McColly Covered Bridge, Bloom Center Ohio

Date added: September 10, 2023 Categories: Ohio Bridges Covered Bridges
East portal of bridge, looking west (1974)

The McColly Bridge is an attractive and well-maintained example of the popular and sturdy Howe truss covered bridge. It was built in 1876 by the Anderson Green Company of Sidney, Ohio for $3,103. The contract awarded on July 7, 1876, called for a Howe truss covered bridge at $13.35 per linear foot. The stonework of the abutments and wing walls was done by T. B. Stillwell. The name McColly came from Nicholas McColly, an early resident of the area, who owned 245 acres of land near the bridge site. The McColly Bridge is just two-tenths of a mile north of the Greenville Treaty Line.

This fine old covered structure is typical of the hundreds of Howe truss covered bridges that once spanned the streams of Ohio. Only 18 of these Howe trusses remain today and the McColly Bridge is one of the better examples. The Logan County Engineer takes excellent care of this bridge which is evident in its attractive and sturdy appearance.

Bridge Description

The McColly Bridge is a one-span wooden truss covered bridge spanning the Great Miami River 2 miles southeast of Bloom Center in Bloomfield-Washington Townships, on County Road 130 in Logan County, Ohio. This bridge has vertical, high-boarded siding, a metal roof, projected portals and stone abutments faced with concrete.

This bridge is known as the McColly Bridge and is built on the Howe truss plan which was patented in 1840 by William Howe of Spencer, Mass, who came from a family of inventors. The Howe truss plan was very popular almost from the moment of its introduction because it eliminated one of the great weaknesses of the all-wood truss by replacing the wooden verticals with iron rods. These iron rods could be tightened and adjusted with turnbuckles when the bridge began to gag under heavy loads. The railroads were quick to see the advantages of this innovation and literally thousands of these Howe trusses were built on the railroads and highways of our young country. The McColly Bridge is a fine example of the well-maintained Howe truss. It is a 13-panel Howe, 142' long overall with a 134' clear span. The overall width is 20' and the roadway is 16'. The overhead clearance is 13'. The truss diagonal braces are 2-7" x 8½" and the counterbraces are 1-6" x 6", The panels measure 10' each and the height of the trusses is 14'.

This covered bridge is kept in very good condition. The floor system has been reinforced with steel I beams and the stone abutments have been reinforced with concrete. The siding and portals are finished with battens and painted a gleaming white.

McColly Covered Bridge, Bloom Center Ohio East portal of bridge, looking west (1974)
East portal of bridge, looking west (1974)

McColly Covered Bridge, Bloom Center Ohio West portal and south side of bridge, looking northeast (1974)
West portal and south side of bridge, looking northeast (1974)