We are all guilty of not taking the time to see the sights that are so close to home, as if the further we travel, the better they will be. The older I get, the more I realize this isn’t true.
My family has been spending time in Harrison County my entire life, but it wasn’t until one day with not much to do that I loaded my children up in the car in search for some local landmarks that we have never taken the time to see.
The first bit of history is the Skull Fork Covered Bridge, located south of Freeport near the intersections of Skull Fork Road and Covered Bridge Road. Originally built just before 1900 for a mere $150, the dilapidated bridge was rebuilt in the last decade for $186,000. While it is no longer passable by car, visitors can walk through the bridge. A local gardening club maintains the bridge and its surroundings making it a lovely spot for a picnic in the summer, or a hot chocolate break in the winter. Geocachers might also search for a cache at the bridge.
Just down the road from the covered bridge is a barn with a story to tell. Privately owned, the owner of the 16-sided barn welcomes visitors. The barn was completed in 1924 but was started many years before that. When I asked the owner of the property why the builder decided on such a complicated barn, she said, “well, simply because someone told him he couldn’t do it. So he did.” The current owners rebuilt the barn in 2008, adding a new roof and a fresh coat of paint. Currently used as private storage, the outside of the barn is a work of art and even at a glance you can tell that the walls hold many stories.
While neither of these destinations offer great activity, they are wonderful stops on a Sunday drive. The landscapes around this part of Harrison County are beautiful in any time of the year, and the hills and gravel roads take you back to a simpler time when bridges were covered and barns were built with hard-working hands.
Covered bridges are becoming less and less common, but they are speckled all around Ohio. The Ohio Department of Transportation lists the covered bridges by county, so even if you can’t make it for a picnic at Skull Fork, you can find one closer to you. The 16-sided barn, however, is one of kind.