Fore Fathers.

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The Marine Atlantic Ferry to Newfoundland. A 600 car ferry and a 18 hour ride!

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Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland, Canada

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The Audi and a large basket – but there are larger basket buildings in Ohio.

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The historic Cincinnati Observatory and the Audi.

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Watkins Glen Race Track. They were having club racing with little Mazdas, etc – if I had the safety equipment to go on the track I could’ve taken them – I think.

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Age of Steam Roundhouse in Sugarcreek, Ohio.

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The Auburn/Cord/Dusenberg Festival in Indiana. That car is sooo much cooler than mine.

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The final road trip for the Audi – Downtown Chicago with the El in the background. While the Audi is gone – the adventures continue…..

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Fairfield County, Ohio – May 2017 – Covered Bridge Tour Part 2

Fairfield County Ohio claims they have more covered bridges than any other county in the country. A couple of years ago we did a tour of about 1/2 of them, so on this sunny Sunday we decided to do the other half. It turned out this half was primarily not in their original location, and on a few not even over water.

Still they have managed to preserve all of them, which is a better fate than many.

 

The bridges:

Zeller-Smith Covered Bridge – Now at Sycamore Park in Pickerington, it was built in 1906, it is of Queenpost style and has a span of 73′.

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Hizey Bridge – Now located on private property on Tollgate Road in Pickerington, it originally spanned Popular Creek. The Hizey Covered Bridge was built in 1891, with a length of 83 feet. Its Multiple Queenpost construction has an arch.

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Stemen House/Estates Covered Bridge – Now located in a residential neighborhood in Violet Township, Fairfield County, Ohio. It was built in 1888 over Sycamore Creek, and moved in 1978 to the Covered Bridge Estates neighborhood. It is 36’ long.

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Charles Holliday Bridge – Originally at Walnut Creek on Lake Road it is now at Millersport Lions Club Grounds, near Buckeye Lake.

The Charles Holliday Covered Bridge was the last one standing in Walnut Township. Built in the late 1890’s by J.W. Buchanan, it originally crossed over Walnut Creek on Lake Road. The 98′ multiple Kingpost span was reconstructed in the early 1980’s at its current location at Millersport on the Millersport Kiwanis Sweet Corn Festival Grounds.

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Rock Mill Bridge – Spanning over Hocking River next to Rock Mill, it is still in its original location. The Rock Mill Covered Bridge was originally built in 1849 in Queenpost style. A second bridge was built in 1880 and the current span in 1901. It crosses the upper falls 30 feet above the Hocking River’s origin and is the smallest covered bridge in Fairfield County being only 33′ in length. Today the bridge has been converted into a park area by the Fairfield County Historical Parks Commission. It is next to the Rock Mill currently under reconstruction.

The Mill was open the day we were there, with 4 levels up, and a lower level with the gears that are turned by the mill. The volunteer staff was very helpful in enthusiastically explaining the mill and its workings.

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Columbus – May 2017 – Historical Markers

The Ohio History Center has arranged for over 1,500 Historical Markers to be erected throughout the state, with over 100 in Franklin County (Columbus) alone. Each of these markers provides a snippet of information about a person, place or activity that took place on or near the marker.

We spent the day wandering around looking for a few that were associated with structures of interest. In the end we visited 12 unique locations.

The text for each photo is the transcription from the marker (thank you Ohio History Center for the signs!)

Worthington Masonic Museum

Worthington was the center of Masonry for the central Ohio area in the early years of the nineteenth century. New England Lodge, with its original charter from the Grand Lodge of Connecticut dated 1803, is the oldest lodge in continuous existence in Ohio. This building, erected in 1820, is the oldest Masonic Temple west of the Allegheny Mountains.

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Groveport Log Home

Built on Main Street, circa 1815, this two story log residence was later sided. In 1974 during new post office site preparation, the log structure was discovered and moved to present location along Ohio-Erie Canal route. In adjoining Groveport Cemetery a monument honors local resident, John S. Rarey (1828-1866), internationally known horse trainer and owner of famous horse, Cruiser.

