The Johnson Road Covered Bridge in Jackson County has a claim to fame for being one of the last of its kind still standing in Ohio.
Here’s the story:
Built in 1869, it was constructed using the Smith Truss. This kind of truss was invented and patented by Ohio bridge builder Robert W. Smith. His company was based in Tippecanoe City, Ohio (present day Tipp City) and was known as a prolific bridge builder through Ohio and parts of the Midwest.
He started with wooden bridges like the Johnson Road bridge but eventually moved to Toledo where he turned his interest towards metal truss bridges.
Almost all the covered bridges in Jackson County were made by Smith’s firm but this is the only one that remains.
According to the Jackson County Engineer’s Office, the purpose of this design was to provide maximum strength using minimum materials. In other words, it was a sturdy bridge that didn’t cost a bundle to build .
You can drive through this bridge and, aside from the graffiti, it seems well maintained. A couple of things to note- there is a bend in the road as you approach the bridge, making it hard to see oncoming traffic until you’re right there. Since it’s a township road, it’s not busy out there but you still need to pay attention.
Want to find it? The Maps app on my iPhone got me right there by using the address 1599 Johnson Road, Jackson, Ohio. You will turn off Rt 32, a four lane highway, and be on State Route 776 for a while. This two lane road is curvy and passes through some farm country including a few Amish homes. Watch out for farm equipment and buggies.