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 of various goods supporting the oil industry, including nitroglycerine, used for shooting wells. Pre-dating the automobile, this bridge continued to serve the community until its permanent closure in 1982; the wooden decking was removed about 25 years later. The bridge features a Keystone style top chord column, the most common style of top chord that the company used, and the top plate still bears the inscription of the company, along with the date 1870 (some sources say 1873), which may indicate the year of the bowstring truss design patent. HistoricBridges.org states, “Despite this level of rarity that makes this bridge more significant than any wooden covered bridge, the Messerall Road Bridge sits abandoned, with its deck removed, just waiting for an abutment to fail or a bad spring food to send this priceless bridge crashing into the creek.” HistoricBridges.org gives the Messerall Road Bridge a Historic Significance Rating of 9 out of 10 on both the local and national level.
We recently did a flyover of the Messerall Road Bridge. Enjoy!