Vermilion River Bridge, Lorain County

An amusing yet inspirational story from early Church history comes from the life of Parley P. Pratt. While traveling with four other missionaries, Parley was arrested on a frivolous charge. After spending a night in a public house, Parley was given breakfast the next morning. As he and the officer stood in the public square, Parley thanked the man for the accommodations and then started running.

Bridge over the Vermilion River, Lorain County, OH. Photo by Kenneth Mays.
Bridge over the Vermilion River, Lorain County, OH. Photo by Kenneth Mays.

The officer, Mr. Peabody, stood there for a moment stunned with surprise at Parley’s audacity. He quickly, however, followed after Parley and called to his big bulldog, Stu-boy, signaling him to seize the fleeing Parley P. Pratt. The huge dog gained ground on Parley as Mr. Peabody yelled and called after the dog to do his bidding.

Bridge over the Vermilion River. Photo (2006) by Kenneth Mays.
Bridge over the Vermilion River. Photo (2006) by Kenneth Mays.

It seemed that the dog would soon lay hold of Parley when all of a sudden Parley determined “to assist the officer.” He recorded, “I pointed my finger in [the direction of the forest], clapped my hands, and shouted in imitation of the officer. The dog hastened past me with redoubled speed towards the forest; being urged by the officer and myself, and both of us running in the same direction.”

Vermilion bridge Mar09 - 21 HRParley soon lost sight of the dog and the officer and changed course. In doing so, he noted that he “made the road again in time to cross a bridge over the Vermilion River.” There he was hailed by some individuals who were waiting to hear his message. Parley eventually caught up with the other missionaries.

Bridge over the Vermilion River, Lorain County, OH. Photo by Kenneth Mays.
Bridge over the Vermilion River, Lorain County, OH. Photo by Kenneth Mays.

Although the platform of the bridge has been replaced over the years, some original stonework on the bank of the Vermilion River has preserved the original site of the bridge and, consequently, of this adventure.

Map & Directions

The little town of Vermilion sits on the shore of Lake Erie about 30 miles west of Cleveland. On the east side of the town is the intersection of U.S. 6 and Vermilion Road. Take Vermilion Road in a south direction. Continue past highway 2 to the intersection of Vermilion Road and N Ridge Road (177). Turn right on to N Ridge Road into a hairpin turn. Go straight, past the first right turn, which is the entrance to Mill Hollow Bacon Woods Park. Immediately past the turn into the park is the bridge and preserved site where Parley P. Pratt crossed the Vermilion River after outsmarting Stu-boy the dog. The gps coordinates are: 41°22’55.67″ N; 82°19’00.18″ W.

Ownership Status

The bridge over the Vermilion River near Mill Hollow Bacon Woods Park, Lorain County, OH is a public highway with parking available at the park entrance.

Photos

Bridge over the Vermilion River. Photo (1989) by Kenneth Mays.
Bridge over the Vermilion River. Photo (1989) by Kenneth Mays.
Park near the bridge over the Vermilion River. Photo by Kenneth Mays.
Park near the bridge over the Vermilion River. Photo by Kenneth Mays.
Bridge over the Vermilion River, Lorain County, OH. Photo by Kenneth Mays.
Bridge over the Vermilion River, Lorain County, OH. Photo by Kenneth Mays.

Articles & Resources

Sources

Parley P. Pratt, Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, 38-39.

Keith W. Perkins and Donald Q. Cannon, in LaMar C. Berrett, ed., Sacred Places, Vol. 3, 65-66.