Saving The Bridge

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To residents of the small town of Whipple, Ohio, the bridge over route 821 has been more than a bridge. In some cases, it's been a lifeline.

"It's been an ingress and egress during times of flood," says resident Lloyd Booth. "It's been very useful in that respect. In the flood of 1998, we had several people walk across because they were flooded in, and unable to get out in any other direction."

Now, a campaign has been organized to keep it in place, after residents heard oil and gas drilling interests may be proposing to have it demolished.

"Fracking equipment needs access to the area about two miles north of us. They couldn't get their equipment underneath and felt it should be torn down."

We were unable to confirm that independently Tuesday.

Other than four-wheelers, there isn't a lot of vehicular traffic that has or, for that matter, can use the bridge. But that's not really why the community wants to save it.

Chelsea Polk recently had her wedding picture taken atop the bridge, and her family has plenty of ties to it. her great-grandfather and father lived nearby, and she, along with her brother, played on it.

"That's the way we tie all of our history, as far back as my great-grandparents, probably even further," she says. "We just would like to keep the history alive."

Booth and Polk both say they aren't against drilling, and, in fact believe it's a huge economic benefit. But while supporting the economy of the future, it wants to maintain part of Whipple's past.

Booth suggested the interstate 77 exit at Macksburg as an alternate site for drillers to reach their sites.

Jennifer Garrison, the former state representative, negotiated drilling leases for people in that area. But she added she did not know if the bridge was included in that.