Harshaville Covered Bridge, Harshaville Ohio

Date added: October 9, 2022 Categories: Ohio Bridges Covered Bridges

This area was first settled in 1806 and the first mill was built here on Cherry Fork in 1817 by a General Sam Wright who sold it in 1846 to Paul Harsha. Caldwell's 1880 Atlas of Adams County mentions that a W. B. Harsha had excellent mills here. This prominent Harsha Family has given its name to both community and the covered bridge. The town of Harsha once had a dry goods store, a blacksmith shop, and a shoe shop in addition to the Harsha Mills. Little of this activity remains in the area today. The old covered bridge is indicated in a sketch in the 1880 atlas. According to Congressman William H. Harsha of the Ohio 6th District, this covered bridge was built prior to the Civil War and was used by General John Morgan and his Raiders as they passed through Adams County in 1863. Unfortunately, no records exist today as to the builder of this fine old structure or the exact date it was built. We do know, however, that the Harshaville Covered Bridge is an outstanding example of the Burr truss and that is it now well into its second century of service to the people of the Harshaville area.

The bridge is a one-span wooden truss covered bridge spanning Cherry Fork at Sarshaville in Oliver Township on county road #1, Adams County, Ohio. This old bridge has sheet metal siding, a metal roof, stone abutments reinforced with concrete, and 2 sets of concrete piers.

Th bridge is known as the Harshaville Bridge and is built on the Burr truss plan patented in 1804 by Theodore Burr of Oxford, N.Y. The Burr truss features arches made rigid and sturdy by the addition of multiple kingpost braces and counterbraces. In the Harshaville Bridge, there are 10-ply laminated arches built on either side of the double multiple kingpost trusses, so that there are actually four sets of arches in this bridge. All truss members are double, and there is an extra brace and counterbrace in the center panel forming an X. The huge arches are 16" x 5½" each; the height of the trusses is 15'4"; the floor length is 88' and the overall length is 116'. The roadway width is 17' and the overall width of the structure is 21'. The over-head clearance is 12'. The truss uprights are 5½" x 6" timbers and the diagonals are 6" x 6" timbers. This was originally a one-span bridge, but two sets of concrete piers have been added. An old 1933 photo (from the record books of the Southern Ohio Covered Bridge Assoc.) shows the sheet metal siding and roof, but no piers or abutment reinforcements. The one-layer floor is laid crosswise. The east abutment is still the original dry-laid stone, but the west abutment has been covered with concrete.

This is a very sturdy and heavily-built bridge, whose builder obviously intended it to last for many years. The sheet metal siding shows traces of red paint, badly faded now. The portals are unpainted and weathered to a silvery gray. The overall condition of this bridge is good.

Harshaville Covered Bridge, Harshaville Ohio West portal north side of bridge (1975)
West portal north side of bridge (1975)

Harshaville Covered Bridge, Harshaville Ohio West portal looking east (1975)
West portal looking east (1975)