The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Covered bridge series

April 18, 2009

Doyle Road bridge has served byway travelers since 1868

Legend states that the Doyle Road covered bridge, 35-04-36, was built to look like a bridge in the Vermont hometown of the carpenter who built it.

While history preserved this legend, it did not record the name of the carpenter who raised this Jefferson Township charmer.

The bridge spans Mill Creek northwest of the village and is of Town lattice construction. It has an 84-foot span and a 94-foot overall length. Its most distinctive feature is the long narrow windows on each side that expose the diamond-shaped lattice work and allow a narrow slit of light into the structure.

This feature was preserved during the 1987 major rehabilitation that was performed by Ashtabula County Highway Department workers.

Working under the direction of County Engineer John Smolen, employees added a 90-foot laminated arch that reinforced the existing trusses and enables the bridge to handle modern traffic loads.

Along that line, the bridge, which sits on a sharp curve, was widened by 5 feet, which allows two-lane traffic.

Other improvements added in 1987 included a new floor and roof. The project cost $60,000 for materials.

This bridge is sometimes referred to as the Mullen Bridge, a reference to the E.L. Mullen farm associated with the structure in its early history.

The Mullen farmhouse stood near the bridge, close enough to cause the structure to catch fire when the house burned in August 1941.

At the time, the Carl Lukas family was living in the house, which was owned by Clara Redmond. A strong wind blew the flames in the direction of the bridge, which was saved through the quick action of the Wade Hose Co.

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