The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Covered bridge series

March 12, 2009

Windsor crossings

Alderman School bridge gave students a short-cut to class

The former Cox Road, north of Route 322 in Windsor, is a narrow driveway that dead ends at a house. A neighbor tells me that behind that house, back in the woods, are the abutments of what used to be a covered bridge. With the ground saturated and oozing mud, I take his word for it and leave that field trip to a drier day.

The old bridge that stood here has been gone for a century or more. Only two photos of it could be unearthed, both of them in the care of the Windsor Historical Society.

Marlan and Marian (McCalmont) Alderman, society members, have a special interest in the bridge because of Marlan’s familial connection to the school. The Elsworth Alderman family that lived in this section of the Township had a daughter, Ada Alderman, who taught at the school that would come to bear her name. Elsworth was Marlan’s great uncle.

Ada, who died in 1927, has been called the “premiere educator of Windsor.” She taught in the one-room schoolhouse that is now a handsome brick home at the corner of Route 322 and the former Cox Road.

Neither Marlan nor Marian attended this school or crossed the covered bridge that led to it. By 1926 all of the one-room schools had been consolidated in Windsor, at the building that is now the community center. Marian says there were four such schools in the eastern side of the township, and they were the first to consolidate. The five on the western side operated a while longer.

Phelps Creek presented an obstacle to education and travel to those who lived to the north of the stream along what is today Huntley Road (formerly Killdeer Road).

In 1867 two covered bridges were built across this stream -- one at Wiswell Road, which still stands, and one on Cox Road. According to the bridge notice in the Ashtabula Sentinel, the “lattice or barn bridge over Phelp’s Creek, near Skinners Mill, was to be 120 feet. That notice is assumed to refer to the Wiswell Road structure because of the mill reference.

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