The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Covered bridge series

March 7, 2009

Conneaut Crossings II

Old mill, bog-iron furnace stood near covered bridges

Part two of a two-part series on extinct covered bridges that once crossed Conneaut Creek. Last week’s story looked at the Farnham twin bridges.



A short distance north of where the Farnham Mill’s twin covered bridges stood, another old bridge associated with a mill crossed Conneaut Creek as it made a final loop around the city.

The Mill Road/Mill Hill bridge, World Guide to Covered Bridges number 35-04-29, was built around 1867 and rebuilt/repaired a number of times before it was removed in 1925.

The bridge stood at the foot of “Mill Street Hill,” now Mill Road. Throughout much of its history, it was associated with a mill that stood just north of the bridge.

Known as the “Old Cider Mill,” the structure was built in the late 1800s by a C.H. Best. The mill was popular meeting place for the community in the fall and provided many a youngster with his first sip of cider.

Local historian, Alice Bliss, quoting a story written by Ashtabula County historian Walter Jack, described in a newspaper article a second mill that stood at this site, most likely a predecessor to the cider mill. This mill was powered by steam and accompanied by a tall brick smokestack.

“At one time, there was a grist mill at the site in which skilled millers from England, named Rathbun and Skinner, joined forced to grind the grist for early pioneers of Conneaut,” she wrote, quoting Jack.

The cider mill survived until Oct. 5, 1957, when it burned in a “spectacular blaze.” The building’s use as a mill had ceased several years before the fire, at which time it was being used a stable. Its days were numbered, all the same. Its owner, Eleanor Patrick, had sold the aging building to the state highway department, which planned to raze it so Route 7 could be relocated.

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