BELLAIRE, Ohio (WTRF) – This $2 million project funded by the Ohio Department of Transportation has been over a decade in the making.
The Great Stone Viaduct Society has been working to increase awareness of the significance of the railroad and securing long-term preservation of the structure, and today they unveiled a new era for this monument.
“They built this beautiful plaza underneath the bridge,” said Chairperson Ed Mowrer. “They have built a walking trail on top of the bridge and then that extends down a little less than a half mile to 26th Street. So, this will be a place of recreation, a piece of history, and just a good place for this community to be.”
The Great Stone Viaduct was added to the National Register of Historic Places in the 1970’s, and Jackee Pugh from Belmont County Tourism says that the fact that people can now come to this monument, learn about the history, and walk across it is an amazing thing for the area.
“This is a great event for Bellaire and for Belmont County because not only does it preserve the history of the Great Stone Viaduct, but it’s repurposing that old rail corridor and giving it new life with the walking trail. So, this enables people to be a part of the old American history that really built the industry right here in Bellaire.”Jackee Pugh – Executive Director, Bemont County Tourism
The 43 stone arch viaduct became known as the shortline to the west upon its conception, and 151 years later, Trustee Dan Frizzi says that there’s one thing everyone should think of when they start spending their time here.
“Unity,” emphasized Frizzi.
“Unity is important because this bridge has 37 ring stones. It has a symbolic meaning that there were 37 states in the United States of America at the conclusion of the Civil War. It kept these states together as the United States and that bridge is symbolic of that in its ring stones.”
It is like this beautiful historic monument was built for people in the future to enjoy.