In the 1840s, a main road through the Cuyahoga Valley was Everett Pike connecting the booming canal towns of Boston and Peninsula with the growing city of Akron. Jonathan Hale, one of the valley's earliest settlers, had petitioned for such a road to pass through his farm in 1810. It apparently was never built, perhaps because the Ohio & Erie Canal, completed through the valley in 1827, had not yet brought sufficient agricultural and economic activity to the area to warrant the effort.
Ira Hawkins, for whom the crossroads town of Ira was named, petitioned for the road again in 1840. Conditions had significantly changed, and it was built, following the alignment of present day Riverview Road south from Peninsula to Everett, Everett Road west to Furnace Run, Oak Hill Road south to Hale Farm, and Ira Road southeast to the present day Riverview Road once again. What is today a quiet valley byway was then a main road. Even so, where it crossed Furnace Run, a major tributary of the Cuyahoga River, there was no bridge, only a ford. Eventually tragedy would change this primitive condition.
On the night of February 1, 1877 John Gilson and his wife, who owned a farm on the valley plateau on northern Oak Hill Road, were returning home from visiting friends to the south. A winter storm had caused the waters of Furnace Run, which they had to cross, to churn furiously. As they reached the stream they "found a large cake of ice had washed into the road which so obstructed the driveway that they had to pass around it". In bypassing, Mrs. Gilson was thrown into the rapidly rising stream. John lost his footing and was dragged by his panicked horse into deeper water which was cold and swirling with ice. Mrs. Gilson was rescued by a local resident, but John's body was not recovered until four days later. The death of this prominent citizen most likely led to the construction of the Everett Road covered bridge.
Although the covered bridge has been part of the Cuyahoga Valley scene for over 100 years it was badly damaged twice before its total destruction in 1975, once in the great 1913 flood and again in 1970 when an overloaded truck partially collapsed it. In each instance determined local citizens and their governments rescued it. When it last fell, modern need, cost, and technology led some to believe that it should be replaced by a modern bridge. After a ten year struggle, however, sentiment, history, and citizen involvement won out. The Everett Road covered bridge once again took its place in the scenery and history preserved by Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
Location: The Everett Road Covered Bridge parking area is on Everett Road 1/2 mile west of Riverview Road.