 

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Canal Winchester Covered Bridge

In March, 1887, the Franklin County Commissioners announced the building of a bridge in Madison Township over Little Walnut Creek at Kramer’s Ford. Area citizens had petitioned for a bridge to transport agricultural products to the canal and railroad. Michael Corbett of Groveport contracted to construct the abutments and the Columbus Bridge Company built the covered bridge for $2,690.00. Reuban L. Partridge, company vice president, supervised the building, using his patented truss system consisting of double and triple truss members constructed of pine and oak. Back Text: In the 1930’s the road traveling over the bridge became State Route 674 and in the 1950s the road was redirected to bypass the covered bridge. In 1990, the county contracted with Abba Lichtenstein & Associates to evaluate the condition of the bridge. The W.J. Seidensticker Company repaired and restored the Bergstresser bridge using original and new materials. This, the last covered bridge in Franklin County, was rededicated September 1, 1991. At this time the ownership of the bridge was transferred to the Village of Canal Winchester.

 

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Grandview Heights – The Bank Block

Built by pioneering retail developer Don Monroe Casto Sr., the Bank Block was dedicated in 1928. Considered one of the earliest regional shopping centers in the United States, it innovatively featured 350 free parking spaces-complete with uniformed attendant-to accommodate the rapidly growing numbers of automobile-owning suburbanites. The Bank Block’s first tenants included several competing national grocers (Kroger, A&P, and Piggly Wiggly), the First Citizens Trust (later Ohio National Bank), a stationer, barber shop, and pharmacy. It remains the nucleus of Grandview’s commercial district. Casto, once described as “the man who changed the shopping habits of the free world,” also built the Town and Country Shopping Center in Whitehall and was a dominant figure in retail commercial development in the Midwest for much of the 20th century.

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Worthington – Orange Johnson House

The original pioneer structure of this house was built by Arora Buttles in 1811. It was purchased by Orange and Achsa Johnson in 1816. Orange Johnson came from Connecticut as a comb maker; he became a farmer, landowner, turnpike commissioner, paymaster for the militia, banker, and railroad stockholder. In 1819 the Federal style addition was constructed on the west side of the pioneer house, and the Johnsons continued to live here until 1863. Restored and owned by the Worthington Historical Society.

 

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Columbus – Original Airport Terminal

The original Port Columbus Airport terminal was founded by the people of Columbus and was one of the first airport facilities in the United States. Dedicated on July 8, 1929, Port Columbus was the first transfer point in the westbound transcontinental passenger service, which was operated by the Pennsylvania Railroad, Transcontinental Air Transport (TAT), and the Santa Fe Railway. Its first passengers departed by rail from New York City on July 7, 1929, and boarded TAT Ford Tri-Motor aircraft at Port Columbus to fly to Waynoka, Oklahoma, the following day. They then traveled by rail to Clovis, New Mexico, and completed their journey with a TAT flight to Los Angeles. The scheduled 48-hour trip was celebrated in Columbus, marking the beginning milestone of national airport travel. (continued on other side) Back Text: (continued from other side) With the nation sinking into the Great Depression, the national air travel venture at Port Columbus was not profitable enough. As a result, the scheduled train-plane operation was suspended and replaced with coast-to-coast air service in 1930. The arrival of mail service at the airport in 1930 helped, as did a huge contract with the Curtiss-Wright Corporation in 1940. Curtiss-Wright leased 83 acres of airport property to produce 6,000 planes, including the SB2C Helldiver and SO3C-1 Seagull aircraft. The federal government took over airport operations in 1941. In 1942 a Naval Air Facility was established adding several new buildings and lengthening runways. This building served as the passenger terminal until the present terminal opened on September 21, 1958.

