Ada Covered Bridge, Ada Township Michigan

Date added: March 09, 2024 Categories:
The southwest corner of the bridge is in the foreground (1969)

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The Ada Covered Bridge is one of four extant publicly owned covered bridges in Michigan. Ada Township was authorized by the legislature in 1867 to borrow up to $3,000 for building or repairing bridges. This bridge was built about that time, probably by William Holmes. Holmes, a few years after that, became a resident of Ada and worked at carpentry and bridge contracting. During its period of use, the bridge served to connect the small settlement of Ada with the farmland to the east of the Thornapple River. Loss of the bridge was feared so much that during times of high water, wagons filled with rock were driven onto the span to hold it firmly to its supports.

In 1930 a new concrete highway bridge was opened just to the north of the covered bridge and the wooden structure was closed to vehicular traffic. About eight years later plans were made to raze the old structure but popular outcry forced the road commission to preserve it. Using county and WPA funds the renovation project was completed in 1941 at a cost of about $5,000.

The Ada Covered Bridge is now a part of the Kent County park system. It is used by pedestrians to travel from Ada to a park on the far side of the Thornapple River.

Bridge Description

The Ada Covered Bridge is of wooden truss construction, 14 feet wide, 15 feet high, and 125 feet long. The gable roof is covered with creosote shingles. The wood pilings which formerly supported the bridge were replaced by concrete abutments about 1913. The sawn timber trusses are of the Howe type, as later modified by Josiah Brown, Jr., through the use of the technique explained in U.S. Patent No. 17,772, issued in 1857. During repair work, Brown's name was found on one of the timbers.

Extensive renovations were completed in 1941. A barn near the site was purchased by the road commission and its siding and roofing were used to replace the badly deteriorated elements of the bridge. The interior surfaces are a maze of carved initials and dates.

Ada Covered Bridge, Ada Township Michigan The southwest corner of the bridge is in the foreground (1969)
The southwest corner of the bridge is in the foreground (1969)