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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A COVERED BRIDGE




Chitwood Covered bridge 


Covered bridges have always been fascinating to me. Almost fifty years ago I lived in West Virginia where my children and then husband would take rides in the country looking for covered bridges. We found so many back then  -- wonder how many still remain?

Last weekend I discovered the above beautiful Chitwood covered bridge in Lincoln county,Oregon. Built over the Yaquina river it portrays an important part of the area's history.  It is still being used for vehicle traffic.

 The original Chitwood bridge was built in 1893 and was rebuilt with historic accuracy in 1926. Its name derives from that of an early settler that ran a general store near the bridge.





Vehicle weight restriction sign

I later found out that there are fifty-six remaining covered bridges in Oregon, fifty of them still used by vehicles. 




Interior of the bridge


Over time I hope to discover the locations of other covered bridges in Oregon.

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Note: to view old photos of the bridge and to read about its past history click here


25 comments:

  1. Nice-pictures -- and a beautiful header.

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    1. Vicki -- appreciate your nice comment -- the header shot was a long shot but it still turned out miraculously. thanks -- barbara

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  2. I hope you do find them and photograph them. The one my dad used in my childhood was white, but the one lane interior was the same raised planking. It still exists; the road was relocated around it and the bridge structure is part of the National Park.

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    1. Joanne -- I believe that the one thing the bridges seem to have is that they are covered and one-lane. Lucky you were able to experience the one that your father used. I was raised in Michigan and don't remember any -- and we rode lots of country roads then. I think that in Michigan they just wiped them out when the small iron bridges became the rage. Nice that they saved your father's bridge for the National Park. -- barbara

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  3. What a testament to the building practices at the time, that these structures still stand. And, are stable enough for traffic.

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    1. Michelle -- Yes, I was surprised that the covered bridge could still withstand vehicle traffic. However this bridge is off the beaten track-- traffic is extremely low -- I did not see one car that traveled over it when I was taking photographs. thanks -- barbara

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  4. Hi Barbara. I see Folkways Notebook & you are now discovering the historic treasures of Oregon. I always associated covered bridges with New England & the one I know is in Jackson New Hampshire. I didn't know they were in W Virginia too. My question, & I probably should know this: why were they covered? (I'm guessing it was an engineering thing to make small bridges stronger?) PS thanks for your great comment at my blog, I'm going over to respond...

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    1. Rita -- Oregon and Washington are adjacent to each other. I am just a couple miles from the Oregon border. What I have read about covered bridges is that the area experiences rain all winter and therefore covering the bridges saved the wood plank bridge over the river from deterioration. Of course if it was metal there would be no need for this. I know Oregon territory better than Washington as I once lived there. I therefore have a natural predilection to head that way when I have my camera. Enjoy your covered bridge and thanks for the nice comment -- barbara

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  5. I never knew that Oregon had that many covered bridges. I am going to Oregon in 2017 for the full solar eclipse so I be adding the covered bridges to the trip. (I know it is a long way away but I have been planning this trip since 2009!)

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    1. Birdie -- Neither did I realize that Oregon had so many covered bridges. Also did not know about the full solar eclipse you spoke about -- will google it. thanks barbara

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  6. I've never encountered anything like this in the UK. Many farms and large houses had covered gateways however which allowed you to get out of your horse drawn wagon to unlatch the gate without getting soaked. The weather we've been having this week we could do with a roof over the whole country!

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    1. John -- Your covered gateways sounds similar to what is called a porte-cochère here is the states -- perhaps they are one and the same? Where I am living now is a rainy area -- temperate rainforest location. thanks for stopping by. Stopped at your blog -- it's terrific. -- barbara

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  7. Again, both header photo and the bridge are wonderful - that header farm, at least in the picture, looks like an enchanted little farm in the middle of a forest, fairy tale-like. I sort of expect to see a stone parapet of a castle at the edge of the picture.

    The covered bridge is very handsome. A covered bridge exists near where I grew up, for a few years I rode over it very day in the school bus (then the kids being picked up on that route moved so we took a highway instead of the secondary road). It is very near the entrance to a state park and is maintained partly (I think) by the park .

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    1. June -- the landscape is very different here from KY. Here the coniferous trees of the Pacific Northwest grow tall and profusely while the deciduous trees are the norm for KY.Each has its own beauty.

      What a warm memory -- riding in a school bus across a covered bridge. Not many folks can claim that memory except in states where there are still many working covered bridges. Over time I have picked up on some of your childhood memories and wondered if you are writing a memoir for your children and grandchildren.

      thanks -- barbara

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  8. My father in law did a painting of that bridge. I don't know who has the painting now.

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    1. Hattie -- Your roots go deep in Oregon. If you were raised in Oregon I feel that you lived in paradise. Of course where you live now is probably paradise too. Too bad the painting by your father-in-law has been misplaced. But that sometimes happens -- my grandfather in-law painted a wonderful self portrait of himself and his dog but it disappeared too. thanks -- barbara

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  9. They still have that romantic/historical gloss about them. Only a few left here in southeastern Minnesota. but nearby Madison County, Iowa, of course, still have quite a few....:)

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    1. troutbirder -- They certainly do. Walking through the bridge taking pictures brought up how important bridges were to early settlers. Now they appear as icons to our past. I'm glad to hear you have a few left in Minnesota. Maybe your grandchildren would enjoy seeing one if they haven't already. thanks -- barbara

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  10. To answer your question about writing a memoir, yes and no. Not "A" memoir but a variety of shorter pieces that could be put together (perhaps, Someday...) I suppose there are a number of other things I could add to what already exists. I know I've never written about the cover bridge -- or that my father was the school bus driver some of those years.

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    1. June -- I like your idea of shorter pieces that could be put together. That is something I thought of doing myself. I read a book called DEAR PHOTOGRAPH, that gave me the idea to use old family photos to jump start short pieces and include them with the writings -- eventually to give to my children. Oh, and I like that your father was a sometimes bus driver for your school bus. thanks -- barbara

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  11. Is Joey Chitwood still alive? You've got me thinking now.

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    1. Birdman -- I don't know but I am thinking that he is not as the bridge was named after him in 1926. thanks for the comment -- barbara

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  12. The "Dear Photo" idea is an interesting one -- it would certainly work well when one has a good stash of old photos -- and quite a few people do. I'll make a note of that for possible use in the future. Thanks.

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  13. I always associate covered bridges with New England (especially Vermont), but how fun to know they have so many in Oregon, too! (Rather like the lighthouses that always make me think of my years on the New England coast!) This one you found is wonderfully photogenic. Looks like you're enjoying exploring your new environment! Sure is a photogenic area you found yourself in! :-)

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    1. Laloofah -- the Pacific Northwest is beautiful! Right now I am in a large city hankering to eventually live in a small town. But I am not in a hurry to do so. Still lots to discover. I was raised in Michigan surrounded by the Great Lakes where one can find many lighthouses along its shores. Sometimes we associate light houses and covered bridges with the east but they can turn up in surprising places. -- thanks barbara

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