“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Eldean in Miami County, Ohio — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)

Eldean Covered Bridge

Eldean Covered Bridge Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Doda, September 14, 2019
1. Eldean Covered Bridge Marker
Eldean Bridge is the only covered bridge left of about 30 that once crossed Miami County streams. The bridge, built in 1860, is one of Ohio's oldest. With a deck length of 222 feet, it is also the state's second longest covered bridge.

Early farmers used the bridge to carry grain to Allen's Mill, later called the Eldean Mill, which stood west of the bridge. The bridge carried Eldean Road until bypassed in 1963.

In 1860 the Miami County Commissioners hired brothers James & William Hamilton to build the bridge. They were paid $1,337 to build the stone substructure, and $2,632 to build the wooden spans.

The Commissioners specified that a Long Truss be used to support the bridge, so named for its inventor Stephen Long, rather than for the span's great length. Eldean Bridge is the longest Long Truss in existence. Its timbers are white pine, a light but reasonably strong species not native to the area. The timbers were cut in Michigan and floated to the site via the Miami & Erie Canal, which passed nearby. Stones for the abutments and pier probably came from a quarry the Hamiltons owned near Piqua.


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the years decayed timbers have been reinforced and the bridge was raised 15” to better clear floods. Yet the bridge's appearance and structural behavior have changed little from when it was built, and Eldean Bridge is now one of the finest surviving examples of Stephen Long's invention.

A portion of Long's 1830 patent. Eldean Bridge follows this patent closely, although the bridge never had the props under the ends or the midspan peak shown here.

Colonel Stephen H. Long, Explorer, Engineer

Stephen Long was a man of many accomplishments. He led the country's third great exploration party west of the Mississippi (following those of Lewis & Clark and Zebulon Pike). Long's Peak in Colorado, 14,255' high, is named for him. Long also explored Minnesota in 1817, and surveyed its boundary with Canada. He helped design the nation's first railroads (1827-39) and developed their initial engineering standards. In 1830 he patented the nation's first scientifically designed bridge truss. Col. Long also taught at West Point and commanded the Corps of Topographical Engineers.

The Long Patent Truss

Stephen Long's railroad work in the 1820's fueled his interest in creating strong yet economical bridges. His invention, the Long Truss, was the first patented truss to consist of a series of large rectangular bays or panels crisscrossed by

Eldean Covered Bridge Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Doda, September 14, 2019
2. Eldean Covered Bridge Marker
diagonal timbers to give rigidity. Connections were tightened by driving wedges at the ends of certain timbers. Long was unable to calculate the stresses in the timbers, but he understood each member's function. The form he developed was so practical that it has been the basis for countless variations and improvements since. The much more common Howe Truss is simply a Long Truss that uses iron rods instead of timbers for the vertical members.

Eldean Bridge was repaired and restored in 2005 by Miami County, with funding from the Federal Highway Administration's National Historic Covered Bridge Preservation Program and Transportation Enhancement Program, combined with local bridge funds.

Miami County Engineer:
Douglas L. Christian, P.E., P.S.
Restoration Designer:
J. A. Barker Engineering, Inc., Bloomington, IN
Restoration Contractor:
The Righter Company, Inc. Columbus, Ohio
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Bridges & Viaducts. In addition, it is included in the Covered Bridges, and the The Miami & Erie Canal series lists. A significant historical year for this entry is 1860.
Location. 40° 4.68′ N, 84° 13.018′ W. Marker is in Eldean, Ohio, in Miami County. Marker is on Eldean Road (County Road 33) 0.1 miles County Road 25A, on the right when traveling

Eldean Covered Bridge Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Doda, September 14, 2019
3. Eldean Covered Bridge Marker
east. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 633 Eldean Rd, Troy OH 45373, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. A different marker also named Eldean Covered Bridge (a few steps from this marker); The Eldean Bridge (within shouting distance of this marker); Twin Arch Stone Culvert (approx. ¾ mile away); Historic Lock 12 (approx. 2.1 miles away); Hobart Brothers Company (approx. 2.1 miles away); Miami and Erie Canal (approx. 2.1 miles away); Troy Civil War Monument (approx. 2.1 miles away); Troy Veterans Memorial (approx. 2.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Eldean.
Also see . . .  Eldean Covered Bridge. (Submitted on February 13, 2021, by Craig Doda of Napoleon, Ohio.)
Eldean Covered Bridge Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Doda, September 14, 2019
4. Eldean Covered Bridge Marker
Credits. This page was last revised on February 13, 2021. It was originally submitted on February 13, 2021, by Craig Doda of Napoleon, Ohio. This page has been viewed 133 times since then and 33 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on February 13, 2021, by Craig Doda of Napoleon, Ohio. • Devry Becker Jones was the editor who published this page.

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Sep. 27, 2023