Ohio River Bridge and Ferry Company


SKU: 6975

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Product Details

Beautifully engraved antique stock certificate from the Ohio River Bridge and Ferry Company dating back to the early 1900's. This document was a printed by the Western Bank Note Company, and measures approximately 12" (w) by 7 1/2" (h).


This certificate features a vignette of the West Virginia State Seal.

You will receive the exact certificate pictured.

Historical Context

Flatboat ferry services, operated by horse-tread power, had been in operation across the Muskingum and Ohio rivers since the earliest days of commerce. The flatboats were replaced by a steam ferry (the "Julia"), operated by Alfred Kinnard at about the beginning of the Civil War. The "Julia" was replaced by the "Emma Uhl" in 1881. She was owned by J. R. McMillen of Marietta and operated until 1893, when she was replaced by the "Pioneer City," a light-draught sternwheeler operated by Captain J. W. Ryder from 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. daily and owned by M. P. Noll and Charles Muhleraan. These ferries operated between Front Street in Williamstown and Ohio Street in Marietta.

Early in 1900, a group of prominent Marietta businessmen formed the Ohio River Bridge and Ferry Company (ORBFC), with the sole purpose of building a toll bridge across the Ohio River to link Williamstown with Marietta. Notables in the company were Beman G. Dawes, who became its President, and H. B. Hoyt, Secretary. Others included M. P. Noll, Charles Muhleman, George Best and John Mills. The newly-formed company had a monumental task of building a huge structure with only private funds. Neither West Virginia nor the State of Ohio participated in the financing.

The Williamstown-Marietta Bridge was the first highway bridge in the United States built in a cantilever fashion over an inland river. It was officially opened to traffic as a toll bridge on September 1,1903, and cost 5 cents to cross. The first streetcar crossed the bridge on August 31, the day before the official opening, when company President B. P. Dawes, Marietta Police Chief Jake Dye, and other notables ran the blockades and crossed the bridge as a political prank.

Monongahela-West Penn Traction Company bought the bridge in 1917 and later became the Monongahela-West Penn Public Service Company.