• We often travel on our own time and own dime. When we receive complimentary products, services, or accommodations as a result of our blogging activities, we will disclose that at the time we write about it. Midwest Guest is a member of ad affiliate programs and networks. If you click through the affiliate links or ads from here and purchase something from one of our affiliate partners, we receive a small commission. This income helps us pay for our blogging expenses and Midwest travel.


  • Thumbs up!

  • View Dominique King's profile on LinkedIn


  • Travel Blog Sites - Site of the Day
    As chosen by TravelPod
    the web’s original travel blog

« Chelsea, Michigan, maintains small-town charm while developing as a Midwestern arts center | Main | Photo Friday: Graveyard geocaching in Michigan and Ohio »

October 29, 2009


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Richard T. Hughes

My name is Rich Hughes and in 1986 I was a 27 year old Civil Engineer whom designed the bridge you see today. I remember working with the Park Service who instead of contracting the project out for construction elected to used in house new recruits to physically build it by hand. James Askins was the foreman for the park service whom worked out of Williamsport Md. The men and women whom built the bridge were from all walks of life with degrees in accounting, business, and the arts. I made many trips to the site to show them how to make the joints and put the camber (arch) in the bridge. Instead of building it in place we built the main trusses on the one bank and then flipped them vertical and into place using a crane. As I recall the bridge was swept to a bank in the 1972 flood and local kids raised money for the bridge rebuilding but the project lost steam and the monies lay in a bank account. The elementary kids grew up moved on and then someone asked the question, "what happened to the money we raised as kids?" The money was found and the students who were now in their 20's were brought back into the project. I remember that the ruins of the original bridge lay rotten on the bank but I had a great photo of the bridge which I used for the reconstruction. The main timbers were trucked in from Oregon. I was only able to use one diagonal from the original bridge. We purposely made the webs of the trusses random sizes so to be accurate. Instead of white paint we used white wash lime. The day we swung the two main trusses into place a large crowd was present including a film crew from an Akron TV station who interveiwed me. I was unable to be present for the dedication but I was told that Sen John Glenn was present. I went on to design over 100 bridges including one over the Nile in Africa but this one is very special to me and photos hang on my office wall.
Rich Hughes, Clearfield, PA

Dominique King

Rich-Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing the story of your involvement with the 1980s reconstruction.
I've always found bridges fascinating, and I particularly enjoy learning their stories as I photograph them and write about them.
This is such a beautiful bridge, the story of the people who helped design, fund, and build it shows that so many people cared about creating something that the rest of us could enjoy for years to come. I thank all of you for that.

Ken Summers

I've investigated the bridge off and on since I first heard about it back in 1998. I've never heard the wagon or captured anything interesting at the site (though a friend did photograph what could be a faint, phantom horse in the creek), but I did turn up a lot of interesting history.

The park service did get their history wrong with Gilson. According to the actual newspaper report, his sleigh slid into the creek along Wheatley Road further north of the site. His body was recovered four days later in the creek past the bridge. According to a historian I spoke with in Peninsula, it was called Centennial Bridge, so it was likely built in 1876.

I checked over the paranormal investigation site (I wonder if they realize Gilson and his wife Hannah are both buried at Ira Cemetery), and there's just one problem with it. They claim the abandoned cemetery is in a wooded area beside the bridge. It sounds like they're placing it along Oak Hill Road on the southwest side of the bridge. They were in the wrong location completely. The cemetery, abandoned in the 1890s, was north of the bridge. All that remains are pine trees along Everett Road.

The valley is filled with bizarre history and spooky stories. Hopefully I'll be correcting many of the errors in the stories I published in the book next year when a new revised version is released by a real publisher with the help of a fellow investigator and researcher.

Dominique King

Ken-Thanks for stopping by and sharing some of the results of your research with me.
I love these old stories, but it's often tough to get what feels like a reasonably accurate story sometimes.
Best of luck with the book!

The comments to this entry are closed.

Become a Fan

Twitter Updates

    follow me on Twitter
    Blog powered by Typepad