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Historic Blaine S Bridge gets bulletin board

T-L Photo/SHELLEY HANSON SHOWN HERE is the historic S Bridge in Blaine.

BLAINE — A new bulletin board chock full of photos and historical information is now standing near the S Bridge in Blaine.

It was recently installed by Pease Township Park District members. Stephanie Jennette, a Pease Township Park District commissioner, said she wanted to have the display installed before she steps down from the district board at the end of this year.

She said her husband, Jeff Jennette, did the woodworking to make the bulletin board. It contains copies of a variety of photos donated by people who live in the area and some members of the board.

“There are pictures of it from way back when the bridge was being made,” she said. “It goes all the way from when horses went over it. There’s a lot of history with it.”

Jennette said the commissioners also would like to install some sort of covered shelf to contain brochures about the bridge that people could use while visiting the span and to also take with them.

“We want to put brochures there … but we don’t want them to get wet or fly away,” she added.

Jennette said while she was installing the bulletin board with her husband, a neighbor came out to talk with them about the bridge. The neighbor relayed that there are a surprising number of people who stop to check out the historic bridge.

Still, Jennette wants more people and children to see it and learn about it.

It was constructed in 1828, but some may be unaware it is there because of its location — hidden off National Road beside the much larger and taller Blaine Hill Viaduct.

“We want to let people know it’s here, that there’s history there,” she said.

Last school year, a couple groups of students from Bridgeport Elementary toured the span and had a good time learning about it, she noted. Many did not know it existed until the field trip.

“It made my day and made it worth it,” she said of the students’ visits.

The bridge is situated on one of the original sections of National Road that has since closed. Restoration of the bridge took about five years and was completed in 2005. Since then the site has been used for picnics, a background for senior portraits, engagement pictures and has even been used for wedding ceremonies.

The S Bridge is a Roman-style stone bridge. It is 345 feet long and has three arches; one is 25 feet in length, another 35 feet and the third is 45 feet long. It was designed with an S shape so it could withstand Wheeling Creek’s currents. During a 2004 flood, water hit the arches’ tops, but the bridge did not fail, according to information provided by Jennette.

The Blaine Bridge Community Preservation Project kicked off following repairs to the largest arch, which collapsed in 1998. Full restoration of the entire bridge was finished in 2005.

The bridge can be reached by taking National Road to Pasco Road in Blaine; that access is right beside the bottom of the Blaine Viaduct.

In addition to Jennette, other board members include Nancy Loston, Kim Polomik and fiscal officer Stacey Oliver. Bridgeport resident Holly Janiszewski also was integral to printing the photo collage for the bulletin board.

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