Hidden Gems of Fairfield County – Part 1

Being a life long resident of Fairfield County, I have fallen in love with many of the things in the county that make up the amazing history of our county and make living here so great. So in this series, we will explore some of the hidden landmarks, places and things in Fairfield County that are definitely worth your time to visit and explore.

Our first one is the Roley School House Covered Bridge. If you’re at all familiar with Fairfield County or Ohio, you know we have a lot of covered bridges and we like to preserve them. I have not seen any that are actually still in use since about 2003 when the Rockmill Covered Bridge was taken out of service. Many other bridges are still in their original locations all around Ohio with their old roads bypassing them now.

I bring up the Roley School House Bridge now though because of recent events regarding the bridge. Most people may know the Roley School House Bridge as the randomly placed covered bridge at the entrance to the Fairfield County Fairgrounds.

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Roley School House Bridge in its original location.

Built in 1899, the Roley School House Covered Bridge was originally built overtop the Ohio Canal just north of Baltimore, Ohio here in Fairfield County. And was moved next to the Roley School House in 1916.

The 48 foot span was open to traffic until 1972 when it was moved to the Fairfield County Fairgrounds. The bridge was built using a multiple kingspost truss system. For those not familiar with bridge truss systems, the kingspost system is generally one vertical post in the center of the span with two diaganals on either side of the vertical beam. That vertical beam is called a kingspost. A multiple kingspost truss bridge is then a bridge with multiple vertical beams creating a 90 degree angle with the bottom span and then diagonal beams beside each vertical beam or kingspost. The type of span was typically used for bridges spanning greater than 30 feet and less than one hundred feet.

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The bridge at the Fairfield County Fairgrounds.

The bridge stood at the Fairfield County Fairgrounds until just recently in 2016 when it collapsed due to high winds. The County Fairgrounds and Fairfield County Historical Parks have been attempting to figure out what to do with the bridge now that it has collapsed. The bridge was recently disassembled and moved to another location until it can be reassembled somewhere else.

While the majority of us reading this article are familiar with this bridge, it will be sad going to the 2016 Fairfield County Fair and not seeing this Fairfield County landmark. I hope to see it assembled somewhere else soon so everyone has a chance to visit it again!

Sources:

http://bridgehunter.com/oh/fairfield/bh59600/

http://www.tbcbspa.com/trusses.htm

http://www.lancastereaglegazette.com/story/news/local/2016/04/04/covered-bridge-collapses-windstorm/82606718/

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