Covered Bridges

Joseph l.Cox By Joseph l.Cox, 22nd Oct 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>History

In the old days they did not have road or highway taxes, so when they built a road they charged you a toll to use the road. The owners of the road were responsible for the maintence of the road.also to keep the highwaymen from robbing you as you traveled on their road.

Wooden Bridges-will rot and burn

The bridge across a river is important; many people can get to the other side. There are many kinds of bridges that can be built, suspension bridges are the strongest and can carry the most load over a long span, this is like the Golden Gate Bridge in California. Pier bridges have sections of road that go from pier to pier and are usually of a shorter span.

The bridges I will tell you about today are the old wooden bridges that were built in America in the 1800’s, these were a masterpiece of engineering and construction considering the tools and equipment available at the time they were built.

In the eastern part of the United Stated, there were more bridges than the west, because of the severe weather it was more difficult to cross the rivers, for one thing they are deeper, and there is more snow and ice. One thing they discovered was that horses did not like walking over the water, so they covered the sides of the bridge as well, so the horses could not see the water as they crossed. The other thing and most important is when protected from the sun and weather, wood will last longer. The wood on an uncovered bridge will only last up to twenty years.

Worldwide there are 1600 covered bridges, with only 12 in California, most built mainly out of wood, although some are partially steel. Some are single span others that are longer will have two or more spans. Some are of a unique design externally as far as looks, but the ultimate purpose is to get you across the river.

image from Wikipedia cc

The Bridgeport Bridge

There is a covered bridge across the South Fork of the Yuba River that was built as the completing link on the toll road that connects the gold fields in Nevada Comstock Lode to Sacramento, California. At that time a small town sprang up and of course it was called Bridgeport, California. This bridge was built in 1862 of local timber from a mill at Sierra City. You really have to see it to believe it, the distance and the bad road they had to go over to get the timbers to the river.
This is a truss type of bridge, there are several types the Burr, the Lattice, and Brown. I am not an engineer and don’t know one from the other this bridge has a clear span of 210 feet. The bridge was owned by the Virginia Turnpike Company
The bridge has the longest clear span of any wooden bridge still standing, many had become dangerous to use due to age, and the weight of the modern vehicle. An automobile weighs a lot more than a stagecoach and a team of 4 horses. It was closed to all traffic in 2011due to lack of maintence as the state is short of money.

I have been across the bridge many times. When I was in high school I was the photographer and I took a picture of the bridge, it is the cover picture of the high school year book The Prospector for Nevada Union High School Class of 1953.
photo from wikipedia cc


Construction, Crossing, Horses, Rivers, Stragecoach, Truss, Wood Lasts, Yuba River

Meet the author

author avatar Joseph l.Cox
started writing 2 yr ago, to help afriend with some research. i enjoyed it and decided i would do thi on my own, i still enjoy. i write alot of personal stories and health articles.

Share this page

moderator johnnydod moderated this page.
If you have any complaints about this content, please let us know


author avatar Denise O
22nd Oct 2012 (#)

I have a fascination with old covered bridges, they are so mysterious to me. Now though, I have a fear of driving over them, funny huh.LOL
Great information on covered bridges.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Joseph l.Cox
22nd Oct 2012 (#)

they are great structures, i used to enjoy driving there. gas was .25 per galon.
thanks the comment

Reply to this comment

Add a comment
Can't login?