Blacklick Covered Bridge, Pickerington Ohio
The Blacklick Covered Bridge was built in 1888 by August Borneman who was proprietor of the Hocking Valley Bridge Works in lancaster, Ohio. Cost of the bridge was $2,020.75. According to one source, this old bridge rests on the abutments of an earlier covered bridge that was supposedly built in 1832. The Blacklick Bridge was built at the site of Allen's Mill in Violet Townhip. It is one of the few covered spans left in this township out of at least a dozen that once stood here. It is the largest covered span in Fairfield County at 133' and is wider than the usual covered bridges. It is very well-built and Mr. Borneman obviously intended that it should last for many years. Mr. Borneman was a well-known and respected bridge-builder and inventer in Fairfield County. He also built the John Bright Covered Bridge. The portals of John Bright and Blacklick Covered Bridges are much alike. Mr. Borneman was a talented builder who would build any type of bridge desired, wooden, steel or a combination of both; established truss plans such as the Howe truss of the Blacklick Bridge, or a truss of his own design like the Bright Bridge.
The Blacklick Covered Bridge is the closest such structure to the City of Columbus, and there is the possibility that someday this entire area will be a part of the city. If this happens, the bridge will become part of the city park system. The Village of Pickerington is also interested in annexing this area. The outcome of all this is unknown, but in the meantime, this fine old span continues to carry very heavy traffic. Building is going on in the area and what this will mean to the future of this old bridge, we do not yet know. Vandalism has been a persistant problem at the Blacklick Covered Bridge. It has been set afire at least five times. For some unknown reason, the area around this fine old structure is continually being used by unknown individuals as a trash dump. Church youth groups and Scout groups have periodically cleaned up the mess around the bridge. The old Blacklick Covered Bridge is one of only 18 Howe trusses left here in Ohio. It is also close to the City of Columbus and Blacklick Metropolitan Park.
On August 31st, 1977 the bridge was hit by a semi-truck and destroyed.
Description of the bridge
The structure was a one-span wooden truss covered bridge spaning Blacklick Creek in Violet Township on Tussing Road just west of the intersection of SR 256 and 204, three and one-half miles northwest of Pickerington in Fairfield County, Ohio. This old span has vertical, high boarded siding (most of which is missing), a metal roof, cut-stone abutments reinforced with concrete and straight portals cut back at the base.
This old structure is known as the Blacklick Covered Bridge and was built on the once-popular Howe truss plan patented in 180 by William Howe of Spencer, Mass. It was the introduction of this truss that spelled the end for the all-wooden bridge truss. The Howe truss introduced the use of iron tie rods as the truss verticals with the wooden braces and counterbraces forming an X. These iron rods could be tightened up easily if the bridge began to sag and this feature made it quite popular with both the railroads and the highways. Hundreds of these Howe trusses were built on the railroads and highways of Ohio. The Blacklick Bridge is a 13 panel Howe, 133' long overall with a clear span of 130' 6". The overall width is 20' 6" and the roadway width is 15'. Height of the trusses is 15'. Truss counterbraces range in size from 8" x 9" at the ends to 5 1/2" x 5 1/2" at the center of the bridge. The braces range in size from 4" x 6" at the end panels to 6" x 6" in the center panels. The end panel on the southwest corner of the bridge is missing, making it only 12 panels on that side of the bridge. Blackened areas around the missing panel suggest that it probably was destroyed by arson. The floor of the bridge is a single layer, laid lengthwise. Structurally, the old Blacklick Bridge would seem to be sound. Its outward appearance would be much the same as always if most of the siding were not missing. We do not know if this is the work of vandals. The original stone abutments have been heavily reinforced with concrete and the west abutment has had extra reinforcements of steel I beams, probably due to the damage to the trusses, mentioned above.