Monday, October 20, 2014

Bridges of Washington County

Several years ago we were in Madison County Iowa and toured their famous covered bridges.  I was a bit disappointed as almost all those bridges were closed to traffic.  Since then I have been planning to do a blog about the two dozen covered bridges around WashPA, most of which are still open for travel.  Here are seven of the 24 that I visited recently.  Some have been rebuilt to keep them up to the weight of modern traffic and have had new roofs installed to protect the structures, but they are for the most part in very good shape.  Here is a link with the location of all the bridges.
The Hughes Bridge that was built in 1889 is not open to traffic.  It is over 55 feet long and as you can see does bow a bit.  It is neat looking at the old names people have carved on the bridges over the years.  It always makes we wonder when our modern day graffiti will become historically significant.
Originally built in 1889 the 66 foot Bailey Bridge had to be totally rebuilt in the mid 1990's after vandals parked a truck on the bridge and burned it.  The original wood arches and cross members were salvaged and used in the reconstruction.
The 15 ton weight limit on the Day Bridge tells you that the superstructure has been rebuilt.  Steel beams were placed under it after the old wood gave out.  They have done a great job of maintaining the historical integrity as the new beams are not visible. 
The 26 foot Wright bridge was built sometime between 1875 and 1899.  The bridge, which can easily be seen from I-70, is open to traffic but on a road that is now a dead end after a high load wiped out the bridge that carried the road over the interstate.
Just a bit of the beautiful WashPA fall colors.
I could not find the name of this bridge that has been moved into a field.  Hopefully it will be saved from farther deterioration.
The 36 foot long Henry bridge was built in 1841.  Its support beams have also been replaced with steel.  This bridge over Mingo Creek is located in Mingo Park so it is one of the most heavily traveled.
The 32 foot  Ebezener Bridge was moved to its current location on Mingo Creek in 1977.  It is unknown when it was originally built.

These are just a small sample of Washington County's 24 covered bridges.  If you are passing through WashPA stop and check them out.  But not in a big rig, as they are all narrow and do not have a very high vertical clearance.  If you are in the area on the third weekend in September, the annual Covered Bridge Festival offers crafts, food and entertainment at ten bridges.  It is a great way to learn a bit of WashPA history. 


Bobbie and Jim said...

So interesting. Thank you for sharing.

Suzycue said...

I loved this post! We just returned home from seeing the bridges of Madison county and their festival. Now I know where to see more! Thanks!

Doing It On the Road(Part II) said...

A beautiful post!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the history lesson on bridges.I have driven by the Wright Bridge off of I70 for 43 years and never knew it had a name. I was raised in Westmoreland county and go back about every three months.