Historic Structures

Newton Falls Covered Bridge, Newton Falls Ohio

Date added: May 14, 2022 Categories: Ohio Bridges Covered Bridges

The citizens of Newton Falls and Trumbull County are justly proud of this fine old landmark which was built in 1831, making it the second oldest covered bridge in Ohio. The Newton Falls Bridge is an outstanding example of the Town truss, one of the earliest American bridge trusses. There are only 11 Town lattice truss bridges left in Ohio. This 191 year old structure still carries heavy traffic which is a further testimonial to the strength and durability of the Town truss.

The Newton Falls Bridge is unusual in that it is one of the few "village" bridges remaining in Ohio and our only covered bridge with a sidewalk. This fine old bridge is also the last covered bridge in Trumbull County.

The structure is a three-span wooden truss covered bridge spanning the east branch of the Mahoning River in Newton Falls, Trumbull County, Ohio. The siding is vertical and boarded almost to the eaves; the roof is metal and the portals are projected and the abutments are stone. There is a sidewalk on the south side for pedestrian use.

The Newton Falls Bridge is built on the Town Lattice truss plan patented in 1820 by Ithiel Town, an architect and bridge builder of New Haven, Connecticut. In his book Covered Bridges of the Northeast, Richard S. Allen describes the Town truss as an uninterrupted series of crisscrossed diagonals forming overlapped triangles. These web members were fastened at the point of intersection so that independant action of any one triangle was impossible. These bridges were usually built of pine or spruce planks, and holes were bored into the planks at every lattice intersection and at the places where the lattices were secured to the upper and lower chords. Then, wooden connecting pins, called treenails or "trunnels" were soaked in oil and driven into these holes, thus fastening the truss together. The Bown lattice trusses were assembled in a field adjacent to the bridge site and then jockeyed into place across the stream on falsework. The Town truss enjoyed great popularity in the New England states, the Southern states and the Mid-West. Mr. Town became quite wealthy because builders had to pay a royalty of $1. per foot for the use of his truss type.

The Newton Falls Bridge is 123' long overall with a 101.67' clear span; the overall width including the sidewalk is 24' 10" with a 16' roadway. The sidewalk is 122' 5" long. The sidewalk and the 2 piers are later additions. One source states that the supports were put under the bridge in 1943. In July of 1962, these supports had weakened and the bridge was vibrating badly so it was closed to traffic until March 1963. New piers were installed and a new floor was put in at this time. The bridge is open to all but truck traffic. The bridge is unpainted except for the portals which are painted white.