The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Covered bridge series

April 18, 2009

Mill Creek crossing reborn

Pizza parlor owner heard opportunity knocking on old timbers when county sold Eagleville covered bridge

There is no person alive who knows the Eagleville Covered Bridge like Gary Hewitt.

The North Kingsville businessman took the 1862 bridge apart one timber, one wooden peg at a time in the summer of 1973. He then rebuilt the southern end of it inside the Covered Bridge Pizza Parlor, which opened on Route 193 in 1975. The northern half of the bridge is in Hewitt’s Andover pizza parlor.

Formerly located on Forman Road and spanning the Mill Creek, this Town lattice bridge dates back to 1862, according to an Ashtabula County Historical Society publication, which stated that the bridge’s date was on the bridge. The reference did not state where on the bridge, however.

Hewitt says he never found evidence of a date when dismantling the bridge. Further, according to a notice in the Ashtabula Sentinel, Dec. 11, 1867, county commissioners were to receive bids for building a lattice bridge over “Mills” Creek at Eagleville on Dec. 27 of that year. “Abutments to be let by the cord in wall, bridge by the foot,” stated the bridge notice.

Regardless of when it was built, in 1870 this bridge was lengthened and moved 100 feet north of its original location after melting spring floes changed the course of the creek.

The bridge was moved again during the legendary flood of 1913, this time by the swift waters that washed the bridge down stream. With only horses and block and tackle to move it, the bridge was pulled back to its stone abutments, where it would serve for nearly another 60 years.

The bridge received extensive attention from the county in 1963, when steel I-beams were placed underneath for additional support. The county also replaced the roof during that decade.

However, by 1972 the bridge was determined to be in unsafe condition and in need of replacement. County Engineer David L. Weir closed the bridge and suggested moving it to the Ashtabula County Fairgrounds.

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