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Project seeks to restore historic covered bridge in Germantown

An historic, wooden bridge rests above the water in Germantown Ohio.
The Ohio Department of Transportation
The Ohio Department of Transportation
The historic covered bridge in Germantown needs work to be preserved.

The village of Germantown is working to restore a historic covered bridge in town.

Built in 1865, the East Center Street bridge suffered severe damage after a vehicle collided with an exposed corner post in the 1970s.

After years of additional wear and tear, the mostly wooden bridge needs updates to its structure and hardware. With the right care, it could be eligible again for the National Register of Historic Places.

The project is expected to begin in the spring of 2026.

The bridge was designed by David H. Morrison, using a suspension truss design. These kind of bridges use both suspension cables and a series of individual members which work together as a unit using tension or compression to hold the bridge up.

The Germantown bridge, which crosses Little Twin Creek, was once on the National Register of Historic Places before it was damaged decades ago.

After the car crash in the '70s, community members came together to rebuild the structure.

While the town was able to rebuild the bridge, it was no longer considered a historic site, said David Simmons, a retired historian of the Ohio Historical Society and an officer of the Ohio Historic Bridge Association.

“So the community pulled together and basically fished the parts out of the creek and rebuilt it," he said. "But because they didn'tdocument exactly what they did adequately, the state then said, ‘Well, you got to take it off the National Register.’”

The town is working to reinstate the bridge’s historic status in addition to restoring it, he said.

 “So that's their goal is to to restore it, make sure it lasts for another 100 years,” Simmons said.

The project is still in the development phase and is expected to begin in spring of 2026. The project will be built with a mix of federal and local funds, costing an estimated $781,000, according to the Ohio Department of Transportation.

The bridge is no longer open to vehicle traffic but visitors can walk to visit the wooden structure from nearby parking.

Community members have until April 30 to submit any comments on the project to ODOT.

Shay Frank was born and raised in Dayton, Ohio. Before working at WYSO, Shay worked as the Arts Writer for the Blade Newspaper in Toledo, Ohio. In addition to working at the paper, she worked as a freelancer for WYSO for three years and served as the vice president of the Toledo News Guild. Now located back in the Dayton area, Shay is thrilled to be working with the team at WYSO and reporting for her hometown community.