Johnston Covered Bridge - Drive-by Bonus
Johnston Covered Bridge
7636 Clearcreek Road, SW
Lancaster, OH 43130
“The journey is the Destination.” ― Dan Eldon
Ohio is known for its covered bridges. At one point in time, Fairfield County had 279 timber truss bridges. This was more than any other county. Sadly, most of these no longer exist.
Preservation of Covered Bridges
Thanks to conservation efforts some of these bridges still survive. Many have been moved to private properties. Others are cared for by local parks departments. The Fairfield County Park District currently has eight original bridges. Of those, 5 are open to the public.
The bridges are:
· Hannaway Covered Bridge (Open to the Public)
· Hartman No. 2 Covered Bridge (Open to the Public)
· Hummel Covered Bridge (Park is still under development as of 04/19/20)
· Johnson Covered Bridge aka Johnston Covered Bridge (Open to the Public)
· Mink Hollow Covered Bridge (Open to the Public)
· Rock Mill Covered Bridge (Open to the Public)
· Roley School Covered Bridge (Currently in Storage)
· Shade Covered Bridge (Park is still under development as of April 2020)
Why Were Bridges Covered?
Covered bridges were designed with roofs for practical and structural purposes. Having a roof kept the elements off the deck and trusses. Snow, rain, sun and wind can cause damage to the wood. Having a protective covering allowed these bridges to last longer.
Another reason why bridges were covered was for strength. Adding a covering to the trusses makes the bridge stronger. This allowed for the designers and builders to erect longer bridges.
The Johnston Covered Bridge in Fairfield County
The Johnston Covered Bridge is also referred to as the Johnson Covered bridge. Before the park was changed to Two Glaciers Park, it was called Johnston Park. That is Johnston with a T. For some reason nobody can agree on the name. There is a picture on Flickr by Dan Stiver that shows the old sign. You can check it out HERE.
It still sits in its original location on the original abutments. It was built in 1887 by August Borneman and Hocking Valley Bridge Works. It is 99 feet long, with an additional 5’ overhang on each end. It stands 14’ tall.
This Ohio covered bridge remained in service for many years. It was finally put out of service around 1990. Clearcreek road now bypasses the bridge. Johnston Covered Bridge was restored in 1996.
Two Glaciers Park
The Johnson Covered Bridge is located at the entrance of Two Glaciers Park. This park consists of 316+ acres. It is still under development, but visitors are welcome. The bridge is open to public viewing.
The Weeping Lady
Legend has it that the Johnston Covered bridge is haunted. A weeping woman can be seen packing the deck or peering out of one end. It is as though she is waiting for someone. She will beckon to passersby trying to get them to stop.
There are two stories about whom this woman was and why she now haunts the covered bridge.
· The First Story
The first legend states that the woman was hated by her own husband. He was having an affair and treated her terribly. She confronted him, and he told her that he was leaving her for the other woman. Upset, she left their home and ended up at the bridge. One version says that she threw herself into the water. Another states that she hung herself from the bridge supports. She allegedly used a piece of her clothing to form the noose.
· The Second Story
The second legend states that the woman fell off the bridge. She got off her buggy to guide her horses across the bridge during a fierce storm. She stumbled after the horses had made it through the bridge. As she stumbled, she lost her footing and fell into the rapidly flowing water of Clear Creek.
· The Lights
People have reported that they see lights at the opposite end of the bridge. When the bridge was still in use, if you tried to cross you would experience strange issues. Drivers reported electrical issues, mechanical malfunctions and steering problems.
What You Can Expect at Johnston Covered Bridge
Please note that park rules and regulations can change at any time. The following information was in effect for Stonewall Cemetery Park as of April 2020.
There are NO bathrooms.
Once Two Glaciers Park is completed it may be a good area for bird watching.
Concealed carry is permitted.
Pets are permitted if they have a valid registration tag and are under physical control of the owner. Leash cannot be more than six feet long.
Blacktop from parking area to the bridge. You must walk up a small embankment to get onto the bridge.
Blacktop parking areas. Parking lot has 5 spots for regular vehicles and one spot for bus parking. There is one ADA space.
There are 2 picnic tables.
There are two benches overlooking Clear Creek.
There is plenty of shade over the parking area. The bridge has no shade.
No shelter house.
At this time there are no trails. Two Glaciers Park is still under construction. When finished, the trail will connect the Johnston Covered Bridge to the Hannaway Covered Bridge.
There is one ADA parking parking spot.
Bridge may be reserved for small gatherings and ceremonies. No more than 50 people. Find out more here.