The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Covered bridge series

April 25, 2009

Kelloggsville siblings

One succumbed, one survived from this Potter family duo


Thanks to this turnpike and other roads that converged at Kelloggsville, the community grew into a bustling town whose population was at one time larger than that of Cleveland. There were 13 harness makers, their business fueled by the teamsters who hauled from Conneaut to the Ohio River. The transportation trade also justified three wagon-building shops, a dozen blacksmith shops, several distilleries and a tannery, as well as grist and saw mills.

There was also a need for hospitality businesses, thanks to Blodgett’s arrangements with two lines, one from Buffalo to Cleveland, the other from Erie to Pittsburgh. Both ran through Kelloggsville and contributed to its growth.

In 1824 Blodgett decided to cash in on this travel himself and built the Old Brick Tavern, which still stands as a private residence. The tavern served various roles in the community, from meeting house and tavern to school and dance hall. Teamsters tied their animals in a lot next to the tavern, then slept on the floor of the barroom on blankets. The tavern was sometimes so crowded teamsters had a hard time finding a place to sleep on the floor, and this in a community that had 14 hotels or taverns at one time.

This turnpike also served as a conduit for escaped slaves taking the Underground Railroad to freedom, with the Old Brick Tavern operating as a station, or safe house, on the trek.

Kelloggsville experienced a quick decline after 1870, when railroads began replacing the old turnpikes as the preferred way to move goods and people. The hotels and many other businesses went bust, but at least the town had a new covered bridge.

Root Road

This bridge’s younger sibling, on Root Road, was built a year later, 1868. It is 114 feet long and has 94-foot span over the West Branch of the Ashtabula River. The river is formed a short distance north of this bridge, where the East and West branches converge and flow under Stanhope-Kelloggsville Road.

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