The ones we lost: Local covered bridges that are no more

There used to be over 600 covered bridges in the state of Oregon, as of now, less than 10% are left; fortunately, six awesome examples are located in or around Cottage Grove. With the annual Oregon Covered Bridge Festival happening October 5 in Cottage Grove, I thought it would be nice to feature some of the local covered bridges that we’ve lost.

We have had many local covered bridges, the ones featured below are just a sample, and are included here mostly because I could find photos and bits of history about them.

Brumbaugh Bridge

Photo courtesy of: Salem Public Library Historic Photograph Collections, Salem Public Library, Salem OR. Ben Maxwell Collection.

Brumbaugh Bridge
(Photo courtesy of: Salem Public Library Historic Photograph Collections, Salem Public Library, Salem OR. Ben Maxwell Collection).

Located south of the Stewart Covered Bridge, the Brumbaugh Bridge also spanned Mosby Creek. This 90 foot bridge was built in 1948 and dismantled in 1979 when it was replaced by a concrete bridge. Like several other local bridges, the Brumbuagh Bridge was named after a local early settler, this time Samuel Brumbaugh. This was the second covered bridge in this location, to see an image of the first built in 1925 see the book Oregon’s Covered Bridges by Bill Cockrell.

It is interesting to note that while the ends of this bridge were wood, the sides were covered with sheet metal. After the bridge was dismantled the truss timbers were saved and used in the construction of Centennial Covered Bridge in down town Cottage Grove. From this picture, I think this bridge looks remarkably like the Dorena Covered Bridge, which was built at about the same time.

 

Red Bridge

Red Bridge (Photo courtesy of: Salem Public Library Historic Photograph Collections, Salem Public Library, Salem OR. Ben Maxwell Collection.)

Red Bridge
(Photo courtesy of: Salem Public Library Historic Photograph Collections, Salem Public Library, Salem OR. Ben Maxwell Collection.)

Spanning the Row River, this 105 foot bridge was built in 1928. Although it was painted white, the bridge it replaced was painted red, and this bridge kept that name. It was located near Culp Creek and was replaced in the early 1960s.

 

Hebron Covered Bridge

Hebron Covered Bridge (to the right) Cottage Grove Dam in the foreground. (Photo courtesy of: Salem Public Library Historic Photograph Collections, Salem Public Library, Salem OR. Ben Maxwell Collection.)

Hebron Covered Bridge (to the right) Cottage Grove Dam in the foreground.
(Photo courtesy of: Salem Public Library Historic Photograph Collections, Salem Public Library, Salem OR. Ben Maxwell Collection.)

The town of Hebron once stood where Cottage Grove Lake now stands; it was covered by water when Cottage Grove Dam was constructed. (Unlike the town of Dorena, which was relocated when Dorena Dam was constructed, the town of Hebron was not replaced.) This picture shows the Hebron Bridge (near the far right in the photo) during the construction of Cottage Grove Dam. I think it gives a sense of where the bridge once stood.

The Hebron Bridge spanned the Coast Fork of the Willamette River and was 100’ in length. It was dismantled in 1943.

 

Mary White Covered Bridge

Mary White Covered Bridge. (Photo courtesy of: Salem Public Library Historic Photograph Collections, Salem Public Library, Salem OR. Ben Maxwell Collection.)

Mary White Covered Bridge.
(Photo courtesy of: Salem Public Library Historic Photograph Collections, Salem Public Library, Salem OR. Ben Maxwell Collection.)

Built in 1929/1930 the Mary White Covered Bridge was on London Road (S. Sixth Street) where it intersected with the private Weyerhaeuser Road, it crossed the Coast Fork of the Willamette River. It retained the name of a previous bridge, which was named by the owner of the property William Johnson White, after his wife Mary. It was replaced in 1964.

 

Mosby Creek Railroad Bridge

Mosby Creek Railroad Bridge (Photo courtesy of: Salem Public Library Historic Photograph Collections, Salem Public Library, Salem OR. Ben Maxwell Collection.)

Mosby Creek Railroad Bridge
(Photo courtesy of: Salem Public Library Historic Photograph Collections, Salem Public Library, Salem OR. Ben Maxwell Collection.)

Railroad bridges were also covered. Currently, the Chambers Covered Bridge in Cottage Grove is the last remaining covered railroad bridge west of the Mississippi. The railroad bridge in this photo crossed Mosby Creek near the community of Walden. It was built in 1905 and replaced by a steal bridge in the mid-1940s. I believe this is the bridge that became the “Stand By Me” bridge just downstream from the Mosby Creek Covered Bridge along the Row River Trail.

 

Creswell Bridge

Creswell Covered Bridge. (Photo courtesy of: Salem Public Library Historic Photograph Collections, Salem Public Library, Salem OR. Ben Maxwell Collection.)

Creswell Covered Bridge.
(Photo courtesy of: Salem Public Library Historic Photograph Collections, Salem Public Library, Salem OR. Ben Maxwell Collection

I love this photo of the Creswell Covered Bridge. Built in 1884 it spanned the Coast Fork of the Willamette River, and was removed in 1931. Over the bridge it says that there is a $25 fine for riding or driving over the bridge faster than a walk. There is also a $25 fine for driving over 10 head of cattle or horses across the bridge at one time. It was built by L.N. Roney, who built almost 100 covered bridges in Lane County – most of them covered.

 

Saginaw Covered Bridge

Saginaw Covered Bridge. (Photo courtesy of: Salem Public Library Historic Photograph Collections, Salem Public Library, Salem OR. Ben Maxwell Collection.)

Saginaw Covered Bridge.
(Photo courtesy of: Salem Public Library Historic Photograph Collections, Salem Public Library, Salem OR. )

The Saginaw Bridge was quite long – 165’ – and spanned the Coast Fork of the Willamette River in Saginaw, obviously close to a lumber mill. It was built in 1943 and removed in 1965. With its removal, the Dorena Covered Bridge became our longest remaining bridge.

 

Other local covered bridges

Other local covered bridges included the West Creswell (or Camas Swell) Covered Bridge 2½ miles west of Creswell, the Rouse Bridge south of London, the Thorne Bridge north of London, and the Lower and Upper Brice Creek Covered Bridges.

If you enjoy our local covered bridges, I suggest the book Oregon’s Covered Bridges by Bill Cockrell. Published in 2008 it includes tons of photos of local bridges that we no longer have, including photos of our current bridges that I’ve not seen before. Parts of the book can be viewed online for free. You might also see this post from the Dorena Historical Society.

Fall Comes to Row River Nature Park
Row River Trail: Trailheads

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