Zeller-Smith Covered Bridge - Drive-by-Bonus
In the end, our society will be defined not only by what we create, but by what we refuse to destroy. ~John Sawhill
The Zeller-Smith covered bridge was built in 1906, by J.W. Buchanan. It was originally located on Busey Road in Pickerington. In 1985, the bridge was damaged by an overweight truck and had to be closed.
In 1986, the village of Pickerington offered land to house the bridge. They held a “Save the Covered Bridge Rally” on Aug 25, 1986 to raise the needed funds to move and renovate the Zeller-Smith Covered Bridge.
Along with the funds raised by the rally an additional $14,500 was raised by the Village of Pickerington, the Fairfield County Engineer’s Office, Violet Township, Fairfield County Covered Bridge Association, and local residents.
The historical Fairfield County, Ohio covered bridge was moved from its original foundation on September 7, 1986. It was dedicated on September 7, 1987.
Zeller-Smith Covered Bridge Facts:
· 79 feet total length
· 73 feet span
· Was originally Kingpost style and was changed to Queenspost during reconstruction
· Built in 1906
· Moved in 1986
· Dedicated in 1987
· Is the gateway to Sycamore Park Arboretum
· Builder was J.W. Buchanan
Why Bridges Used to be 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.
Fairfield County Ohio Covered Bridge Trail
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.
It is estimated that there are still 125 wooded covered bridges left in the state. Many of them have been relocated to private properties. Others are cared for by local parks departments. Out of the 125, 17 of these are in Fairfield County.
The 17 bridges are:
· Charles Holliday Bridge (Millersport Kiwanis Sweet Corn Festival grounds)
· Estate Bridge (Still open to vehicular traffic)
· George Hutchins Bridge (Alley Park)
· Hannaway Bridge aka Hanaway Bridge (Two Glaciers Park)
· Hartman #2 Bridge (Lockville Canal Park)
· Hizey Bridge (Private Property)
· John Bright #2 Bridge (Ohio University Lancaster)
· Johnston Bridge (Two Glaciers Park)
· Jon Raab Bridge (Private Property)
· Mink Hollow Bridge (Arney Run Park)
· R.F. Baker Bridge (Fairfield Union School)
· Rock Mill Bridge (Rock Mill Park)
· Shreyer Bridge (Private Property)
· Zeller-Smith Bridge (Sycamore Creek Park)
A map to these bridges can be found HERE.
If you are interested in visiting all the covered bridges in Fairfield County, keep an eye on the Visit Fairfield County website. Covered Bridge tours are very popular. There is usually a guided bus tour every year. We have also heard people talk about motorcycle tours and cyclist tours.
Sycamore Creek Park
The Zeller-Smith Bridge is located in Sycamore Creek Park. The park is large and has soccer fields, softball fields, a skate park, tennis courts, basketball court, playground, obstacle course, amphitheater, covered bridge, 2.3 acre pond, and an arboretum with a walking trail.
There are several different parking lots. The closest lot to the covered bridge is accessible from Lockville Road.
What You Can Expect at the Zeller-Smith Covered Bridge
Please note that trail rules and regulations can change at any time. The following information was in effect for Zeller-Smith Covered Bridge as of May 2020.
Restrooms are available April 1 - October 31.
The park has a lot of wide open spaces. We didn't see many birds flying around. However, the arboretum is full of trees and shade. There were several birds in that area.
Concealed carry is not addressed in their rules and regulation.
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.
Little to no elevation change.
Several different parking lots.
There are picnic tables.
There are benches spread throughout the park. There is a bench next to the bridge on the arboretum side.
There is sun and shade.
There are 2 shelter houses in Sycamore Creek Park.
There are a few separate trails throughout the park.
There are trashcans available.
The park has several different parking lots. There are ADA parking spots available.
Special Features - Historical Covered Bridge with Arboretum.