The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Covered bridge series

March 7, 2009

Conneaut Crossings II

Old mill, bog-iron furnace stood near covered bridges


Likewise, the covered bridge that stood here for nearly 60 years proved a poor fit for the motorized traffic that depended upon Route 7 for north-south access to the city.

The bridge was closed in June 1924 because of wind damage that rendered it unsafe. It was replaced with an arched concrete span in 1925.

While covered bridge fans will lament the loss of the Mill Road and Farnham bridges, according to the Web site, the concrete arch bridges that replaced these structures in the 1920s are “magnificent” structures.

“Ashtabula County is just lucky to happen to have two of these extremely rare, large and significant examples of a beautiful structure type,” states the Web site, which rates the bridge’s local historic significance as 9 out of 10.

“This graceful structure is perhaps among the most beautiful bridges in Ohio,” states the site in describing the 154-foot-long bridge on Mill Road. It likewise gives high marks to the sister arch bridge on Center Road at Farnham.

Another extinct Conneaut bridge that spanned this creek, Furnace Road, was tied not to grist mills or cider, but bog iron.

This ore occurs in swampy areas, and although low in quality, it was used by early settlers as a convenient source of metal for producing their tools and housewares. Timber for making charcoal was abundant in the Western Reserve, and numerous bog iron furnaces were constructed throughout the Reserve to take advantage of these resources.

The settlement of Clark’s Corners, southeast of Conneaut at Furnace and Hatch Corners roads, developed around this fledgling industry in the early 1800s. A. Dart and M.P. Ormsby built a foundry about one mile north of these corners in 1830 and employed as many as 150 men, who made stoves and other castings. Furnace Road, which was north of Clark’s Corners, drew its name from the old furnace, which turned out the pig iron.

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