FRANKLIN SQUARE - Salem Township Constable Dan Valentine is looking for whoever painted an "anarchist symbol" on the bronze marker at the Teegarden Centennial Covered Bridge.
The bridge, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is in the Eagleton's Glen Recreation Area, an undeveloped 70-acre site about six miles south of Salem.
It is in an isolated part of Salem Township off Teegarden Road and is lit up at night.
Township Trustee Chairman Bill Heston said he noticed the vandalism on Monday and advised Valentine about it after Wednesday's regular trustee meeting.
The marker was placed at the scene by the Ohio Historical Society as part of Ohio's bicentennial.
Heston said, "I just personally feel it's real disrespectful. The state put
that (marker) up there for everyone to enjoy. I guess it shows their ignorance. Not cool."
Valentine said the symbol is the "standard symbol" of anarchy, adding the historical marker was the only thing at the site that he found that was vandalized with black spray paint.
"I checked the bridge and but didn't see anything, or on the back of the sign," Valentine said. The back of the sign is identical to the front and both sides are painted a bronze-like color.
"It's frustrating when people destroy other people's property," he said.
Valentine was unsure who would repair the marker.
The property is owned by the Salem Utilities Department which leases it to the county parks department which maintains it.
Utilities Superintendent Don Weingart said the lease expires in 2027. The city bought it the property in 1962.
"I can only say it's very disrespectful," Weingart said, "why someone would attack this ..."
A small picnic area is maintained by the city Parks and Recreation Department and the Greenway Bike Trail runs across the property.
The 66-foot, multiple king post bridge was designed by Jeremiah C. Mountz and David Reese.
It was in use until 1992 and underwent restoration in 2003 and is currently only open to pedestrian traffic.
In 2010 it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
At one time, a small community was here, and a mill sat by the iron bridge just north of the covered bridge.
Future plans for the area include hiking, picnic space, camping, and other outdoor recreational activities.
The land follows the Middle Fork Little Beaver Creek from near State Route 45 at the pumping station.
It was named after Uriah Teegarden who owned land near the bridge.
Also known as the Centennial Bridge, it was built in 1876, 100 years after the signing of the United States Declaration of Independence.
Valentine said the vandalism is under investigation and anyone with information is asked to contact him at 330-427-0808.