In the age before automobiles or air travel, the people of northern Ohio traveled on a network of interurban trolley lines known as the Lake Shore Electric Railroad. The rail system connected Cleveland to Toledo, and towns such as Fremont and Sandusky in between.
Today, scant few remnants of that historical infrastructure remain, and one of the best examples is this defunct rail bridge that once ran over Porter Creek in Bay Village. The bridge piers and remnants exist as a reminder of Ohio’s rail-heavy past, stretching across the creek on its way to nearby Huntington Beach and Lake Erie like a colossus.
The bridge was originally built in 1901 and saw heavy use through the 1920s, spanning over the wide Porter Creek valley. But during the Great Depression, the railroad company slowly declined until it finally went bankrupt in 1939. The line was dismantled, the tracks removed, and the Porter Creek Bridge stood as a sad, stark reminder of what once was.
Today, the overgrown remains of the bridge rise above the Porter Creek Valley like ancient Greek ruins, covered in creeping, tenacious vines and the thick greenery of summer. These modern-day ruins invoke wonder in those who come across them while hiking within the valley.
Know Before You Go
Getting to the bridge piers and remnants is extremely easy. Park at the Lake Erie Nature & Science Center located on Porter Creek Road in Bay Village. Follow the bicycle path north along the road until the path dips down below the bridge piers. To cross the creek to the other side, continue north on the bicycle path, cross the bridge over the creek and cross to the west side of the road. Paths lead back along the creek towards the bridge piers deeper into the woods.