ENGLEWOOD — Area residents are invited to attend an informational program at the Englewood Government Center from 2-4 p.m. on Sunday afternoon, August 2, when Englewood City Manager Eric Smith will discuss the current status of the replica covered bridge project.
The afternoon program has been coordinated through Randolph Township Historical Society in concert with the Clay Township and Vandalia-Butler historical groups.
The replica covered bridge, a color version of which is shown in the artist’s rendering, will span the Stillwater River between Butler and Randolph townships on the site of the original structure. Designed primarily for pedestrian and bike traffic, the new bridge also will provide an important connector for emergency vehicles between east and west Englewood MetroParks. The project has been awarded $2.2 million in federal funding with Englewood, Five Rivers Metro Parks, and Butler Township to share in the remaining $1 million in cost. Target date for construction is 2020.
The old covered bridge was built sometime after 1838 (probably in the 1850s) when the National Road was extended into Montgomery County. That bridge facilitated the flow of settlers, wagons, and livestock headed west. The “old wooden bridge” is memorialized in many iconic photographs taken by Englewood photographer Edwin C. Sinks during the early 1900s.
The black and white photo accompanying this article shows one of these Sinks’ photos.
Amazingly, the old wooden bridge survived the 1913 flood and continued in local use after the Englewood Dam was completed in December 1922.
During periods of heavy rains, backwaters from the dam would inundate the covered bridge. This caused concerns that the bridge might float away. In order to keep the bridge in place during these situations, steel cables were installed to tie down the deck of the bridge to the stone abutments that supported it. This is a concern that must be addressed in the replica covered bridge as well. The old covered bridge eventually fell into disrepair and was dismantled in the late 1920s or early 1930s.
The public is invited to attend this free event, learn the current status of the replica bridge project, and ask questions. The three historical societies also will have tables set up with informational materials. Call 832-1858 for more details.