Bridge Builders Biography Chapter 1
Early settler and surveyor Lucas Sullivant built the first bridge in Franklin County over the Scioto River in 1816, just south of present day Broad Street. As the founder of the community of Franklinton, on the west bank, he strove to meet the growing transportation needs of the area’s 700 residents that had relied solely on ferry service to cross the river. The wooden, open-deck, toll bridge was widely used except on Sundays when travel was limited to those attending church and family gatherings.
Upon Sullivant’s death in 1823, son Joseph inherited the aging bridge and oversaw its reconstruction and eventual sale for $10,000 to make way for the federally built National Road (Main Street, High Street, and Broad Street) through Franklin County.
The new National Road crossing, completed in 1834, was a Town’s lattice truss covered bridge. The 340-foot long wooden structure was supported by a single river pier and abutments at each end, all built with locally quarried stone. Oak pegs were used in the superstructure instead of nails.
The popular toll-free bridge withstood the wear and tear of cattle drives, heavy wagons, and flooding until it was replaced in 1882.