A large group gathered Saturday afternoon at the newly restored Heritage Park Covered Bridge at the Noble County Fairgrounds for a ribbon cutting and rededication of the bridge, which has stood in its present location for 51 years, although it is believed to have been built in the 1890s. Noble County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Allen Fraley praised the efforts of the Noble County Historical Society in restoring the bridge, which was recently found to be leaning to one side, unsafe and in danger of needing to be demolished. Historical Society President Jeff Minosky led the efforts to raise money to restore the structure, and located the company which did the work, Hocking Hills Construction out of Nelsonville, Ohio.
“I’d like to express thanks to the historical society for maintaining the Heritage Park buildings and the bridge,” Fraley said. “They add to what tourists who come to Noble County can see here, and we are grateful for all the work the historical society has done.”
Minosky thanked a number of businesses and individuals who helped raise the necessary funds to restore the bridge. “It isn’t easy to find someone with covered bridge experience,” Minosky said, thanking Steve Heskett and his company, Hocking Hills Construction, for their work on the project. “The bridge has stood here for 51 years, since it was moved here. Heskett and his crew have made it possible to preserve a bridge from the past, and to build a bridge to the future, as the bridge is a staging area for life events such as marriages and photographs. So we’re saving old memories and we’ll be making new ones.”
First over the bridge, which will not be open to vehicular traffic, was Rodney Bettinger on her 1948 Formall Cub tractor, purchased new in Caldwell more than half a century ago. Pictured here at the moment of the ribbon cutting are: Isaiah Rutter of Hocking Hills Construction, Noble County Engineer Todd Coss, whose advice and insight were instrumental in moving forward with the project, Allen Fraley, Rodney Bettinger on the tractor, Jeff Minosky wielding the scissors, Steve Heskett, seated, and three young people dressed in period costume for the Old Iron Power Show and Appalachian Hills Folk Festival, Ethyn Cole, Ella Butcher and Rebecca Overly.
A plaque commemorating the restoration of the Heritage Park Covered Bridge was presented by Jeff Minosky to Steve Heskett after the ribbon cutting. Pictured here left to right are Jeff Minosky, Steve Heskett, seated, Isaiah Rutter, and behind them Rebecca Overly, Ethyn Cole and Ella Butcher.