Number Of Ohio Historic Bridges Dwindle To The Hundreds

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Ohio's number of historic covered bridges has dwindled from thousands to about 145, and preservationists say vandals and arsonists are chipping away at those still standing.

The Ohio Historic Bridge Association says Ohio is second only to Pennsylvania in its number of original covered bridges. The remaining wooden spans sometimes are marred by graffiti, fire and other damage.

Association president David Simmons tells The Columbus Dispatch it's often tough to catch the vandals. Many of the bridges are in rural or isolated areas and don't carry traffic, and Simmons says that can attract firebugs.

An 1874 bridge with a rare, rounded shape was destroyed by fire in June in southeast Ohio's Vinton County.

An earlier arson at a bridge in Lancaster caused an estimated $20,000 in damage.