 

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Columbus – Lincoln Theater

The Lincoln Theatre, originally known as Ogden Theatre Lodge, opened on Thanksgiving Day in 1929. Developer Al Jackson was spurred to build the theatre because African-Americans were segregated from the other area theatres. Among the bands that have played at the Lincoln was the Eckstine Band, which launched the careers of a number of legendary jazz stars such as Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, and Sarah Vaughn. The Lincoln Theatre retained a high level of integrity during a period of unequaled African-American cultural, social, and economic strength in Columbus.

 

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Columbus – Toledo and Ohio Central Railroad Station

The only remaining Columbus railroad station, The Toledo & Ohio Central (T&OC) Railroad Station was constructed in 1895 and was the departure point for William McKinley when he left for Washington D.C to be sworn in as president. Designed by noted Columbus architects Joseph Warren Yost & Frank L. Packard, the pagoda style roof and tower have become Columbus icons. By 1900, the T&OC was purchased by the rival Hocking Valley Railroad and in 1911 the tracks were elevated above Broad Street. Later the New York Central Railroad gained control and used the station until 1930 when passenger service was transferred to Union Station in Columbus. Restored after the 1913 Flood and major fires in 1910 and 1975, the station was headquarters for the Central Ohio Volunteers of American from 1930 to 2003. The building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. Back Text: The Macklin Hotel was constructed prior to 1895 and predates the Toledo & Ohio Central Railroad Station. It was located adjacent to the station and had three towers and a pagoda style roof matching the depot. The Macklin Hotel was located at 387 W. Broad St. in front of the crystal ice plant which supplied ice to the railroads prior to refrigeration. After the hotel closed, the building was used for several restaurants and cafes until its demolition in 1955.

 

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Grove City – Beulah Park Race Track (Abandonded and mostly demolished)

The origin of Beulah Park Race Track began in 1889 when local businessman A. G. Grant petitioned the village of Grove City to create the Beulah Addition housing development on farmland once owned by town founder William Foster Breck. Grant named the new addition, located west of Harrisburg Pike, in honor of his daughter, Beulah. Grant, whose grandparents ?Hugh and Catherine Grant? were Jackson Township’s first settlers in 1803, added a recreational park to the development to attract potential buyers. The beautifully wooded park attracted visitors who enjoyed picnics, concerts, speeches, and baseball games there. Soon the park was expanded to include a small racetrack on the grounds. Back Text: The new track grabbed the attention of Franklin County Fair officials who held the fair on the site intermittently until 1918 when it was relocated to Hilliard. Shortly thereafter, Colonel James M. Westwater purchased the grounds and added improvements. In 1922, Westwater sold his interest to the Capital City Racing Association and, in 1923, the Association founded Beulah Park ?Ohio’s first Thoroughbred racetrack. The main entrance of the park was located on Grant Avenue, a street named in honor of Jackson Township’s first settlers. In 1931, pari-mutuel wagering commenced under the supervision of the Ohio Racing Commission. In 1983, Beulah Park was the first track in Ohio to offer simulcast wagering on the Kentucky Derby.

 

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One interesting building we came across that did not have a historical marker was the Wagnalls Library in the small town of Lithopolis. This library is a result of Mabel Wagnalls Jones, who was the daughter of Adam Wagnalls, a co-founder of the Funk & Wagnalls Publishing Company.

Built in 1925 it has graced this small town for nearly a century.

 

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While we were in Canal Winchester looking for an Interurban station we came across their Main rail station, along with a couple of restored cabooses. We never did find the Interurban station.

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Fairfield County, Ohio – April 2015 – Covered Bridge Tour

The first Sunday in April was spent touring covered bridges, and a few other sites in Fairfield County.

The first bridge we found was the Hartman Bridge in the Lockville Canal Park. The bridge is a queenpost truss-style bridge that now spans the prism between Locks 11 and 12, having been moved from its original location over Pleasant Run on Wheeling Road in 1967.

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The park consists of three locks that were once a part of the central section of the Ohio and Erie Canal, a 308-mile highway of water that connected Lake Erie at Cleveland to the Ohio River at Portsmouth.

The locks at the park include Locks 11, 12 and 13 that are open to the public, while locks 14 through 17 remain on private property. These seven locks, situated within the village of Lockville, comprise one of the longest series of intact locks yet remaining in the state.

