LANCASTER – A dedication ceremony will be held Friday, July 11, for a new Ohio Historical Marker for the John Bright Number 2 Covered Bridge on the Ohio University Lancaster Campus.
The bridge, which is listed on the U.S. Parks Department’s Registry of Historic Places, was built in 1881 and has a rare reverse bowstring style truss. It originally spanned Poplar Creek near Carroll but was relocated to the Lancaster campus for preservation in April 1988.
The Ohio Historical Markers program, begun in the 1950s, encompasses close to 1,400 unique markers that tell the state’s history as written by its communities. Markers are erected by local community sponsors in partnership with the Ohio History Connection and describe the people, places, things, and events of Ohio’s past. Between 20 and 30 new markers are completed each year.
OUL Assistant Professor of American History Mark Nevin was asked by the campus dean, Dr. Jim Smith, to consider research on the bridge and to assist the campus in submitting an application for the historical marker.
“The bridge is a significant part of Lancaster history and campus history,” Smith said. “I felt the historical value of the bridge itself and the history of what brought the bridge to the campus need to be told and preserved. I am very pleased that the Ohio Historical Society approved our application.”
To celebrate the bridge and its history, a video presentation and panel discussion about the bridge will be held from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. in the Raymond S. Wilkes Gallery for the Visual Arts. The video will chronicle how the bridge was moved to OUL and restored in 1988. The panel, which will include Professor Nevin; David Simmons, President of the Ohio Historic Bridge Association; and Hal Nihiser, former Director of the OUL Physical Plant, will examine the history and significance of the bridge.
After a small reception, the celebration will move outside and the dedication of the new marker will be held at 5 p.m. Several local and state officials will be on hand for the event, as well as the family of former Lancaster Campus Dean Ray Wilkes. Wilkes was instrumental in bringing the bridge to campus.
The event is free and open to the public.