Rugged pioneers armed with only
hand tools, sweat and ambition began building covered bridges
in Oregon during the mid-1850's. They often camped out at remote
sites, living off the land or contracting with local farmers for
food. Early covered bridge owners often financed construction
by charging tolls: 3 cents for a sheep, 5 cents for a horse and
In the early 20th century, the
state provided standard bridge designs to each county, most of
these structures incorporated the Howe truss. The abundance of
Douglas Fir and the shortage of steel during the world wars continued
construction of covered spans well into the 1950's.
A wooden bridge was covered to
keep the huge truss timbers dry. A covered bridge could last 80
years or more, while an uncovered span would deteriorate in about
nine years. In Oregon, legislation was established in 1987 to
help fund preservation of these rich links to our past and heritage.