I hope it is still as beautiful as the photos, Tygarts creek is one of the most beautiful places I have seen. Hope Gen X can appreciate and take care of what they have been left in trust of. I would love to retire in such a place. All you need is a grocery store, gas station and a Pizza Shop, Job and or Inheirentance. First next stop would be heaven. Haven't been there since 1976. May need to take a road trip.
Only 7 bridges using Wheeler's unique design are known to have been built. The 6 Ohio spans have been gone for many decades while this 1 Kentucky example remains.
Isaac's 1870 letters patent - http://tiny.cc/ne3lu
It is quite possible that the Bennett's built and earlier span here in 1855-6, perhaps an open wooden span that only lasted 15 years or so. This would explain much of the dissension with the dates.
It seems to me the meaning of building the bridge is by taking on the payment, not making a blue print or the manual labor, of the job. I agree that they are way off on spelling of his name. I'm not sure about the question of the year on the Historical sign. Though, I have his residence at Tygart Creek before that date.
I am glad it's still standing, regardless of whether Mr. Wheeler built it or not, as William Parmolee Bennett is my Great-Great Grandfather. It is exciting to know that our family made their mark on history and that it is still being used today.
I don't know where the information for the historical marker came from, but it is way off. This bridge is the last remaining Wheeler Truss from only a handful that were built. Mr. Wheeler was from Scioto County, Ohio and patented the truss around 1870. Other sources that I have seen give the construction date as 1872, and Wheeler himself may have been the builder.