Mill Branch Covered Bridge

My mother and I went on a little adventure Saturday and located two covered bridges along the way in Washington County. She and my dad haven’t quite trusted me since I dragged them to a couple of more isolated bridges last year so we just went to a couple that are along the beaten path.

The one pictured here, the Mill Branch Covered Bridge is a bit of an oddity. It was built in 1871 over the Mill Branch of the Little Hocking River, some three tenths of a mile east of its current location.

In 1980, at the ripe old age of 91, it was moved to the Barlow Fairgrounds. It was restored in the mid nineties. The thing that makes this bridge truly special is the Ohio Bicentennial logo painted on both sides. It appears to be the work of Scott Hagan, the barn artist commissioned to paint all 88 Ohio Bicentennial Barns in time for the Bicentennial celebration in 2003.

It is a curiosity because I haven’t found anything online about this bridge and the Ohio Bicentennial celebration. Every County in Ohio record a Bicentennial Barn and Washington is no different. Did the state paint the logo on this covered bridge? Did the community have it done?

If someone knows, I would love to hear the story!

Washington County has nine covered bridges and there is a driving tour. This one is the easiest to locate. There’s ample parking but it is closed to motor vehicle traffic.

If you’re interested in covered bridges, I’ve written about several. You’ll find them all if you type covered bridge in the search box.

Bicentennial Barn In Spring

The Bicentennial Barn in Athens County is looking a bit shabby but I couldn’t resist swinging by for a quick picture this weekend.

Each of Ohio’s 88 counties received the gift of a specially painted barn as part of Ohio’s bicentennial celebration back in 2003. I have written about this barn a couple of times – once as a young newspaper reporter and once on this blog. In fact, I hope you’ll go read the blog story by clicking here.

The sky was a rich blue on Saturday and the bend in the road is such that it always makes me want to drive new roads. Instead, I drove home and cleaned my house but at least I had a moment to enjoy this day and place.

Sometimes we need that, even those brief moments, to recharge and be ready for whatever lies ahead.

Bicentennial Barn

In another time and a universe far away, I worked as a newspaper reporter and editor. I wasn’t trained to be a journalist so it was a fun but challenging job even though I didn’t last long. The burnout rate at a small town paper is pretty high.

But in those few short years, I covered some fascinating stories and met some amazing people.

One of those fun assignments was covering the selection of Athens County’s Bicentennial Barn. To prepare for Ohio’s Bicentennial celebration, a Commission was formed and this entity worked to bring a big celebration to all eighty-eight Ohio counties.

One way they did this was by selecting a barn in each county to be painted with the bicentennial logo. This was an ingenious way to create a long lasting landmark and to gain community buy-in across the state.

This is how I met my friend Nichola whose brainchild it was to paint these barns.

Consequently, I will never drive by this barn without thinking of my friend and smiling in gratitude that we met.

I also think of the property owner. Her name was Mary and I always wonder how she’s doing. She was extremely nice to the young reporter who showed up asking to write about her barn.

The Bicentennial celebration was in 2003 and all the barns were painted in the years leading up to the celebration. I think the Athens County barn was painted in 2001 so the paint job is going on two decades old. Hard to believe it was so long ago but the paint job is starting to show it’s age.

I love it anyway and am glad for the good things that came my way because of it.