The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

February 1, 2009

Rome Township bridge had twin lanes, was flooded by river it crossed

By CARL E. FEATHER - Staff Writer - cfeather@starbeacon.com

Ashtabula County had, for several decades, two twin-lane covered bridges.

The county’s second double-barreled bridge was on Route 6, Rome Township, about three miles east of Hartsgrove. It spanned the Grand River and was, to its demise, built rather low to the stream.

Also referenced as the Rome covered bridge, its construction date has not been determined by bridge researchers. Alice Bliss, in her 1968 article about the bridge, states that the bridge was built after the Rock Creek twin-lane. It disappeared from the scene sometime between 1929 and 1932.

No dimensions could be found for the bridge, whose number is 35-04-45.

Years before the bridge was removed, its north lane was closed, the result of damage to its planks from a threshing machine.

Numerous stories about the bridge emerged from Bliss’ research. An Earl Potter of Hartsgrove recalled taking refuge from a storm in the bridge while hauling a load of hay. The shelter kept the load dry.

Neighbors of the bridge recalled flood waters engulfing the deck and more. On one occasion, Vinton Way, a neighbor, rowed a boat through the bridge, and the water was so high his head just cleared the rafters of the bridge’s roof.

Route 6 became an important east-west link to Cleveland as the automobile overtook horses as the preferred way to travel. Thus, it’s understandable why this battered, narrow bridge that would have forced traffic to stop and check for oncoming vehicles, had to be removed.

No reproducible photograph that showed the bridge’s twin lanes could be located for this series.