Scenic USA - Ohio

Mail Pouch Bridge

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Mail Pouch Bridge - Cumberland, Ohio

Photo by Amanda Haddox
Amanda Haddox Photography

   This privately owned covered bridge may not be all that historic, but certainly the Mail Pouch advertisement has been around for a very long time. Banned by Congress in 1965 by the Highway Beautification Act, billboard advertisements were forbidden on federally funded highways. There was such an outcry over the loss of the beloved Mail Pouch barns, a 1974 amendment exempted heritage barns.
   Although attractions, restaurants and other tobacco companies used "barn billboards" in their advertisement campaigns, none surpassed the quantity of Mail Pouch signs. At their peak, during the initial phase of the Beautification Act, estimates placed over 20,000 Mail Pouch barns in 22 states. Barn owners were more than happy to have the entire barn painted in exchange for chewing tobacco advertisement space for the Bloch Brothers Tobacco Company. Other barn owners received monthly payments, magazine subscriptions, or a generous supply of chew tobacco.
   Barns were not the only place you would find the Mail Pouch slogan, many stores and service stations still retain the faded and chipped ads. Because so many of these "billboard" signs have disappeared, hobbyists take pleasure in collecting photos of any Mail Pouch signs they find. This Guernsey County covered bridge, built in 1981, is quite unusual. The scene not only offers a nostalgic covered bridge, but also Harley Warrick's familiar Mail Pouch advertisement. Just over 35 years old, the bridge stretches 42 feet across Miller Creek and is found just west of Cumberland on Route 146.

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