The sun was beginning rise to its place in the sky as I crossed the state line into Ohio, journeying westward on Ohio Route 322. My plan for the day was to photograph as many of Ashtabula County’s nineteen covered bridges as I could, though to visit them all in a single day is a near impossible task, especially if you want to spend any time exploring them.
But I was going to try to visit as many of them as I could.
I arrived at the collection of buildings known as Windsor Mills, located in the southwestern corner of the county, and turned onto Warner Hollow Road. The covered bridge was immediately in front of me. Warner Hollow Road turns sharply to the left before the bridge and I continued straight onto Covered Bridge Lane and immediately into the covered bridge itself. With no obvious parking on the northern side of the bridge, I passed through and found an area to park near the southern entrance to the bridge.
Getting out of the vehicle, I was taken in by the light hitting the yellow sides of the bridge. In the early morning light, the bridge appeared to glow.
The Windsor Mills Covered Bridge spans the gorge created by Phelps Creek and is also known as Wiswell Road Covered Bridge – Wiswell Road was the former name of Covered Bridge Road – and Warner Hollow Covered Bridge. The bridge has a length of one hundred and twenty feet and rests upon the support of two piers over the rocky ravine created by the creek far below.
Windsor Mills Covered Bridge was originally built in 1867 with three spans and a Town, or Town’s Lattice, Truss. This type of bridge uses lattice work for the sides of the bridge and usually rests upon a number of pillars due to lacking the interior arches many covered bridges have for support. The Windsor Mills Covered Bridge still has the Town Truss on the interior, but now has wooden planks on the exterior of the bridge as a means of protecting the floor from the elements.
The covered bridge ties the Mechanicsville Covered Bridge as the oldest standing covered bridge in Ashtabula County. The covered bridge was one of three that existed near Windsor Mills and is the only one that remains, although it too almost became a victim of time. The deteriorating bridge caused Wiswell Road to be rerouted in the late 1960s/early 1970s due to the bridge’s integrity. At the time the road was rerouted, the bridge remained open, but only for pedestrian traffic. The Windsor Mills Covered Bridge was placed on the National Register of Historical Places in April 1973 and in the 1980s the bridge was closed to all traffic. In 2002 the bridge was restored and was reopened to all traffic in 2004.
After taking a number of pictures, I left the beautiful bridge standing guard over the silence of Warner Hollow in search of the other covered bridges in the region.
Note: Although this is the only covered bridge remaining in Windsor Mills, it was not the only one in the immediate area, as two others existed nearby. The Alderman School Covered Bridge also spanned Phelps Creek, just west of Windsor Mills. Little is known about it, having been built around 1868 and survived until the 1890s.
The Hollow Road/South Windsor Road Covered Bridge, located a short drive east of here, once spanned the Grand River near the Ashtabula and Trumbull County line. Built in 1870, it fell victim to arson in 1970 and was replaced by a modern bridge.