Blackburn/Wesner Covered Bridge 35-25-65. This covered bridge was also known as the Frank Blackburn, the Brannon Fork, and the Muskingum County Number 28 Covered Bridge. This covered bridge once stood over Brannon Fork in Muskingum County, Meigs Township, Section 36 on Township Road 221 at a point approximately two miles southeast of Young Hickory, Ohio.
The area that this bridge was located was strip mined in the early 1960’s. In 1964, the Muskingum County Commissioners sold the bridge to a group of Zainesville conservationists called themselves the “Old Wheels Club.” Due to a series of complications, including the loss of the bridges plans and the diagrams in a fire the “Old Wheels Club” did not rebuild the bridge.
In the Spring of 1967, Arthur G. Wesner purchased the bridge in an “as is” condition. The bridge pieces were then transferred by rented trailers and borrowed trucks from Muskingum County to it’s present site at Big Run. The large stone blocks weighing three to four tons each situated on the north bank are abutment stones.
The abutment stones came from Fayette County where the Yankeetown Covered Bridge once stood but vandals burned the bridge down on halloween in 1966. The Yankeetown Covered bridge was south of Washington Court House and this area is now underwater by virtue of the Deer Creek Conservation Dam Project. The only parts of this bridge that are not original are the upper and lower chords, some sections of siding & the metal roofing.
The Blackburn/Wesner Covered Bridge was built around 1885, is 55 feet long and has a Queenspost Truss. Mr. Wesner spent $1300.00 for this covered bridge and that does not include the labor in assembling the bridge; 75% of the labor was all volunteer.
In 1998, Big Run was flooded over it’s banks and the covered bridge was washed off the abutments. Attorney Wesner donated the covered bridge to the Franklin County Metro Parks District. I spoke with Steve Brown of Metro Parks and Steve told me that the Bridge was moved in very large pieces. The covered bridge had two sections taken out approximately 16 feet to fit in it’s present location in Slate Run Metro Park. The cost in transferring and resurrecting the covered bridge cost were $43,000.00. At Slate Run this covered bridge is located on Shagbark Trail. Shag Bark Trail is a nature walk where a person may take there leashed animals and go for a walk. The covered bridge is on this trail and spans the spillway over flow of Buzzard Roost Lake.
Directions: Madison Township, Franklin County SE on US 33 to SR 674 south, six and one quarter miles south to Slate Run Metro Park, turn left.