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Bluffton's pre-1900 romantic spot

During its lifetime, its traffic included pedestrians, horse and buggies, cattle and the earliest of motorized vehicles all the way to those with heavy chrome and V-8 engines.

This is one of Bluffton’s earliest bridges, with a construction date prior to 1880.


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MORE PHOTOS BELOW - During its lifetime, its traffic included pedestrians, horse and buggies, cattle and the earliest of motorized vehicles all the way to those with heavy chrome and V-8 engines.


Can you place its location? It was Bluffton's pre-1900 place for romance.


The one-lane structure crossed Little Riley Creek on Riley Street near the junction between the Little Riley and Big Riley. When Riley Street was widened in the early 1960s the bridge became a victim of progress.


Arch bridge prior to its demolition

Thinking further, if you can image Bluffton in the 1880s, this bridge crossed a stream at the extreme northwestern edge of the village with farmland on the other side.


We understand it was a popular spot for young couples to spend time together, based on its remote location.


Paul Diller took this photo shortly before the bridge was removed. He stood in what today is a section of housing units of Mennonite Home Communities of Ohio.


The limestone used to construct this bridge may have come right out of the creek bed or from the Buckeye quarry nearby.


An 1880 map shows Bluffton’s bridges crossing the Riley’s in four locations: • arch bridge • Main Street near the swimming pool • Cherry Street near the Railroad • Blanchard Avenue (today called East College Avenue) near Harmon Field.


The bridges crossing the Riley’s today that did not exist in 1880 include: • Jefferson Street-State Route 103 • West Elm Street between Spring and MHCO • West College on Bluffton University campus

• Spring Street near the Buckeye

• Our 1880 Bluffton map does extend to what is today Kibler-Grove intersection and Bentley Road, so we are not aware when those two bridges were constructed.


Colorized post card from early 1900s

A news item from the Sept. 15, 1904, Bluffton News shares information about a new bridge being erected on “the Studler road, near the end of Riley Street.” We have no map or historic knowledge of any road with the name Studler.


The 1904 story follows:


With the completion of the abutments, a new bridge will be erected on the Studler road, near the end of Riley street, Bluffton will be noted as a village of bridges, no less than ten of these structures crossing the Little Riley in the corporate limit.


Today's bridge


Arch bridge prior to its demolition

Colorized post card



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