The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

March 7, 2009

Historian told how settlers crossed Conneaut Creek

Alice Bliss, in her 1968 newspaper stories about Conneaut’s covered bridges, tells how settlers crossed the creek.

“When the first settlers arrived at Conneaut and took up land in and around what is now the city, travel was really treacherous on hills going down into the valley. Settlers often chose to remain on the north side unless grave necessity took them south. When this happened, the travel was arranged to follow the streams in order to get to their destination.

“Shortly after the War of 1812, a road was built as far as Kinsman, and about 1840, a plank road was constructed, and at the same time, a timbered viaduct was also built, to cross the south bend of the Conneaut. This viaduct spanned the valley from the north crest to the south crest of the hills. A toll gate stood at the north end, where a small sum was collected to permit the person or vehicle to cross the stream or go to the mill in the valley below.

“Like all other plank roads, this one became dangerous to travel and a menace to horses when rotting timbers gave way. The county took over the bridge in 1858 and the Civil War saw the toll gates abandoned. With a need for drastic action, each school district supplied a supervisor and the road had some repair. It was soon removed and shortly after the war, the (Mill Road) covered bridge appeared and the road was improved, making safer travel through the entire county south.”