Charlton Mill Covered Bridge

The Charlton Mill Covered Bridge was originally built by Henry Hebble in 1883. This bridge was a classic Howe through truss design, and the Charlton Mill structure was quite long, with 12 truss panels and a total length of 128 feet. The bridge spans Massies Creek north of Xenia in Greene County, Ohio.

The approach to the bridge

Looking down the 120 foot long span

View of Massies Creek

 

 

 

 

 

Time took its toll on the original bridge constructed by Henry Hebble. An unfortunate mistake by a dump truck driver in 1969 resulted in a 20 ton load of gravel crashing through the deck and depositing the truck in the creek below. That took some serious repair.

Photo by Bill Caswell in 2009 before bridge was razed, note brace/top chord connection and wood deck runners

Photo for comparison of the construction details, again note brace/top chord connection and asphalt deck

Close look at stringers for the exterior siding and bottom chord details

Roof framing details

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally the decision was made in 2013 that the condition of the bridge was beyond repair. Thus the structure was razed, and a new replacement bridge was constructed on the same site.  The truss design remains faithful to the original Howe through truss, all 12 panels of it. Some metal attachment accessories are used to attach the angle braces to the top and bottom chords, and modern nailing plates are used in the roof rafter systems. And a thin asphalt deck overlay?  Seriously? There are already places where this overlay is peeling up.

A new bridge with an old design

On the way from home base in central Indiana to family in Columbus, Ohio, a bit of research revealed the locations of a few covered bridges. If you have visited our site before, you probably know of our enjoyment visiting, photographing, and sharing our findings. Having noted a location of the Hyde Road bridge, we were quite surprised when we noted on the signage that the bridge was built in 2014!

OK, it is covered, but a cupula?

While the exterior of the structure was not at all similar to the “classic” covered bridge designs a stroll through the bridge revealed the very familiar Howe through truss design. The two metal rods for posts and the angled braces and counter braces are very familiar. Those braces had a metal fitting for attachment to the top and bottom chords, and rafter fasteners were different including modern truss nail plates.

Truss design is familiar, details vary from “normal”

A different multi window design

Modern designed deck supports

 

 

 

 

 

The bridge spans the Little Miami Scenic Trail on E Hyde Road. We did see several bike riders enjoying the wide paved trail that runs under the new bridge. One other change from the old classic covered bridges is the thin asphalt pavement overlay on the bridge deck . While the clip-clop of equine hoofs do sound out, not having a wood deck is, well, a bit hard to appreciate.

This was built when??

Window view of the bike trail

 

 

 

 

 

The Hyde Road Bridge is also known as the Richard P Eastman Covered Bridge, the name of which shows on Google maps. The bridge was constructed by R.G. Zachrich Construction who has constructed other reproduction bridges in the state.

Pedestrian traffic only on Stevenson Road Covered Bridge

Greene County , Ohio is a bit east of Dayton with pretty rolling hills and well kept farmsteads. This is also the home of the Stevenson Road Covered Bridge, now open to pedestrian traffic only.

View from the new road that bypasses the old bridge

Note the three members of the top chord

This beautifully restored bridge was originally built in 1877 by the Smith Bridge Company of Toledo. The design is designated a Covered Smith through truss. This design was patented by Robert Smith and utilized a system of multiple top and bottom chords depending upon span lengths and load requirements.

Vehicles were prohibited in 2003 with the road course moved in 2004. The bridge deck is 95 feet in length with a width of 16.5 feet. The bridge spans Massies Creek on Stevenson Road (CR 76) in Wilberforce.

This was the first Smith through truss bridge we had seen. While inspecting the bridge truss system, you notice several steel square pipe cross bracing supports. They did not look appropriate for the original structure. Photos on bridgehunter.com taken in 2015 do not show these steel braces, so these might have been added in the 2015 restoration mentioned on the entrance signage.

Note the rust colored steel angle and cross braces

View of the deck supports reflected in the water

Dates of interest

Sher enjoying this pretty bridge


The Stevenson Road Covered Bridge is a lovely addition to the history of Ohio, and to the countryside in which it stands. The approach is quite capable of safe vehicle parking allowing for easy and interesting access to the bridge and its surrounds. This is a stop well worth your time.