The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Covered bridge series

April 25, 2009

Kelloggsville siblings

One succumbed, one survived from this Potter family duo

A few miles southeast of Kingsville, the hamlet of Kelloggsville once had a covered bridge that crossed the Ashtabula River on Stanhope-Kelloggsville Road.

The bridge has been attributed to a Mr. Potter and was built in 1867. Potter was a prolific carpenter and is credited with building several of the county’s Town lattice bridges, including the extant Root Road bridge, south of Kelloggsville.

Unfortunately, history did not record his first name. Louise Legeza, archivist at the Geneva Public Library, has researched the Potter name extensively and come up with several possibilities — Homer Dexter, Orange and Charles among them — but history has been frustratingly silent about who built these bridges. Even the Ashtabula County commissioners’ meeting minutes omitted the names of the builders awarded the contracts. It’s also possible Potter did not live in the county but was an itinerant bridge builder.

The Kelloggsville Bridge, designated 35-04-08, was not as fortunate. It was removed in 1947 and replaced with a steel culvert said to be Ohio’s largest at the time: 15 feet in diameter and 80 feet long. The culvert was constructed under the bridge so traffic would not be interrupted during the work.

The bridge it replaced was just 70 feet long and 14 feet wide, evidently insufficient for the modern traffic and farm equipment using the well-established road.

Stanhope-Kelloggsville Road was one of the most important early highways in the early history of Ashtabula County, and Kelloggsville was an equally important, thriving hamlet.

Founded in 1799, the Monroe Township hamlet got a significant boost from construction of the Turnpike Road, which ran 15 miles from Richmond Township to Kelloggsville. Caleb Blodgett built this “corduroy” turnpike of logs covered with dirt. It was also called a “plank road” because logs were used to ford marshland.

When the road reached Kelloggsville, travelers had to ford the Ashtabula River. If the river was high, there was no access to the hamlet from the south.

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