After this we passed Rock Mill Bridge. Built in 1901, the Rock Mill Covered Bridge stands on its original abutments over a striking gorge just before the falls of the Hocking River. Spanning 37 feet and featuring a queenpost truss, the Rock Mill Bridge was one of the last bridge in Fairfield County to carry vehicular traffic. The bridge’s position next to the 1824-built Rock Mill grist mill makes it one of the more iconic locations in Fairfield County.

As we continued we passed an old family cemetery in the surrounded by a circular stone wall of massive stones. It is called the President’s Half Acre, as the founder of the cemetery deeded the property to the President of the United States forever, in hopes that they would take an interest and would care for it. Needless to say, none has. Supposedly the Ohio Historical Society cared for it for many years, but it was a very non-descript place, with locked gates.

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Further south in the county we passed the Hanaway Bridge, built in 1881. This bridge still spans Clear Creek in its original location, sitting on its original sandstone abutments. The 85-foot long historic bridge is unique among Fairfield County’s remaining covered bridges because it has a canopy on only one side. Since the Hanaway Covered Bridge was constructed on a curve, this single canopy allowed those entering the bridge to watch for traffic approaching from the other direction and safely exit the bridge.

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The nearby Johnson Bridge is the county’s longest covered bridge still resting on its original abutments. At 99 feet long, this historic structure features Howe trusses with two full-length canopies on both sides of the bridge, making the trusses easily visible from the outside.

The last bridge visited in southern Fairfield County was the the Mink Hollow Covered Bridge in Arney Run Park. This bridge rests on its original sandstone abutments over Arney Run, a tributary of Clear Creek. Built in 1887 at a span of 51 feet and features a multiple kingpost truss with a central X-brace and canopies on both sides. The Mink Hollow Covered Bridge actually lies in Oil Mill Hollow, a name that came from a nearby mill that pressed oil from flaxseed. This geographic landmark, as well as the name of Borcher’s Mill, a local grist mill, led to the bridge’s official name, which is the longest name of any covered bridge in the United States: The Mink Hollow Covered Bridge in Oil Mill Hollow Over Arney Run Near Borcher’s Mill.

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Our last stop in the southern part of the county was Cross Mound, Cross Mound Park gets its name from the unique ancient earthwork structure situated in the shape of a plus-sign, or cross, composed of four identical arms each about 12 feet wide, three feet high and 45 feet long. The cross sits at the top of a moderate incline just west of Salt Creek, a tributary of the Scioto River.In addition to the cross-shaped earthwork, the park contains a small stone mound and several smaller mounds, possibly of the Hopewell period.

Cross Mound Park also features the Salt Creek Pedestrian Bridge, a picturesque suspension bridge spanning the creek of the same name. The bridge was constructed in 1936 through the Works Progress Administration

Despite extensive hiking up and down the hills we never really got a clear view of the mounds, although it was obviously where some were.

After some serious wandering through little country roads that felt as though we were driving onto the set of Deliverance, and past a correction facility, we arrived at the the Flight of the Hawk Park, south of Lancaster along US Route 33. Throughout this park are life-size metal sculptures of Ohio’s native wildlife. Among the sculptures are a turkey vulture, wild turkeys, white-tailed deer and the expansive 2,500-pound red-tailed hawk perched on its nest 42 feet above the ground. The hawk features a 14-foot wingspan and is composed of 3,000 torch-cut pieces that were carefully shaped and welded into place

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By this time it was lunchtime, so we went into Lancaster to the Cherry Street Grill. I always remember this place as a small little dive bar, but the current owners have made it into a nice little restaurant and pub.

Ashtabula, OH – May 2010 – Covered Bridge Tour

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Ashtabula County, Ohio has 18 covered bridges, which they claim is the most of any county in Ohio. Fairfield County also has 18, and they claim theirs are all original, as Ashtabula County has some new bridges built as covered bridges.

At any rate, here are the best of Ashtabula County’s:

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