1 vote

Cloverdale Bridge


29th May 1902 image looking south, up the Auglaize River

[digitally altered to reduce scanning artifacts and bring out truss structure - source image from book in link page 499, scan page 522]


Looking south, up the Auglaize River at Kilcannon Rapids, low stage of water 29th May 1902. The former Myers' flouring mill, high dam, and slackwater, show beyond the wagon bridge. The Bridge of the Findlay, Fort Wayne, and Western Railway (now operated by the C. H. & D. Ry Co.) crosses a few rods below. Cascade Park, a summer resort, is beyond the mill.

Photo digitally altered by Art S. in October 2021


View this photo at google.com

BH Photo #510412


Lost Bowstring through truss bridge over Auglaize River on Present-day route of OH-634
Cloverdale, Putnam County, Ohio
Replaced by a new bridge
Built 1874; replaced 1959 by current bridge
Three-span bowstring through truss
Approximate latitude, longitude
+41.01919, -84.28853   (decimal degrees)
41°01'09" N, 84°17'19" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/727984/4544428 (zone/easting/northing)
Inventory number
BH 94811 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • October 25, 2021: Updated by Paul Plassman: Corrected truss type to through bowstring
  • October 24, 2021: New photo from Art Suckewer
  • October 24, 2021: Updated by Paul Plassman: Added in history and corrected truss type to pony in design description



Cloverdale Bridge
Posted October 25, 2021, by Paul Plassman


Fascinating design. Thanks for letting me in on some knowledge--I will have to go search for a few more of these spans. It's too bad so few remain in existence today.

After looking at your improved photo I do now see the the two overhead members that appear to join the arches at the apex. I admit I simply jumped to the conclusion at first that it was a through bowstring based on its apparent size; the book photo wasn't clear enough to make an assumption though.

Also, I looked for more images of this bridge and hunted through Putnam County histories in Google books for extra info. No success so far. :(

Cloverdale Bridge
Posted October 24, 2021, by Art S. (Asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)

PS. in tweaking the pic., I don't think I did the girl any favors... :^)

Cloverdale Bridge
Posted October 24, 2021, by Art S. (Asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)


It was based on something Nathan told me, which tied into my own knowledge. However, I am in error, thatís a different three spam bowstring, further south. In fact, I think Iím wrong on the pony/through truss issue also. After scanning and cleaning up the image you found, your original assessment was correct, its a through truss.

Regarding trade secrets, Iíve stared at a lot of CBW spans, many more than are listed here. Iíve become fascinated with CBW and have been researching itís history for years. I have a small piece of the archive and have seen various parts of the rest as well as otherís research.

That said, I thought this was a different span, which I knew to be CBW. I may still be right, the slightly radiating verticals match one of the known CBW configurations, which combined with the slenderness, simplicity and what appear to be a series of straight segments making up the bow keeps me confident. Iíd like to have a clearer image to be sure and the 1874 date may be wrong. If we canít add to the evidence either with your ability to find images of Melissaís research, Iíll probably pull the builder label and build date until we can confirm it.

To me, the key to identifying CBW bowstrings is the segmented arch of straight rolled or wood compression members (following Whippleís original concept) the frequently used double jointed tension members and a simple truss web. I have yet to confirm any cruciform rolled members (only cast) and any curved, rolled, compression members on a bridge confirmed (not just believed) to be by CBW. Several small lost bridges and one survivor which are attributed to CBW on the site are questionable. BTW, as contributors continue adding information, some of the haze of lost knowledge is lifting.

Separately, Itís interesting as to what these individuals accomplished with what they had to work with and as I learn more how the various players completed and collaborated they become more interesting and real. Also, the more I learn, the more I understand how J.P. Morgan was able to roll them all up into American Bridge Company. BTW, one of the sons ran one of the ABC facilities after the merger.


Art S.

Cloverdale Bridge
Posted October 24, 2021, by Paul Plassman

Nice! I was wondering if it lasted until the current bridge was built.


On looking at the book image a second time, I believe they ARE pony bowstrings and not throughs. That's what I get for not looking super closely the first time....

And Columbia! If you don't mind clueing me in on some "trade secrets", how did you figure that out? I'm familiar with the CBW details on through trusses but I haven't yet gotten so I can recognize Columbia bowstrings.

Cloverdale Bridge
Posted October 24, 2021, by Art S. (Asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)


Can you confirm this is the builder and that they are ponies.


Art. S.

Cloverdale Bridge
Posted October 24, 2021, by Melissa Brand-Welch (melissabrandwelch [at] msn [dot] com)

The Lima Citizen: October 6 1959... terrible photo but it establishes date of loss