The Messerall Road Bridge

During the peak of the world’s first oil boom, in 1876, the Wrought Iron Bridge Company of Canton, Ohio built this prefab bowstring truss bridge over Pine Creek in East Titusville, Pennsylvania. At a length of 103 feet and a width of 14.8 feet, the Messerall Road Bridge played a key role in the transportation…

The Franklin Reservoir

Franklin, Pennsylvania, the county seat of Venango County, holds an important place in American history. An early frontier village of commerce and location of fortifications from the English, the French, and eventually Americans, the city itself had become established long before the oil boom of the second half of the 19th Century boosted its population….

Victory Furnace

(This is the second installment of the Venango County, Pennsylvania Iron Furnaces.) The Victory Furnace is perhaps the best-preserved of all of the Venango County furnaces, of which the remains of 22 can still be found. This furnace, located along Victory Run in Victory Township, was built by Andrew Bonner in 1843. Owners of the…

The Bridge to Nowhere

One of my regular haunts is the Outer Banks of North Carolina, particularly Hatteras Island. I first discovered Hatteras at the tender age of 18 months, arriving on-island via the shallow-draft ferry that precluded the now-obsolete Herbert C. Bonner Bridge, which was┬ácompleted in 1962. The drive down Hatteras Island follows one route, Highway 12, the…

The Rockland Tunnel

Constructed in 1913, the Rockland Tunnel serves as a shortcut around the historically treacherous Wood Hill Mountain loop and passes through what was once a busy village named Rockland Station. The tunnel is 2,865 feet long and is now part of the Allegheny River Recreational Trail in Rockland Township, Pennsylvania, about 21 miles south of…

Rockland Furnace

Way off the beaten path in Venango County, Pennsylvania, off State Route 322, down Rockland Road, and along Rockland Station Road, lies this old forgotten iron furnace. During the 1830s, northwestern Pennsylvania, and Venango County in particular, was in a bit of an iron boom. The three ingredients necessary for the production of pig iron,…

The Church At Jamison’s Corners

Sitting at the corner of Shreve Road and Turkey Farm Road in Venango County, Pennsylvania, this old abandoned church lies in state. Thanks to the contributions of Rev. John Miner Critchlow, construction of the church was completed in 1891, which resulted in it being named “Critchlow Memorial Church.” Originally used by the Free Methodist congregation,…

Highway 301, Part III

Rainforest Park About 20 miles south of Ocala, Florida, along Highway 301, lies the little crossroads town of Sumterville. From 1963 to 1967, Sumterville was the home of an interesting park called Rainforest Art Garden and Dinosaur Jungle. The park officially opened in June of 1963, and covered 205 acres which included a small lake…

Highway 301, Part II

Olar Along Route 321, a spur of 301 in South Carolina, south of the little Scandinavian-themed towns of Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, lies the little ghost town of Olar. While Olar still boasts a population of 237 people, its “downtown” section is virtually deserted. But this little southern town located along what is historically known…