Activity Spotlight – Covered Bridges

In the Activity Spotlight we highlight some of the many great activities available within a short drive from Ravenwood Castle.

Covered bridges were once a vital piece of transportation for horse drawn carriages.  More than 12,000 covered bridges once dotted the American landscape, with approximately 3,500 right here in Ohio.

You may be wondering why the builders chose to cover their bridges. By covering them, the bridges would last a much longer time than if they were exposed to the elements. Covering the bridges also shielded crossing horses from the running water below, which kept more skittish horses from being spooked.

As sturdier building materials became more widely available and horse drawn carriages were replaced by automobiles, the need to cover bridges became a thing of the past. As a result, the once commonplace covered bridges have become more difficult to find, and have even become a bit of a tourist attraction.

Luckily, if you’re interested in these historic bridges, there are several located right here in the Hocking Hills! Here are just a few of the bridges located within a short driving distance of Ravenwood Castle:

Arbaugh Bridge

The Arbaugh bridge was built in 1871, making it the oldest bridge in Vinton County! It is 111 feet long, and cost a whopping $800 to build! It is the only covered bridge in Vinton County that you can drive through.

Bay Bridge

The Bay Bridge is 63 feet in length and was constructed in 1886.  Originally built over Little Raccoon Creek, it was relocated in 1966 to the Vinton County Fairgrounds.  Visitors to the fair are able to use the bridge as they walk around the grounds. It is also visible from State Route 93.

Cox Bridge

The Cox Bridge is another bridge that was also moved from its original location, though this one was only moved about ten feet to make way for a new bridge.  It was built in 1884 over Brushy Fork Creek and is 40 feet in length.  Thanks to a grant the bridge was restored in 2004.  It is a great place to stop to have a picnic and is open to for pedestrian traffic.

Mount Olive Bridge

The Mount Olive Bridge is 48 feet long and was built by Civil War veteran George Washington Pilcher in 1875.  The Mount Olive bridge was used heavily by travelers as it was located on a main road between Marietta and Chillicothe.

Ponn Bridge – Burned in 2013

The Ponn Bridge was built in 1874, and at 164 feet in length was the longest in the county.  This bridge was best known as the humpback bridge due to its unique shape.  Unfortunately the Ponn Bridge was destroyed by an act of arson in June 2013 and all that remains are the impressive sandstone abutments.


Jim Reed

Jim Reed

Jim Reed is a lifelong gamer who started with the original red box Dungeons & Dragons. After spending 20 years in the corporate world, he decided it was high time that work be fun and struck out on his own. Jim now owns and operates Ravenwood Castle and The Malted Meeple, and spends his days ensuring his guests have as much fun as he does.