6 votes

Higginsport Bridge


From Higginsport side of creek

Road appears to be used only by campers. The bridge itself seems to be solid enough for light-duty use, but something would need to be done quickly.

Photo taken by Bill Eichelberger in April 2010


BH Photo #162113


This bridge contains a a-frame lattice portal bracing with a cast iron decorative detail at the base of the a-frame. This is a detail associated with the Smith Bridge Company, and this bridge is thus associated with that company.

The single span, 176'-long, double-intersection Pratt (Whipple) truss bridge is supported on stone abutments with concrete repairs. The truss is traditionally composed with built-up compression members and eyebar tension members. The upper chords are toe-out channels with coverplate and battens. The verticals are toe-out channels with lacing. The diagonals are eyebars with loop-welded eyes. The lower chord eyebars have forged eyes. The interior panels have a mid-height strut of toe-out channels with lacing. The upper lateral bracing is composed of I-sections with a U-shaped clip to form the connection with the upper chords at the pins. The A-frame lattice portal bracing features decorative cast-iron moldings at the base of the brackets. U-shaped hangers at the lower panel points pick up built-up floorbeams. The floorbeams carry rolled stringers and a steel deck pan (non original). The bridge has pipe railings with many sections missing.

The ca. 1885 double-intersection Pratt truss is a technologically significant example of an increasingly uncommon truss type/design. The builder is undocumented by available county records. Double-intersection Pratt trusses, also known as Whipple or Murphy-Whipple trusses, were among the most successful of long-span thru truss designs (up to 300’ long) of the 1860s to 1890s for both railroad and vehicular crossings. Surviving examples are uncommon nationally and considered technologically significant; Ohio with at least 14 identified examples dating from 1881 to 1898 (Phase 1A survey, 2008) has a very high number in comparison to most other states. The truss design is characterized by diagonals that extend over two panels. In 1847, Squire Whipple, one of America’s foremost bridge engineers, developed the design figuring that the double-intersection configuration increased the depth of panel without altering the optimal angle of the diagonals, thus allowing for increased span length. His design was further refined in 1859 by John W. Murphy, the talented chief engineer of Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley RR, who substituted wrought-iron pins for cast-iron connecting pieces, thus developing the connection detail that would prove to be advanced construction practice for this and other truss designs for the next several decades. Ohio’s surviving examples, which mostly date to the 1880s, were not cutting edge for their time, but they show how the form had evolved into the preferred long-span thru truss design of the period. Most have documented associations with prominent Ohio-based fabricators.

There are at least 14 examples of the bridge type important to the development and maturation of the pin-connected thru truss bridge (Dec. 2009). They date from 1881 and concentrate in the 1880s. Even though there are more than 12 extant examples in Ohio, each built in the 1880s has high significance based on overall scarcity (everywhere but in Ohio) of the design. This is a major and technologically significant bridge type. The bridge has high historic significance.


Abandoned Whipple Truss bridge over White Oak Creek on Old A&P Road.
Higginsport, Brown County, Ohio
Built 1884
- Smith Bridge Co. of Toledo, Ohio
12-panel, pinned Whipple through truss
Length of largest span: 176.0 ft.
Deck width: 16.0 ft.
Approximate latitude, longitude
+38.79353, -83.95359   (decimal degrees)
38°47'37" N, 83°57'13" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
17/243476/4298008 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Inventory numbers
ODOT 08XXXX3 (Ohio Dept. of Transportation structure file number)
BH 44835 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • March 11, 2022: New photos from Paul Plassman
  • February 19, 2022: Updated by Paul Plassman: Added Rick's photos & categories "12-panel truss", "A-frame portal", "One-lane traffic", "US 52"
  • February 12, 2022: Updated by Tony Dillon: Changed build date and added information.
  • September 29, 2020: New photos from James McCray
  • May 31, 2017: Updated by Christopher Finigan: Added category "Pin-connected"
  • June 5, 2016: New photos from Mike Mullins
  • April 24, 2012: Updated by Nathan Holth: Added builder, dimensions, corrected date.
  • April 24, 2012: Updated by Tony Dillon: Updated description
  • April 11, 2010: Added by Bill Eichelberger



Higginsport Bridge
Posted February 14, 2022, by RICK SHELTON (shltn [dot] rck66 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

March 1997.

Higginsport Bridge
Posted February 12, 2022, by RICK SHELTON (shltn [dot] rck66 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

That would be pretty coincidental...I'd have to say Scofield would be the one they are referring to.

Higginsport Bridge
Posted February 12, 2022, by Paul Plassman

Possibly...however, the bridge on Scoffield Road over Eagle Creek about four miles east of Ripley was known as the Fitch's Chapel Bridge according to LostBridges, so I wonder if the article isn't referring to that span.

Higginsport Bridge
Posted February 12, 2022, by RICK SHELTON (shltn [dot] rck66 [at] yahoo [dot] com)


I wonder if "Fitch's Bridge" from this article could be the mystery abutments upstream from the 52 Eagle Creek Bridge?

Higginsport Bridge
Posted February 12, 2022, by RICK SHELTON (shltn [dot] rck66 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

Full article from the Ripley Bee.

Higginsport Bridge
Posted October 17, 2020, by Rick Shelton (shltn [dot] rck66 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

At long last, a pic of this beauty from days long gone by.

If this picture is indeed from 1909 then it predates U.S. 52 by quite a few years. According to an article from the Ripley Bee, this bridge was commissioned as the Higginsport Iron Bridge, to be completed by the Smith Bridge Company " on or before the first day of June A.D. 1884." The total cost was $4201.95, with the original agreement of $23.70 per linear foot and a final length of 177 feet. The bridge was bypassed in 1945 and closed in 1977.

In the photo there appears to be plaques at each end, I would love to know what became of them.

Higginsport Bridge
Posted July 26, 2020, by rick shelton (shltn [dot] rck66 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

Here are some interesting shots of this old fellow.

Higginsport Bridge
Posted April 27, 2018, by roger meade (rmvlogs18 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Me and a few friends have been there and looked around and it was very cool. Believe it or not we even jumped off of it . We jumped from the top part and it was scary. I have a friend named Nixon and he is about 350 pounds and he even jumped from the very top part.

Higginsport Bridge
Posted June 9, 2016, by Glyn Robinson (contactbluebird [at] hotmail [dot] com)

so cool! built in 1885? thanks for posting!

Higginsport Bridge
Posted November 18, 2013, by rick shelton (shltn [dot] rck66 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

I rode across this bridge with my parents in the 1970's. That's hard to imagine looking at it now, but it was open for a long time after it was bypassed. Not sure when it closed, late 70's or early 80's. The last posted limit on it was 3 tons. Wish some benefactor could come along for it like the Loughery Creek Triple Whipple in Indiana.