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Covered Bridges

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A Brief Insight into Covered Bridges in America

Covered bridges have been around since ancient China. Recorded Chinese history
has mentioned them since the early dynasties. In America, covered bridges first
appeared around 1805 and have seen a gradual growth in construction. In Europe,
they have existed since the medieval times and there were once hundreds of them
scattered in many countries such as Germany and Switzerland.

In North America, wooden covered bridges have seen it's height in the 19th
century. With a lot of surplus in lumber and the need for connecting the
different parts of the country, the ingenuity of the Yankees has been put to
good use by the construction of these works of art. Covered bridges not only
allowed the interconnecting of different towns but it also paved the way to
incorporating art and engineering. Bridges are not that easy to make, and
covered bridges, as agreed upon by many engineers, are considered to be great
engineering marvels incorporating practicality and aesthetics in the design.

North America has a lot of covered bridges and more are built everyday. But why
are there so many? The north is a land filled with rivers and streams and as the
population grew in the early part of the nineteenth century, a lot of people
made their way into the interior parts of the land to find areas suitable for
agriculture and livelihood.

As the years went by, villages started to grow in the most convenient of places
-- near a water source. The waterways where these early American villages sprung
up on were convenient sources of water and sources of power used for running
mills. And as villages started to grow on both sides of the rivers, bridges
became the obvious solution in connecting a village together. Communities need
to be connected and bridges became an integral part of village life. It provided
access for townspeople to many infrastructures like schools, churches and stores
where supplies can be bought.

Why the Need to Cover Them?

There are many theories on why these old, vintage bridges were covered. The most
obvious is for protection. According to town records, covered bridges lasted
three times longer than ordinary bridges because it is more protected against
the elements. Also people have known that covered bridges need lesser
maintenance compared to bridges that don't have any protection. But for many,
the reason for covering bridges is a more aesthetic one. Covered bridges have
gained popularity because of its ability to please the eye. Many towns are even
remembered because of the beautiful covered bridges that can still be seen and
enjoyed by tourists. Though nobody knows for sure, these two reasons are the
most apparent.

The State of Iowa is where the most famous covered bridges in America can be
found -- specifically in Madison County, where according to records, nineteen
bridges used to exist. Now only six survived and are now considered to be
landmarks with government budget for maintenance.

Covered bridges are part of America's history and now restoration projects are
being proposed all over the country to preserve these engineering wonders that
has defined the towns where they can be found. If you go on a road trip to the
inner states, be sure to take a picture of some of these bridges -- they are
truly as important as many historical landmarks are.

The Story of Covered Bridges

These days, covered bridges are considered great historical pieces or
architecture that are protected and preserved under the United States Law. There
are at least 200 covered bridges across America. Most of them, especially the
ones under the management and protection of the National Registry of Historic
Places, were built in the early nineteenth century.

During that time, there was a huge movement of people from coastal cities
towards the interior of the country where there were a lot of creeks, streams
and rivers. Towns and villages soon rose near these waterways since they were
the practical places for thriving communities. The waterways also provided power
for their mills and a ready source of potable water, which are very important
for growing towns.

As these towns grew on both sides of the river, there was an apparent need for
bridges to connect the townspeople together and provide access to important
infrastructures like schools, churches, and hospices. Covered bridges then
became the most practical solution for connecting both sides of the river, thus
paving the way for growth and development.

But why cover these bridges? Was there a need? Apparently yes, and there were
lots of proposed reasons why covered bridges became the norm during the time. It
is widely said that necessity is the mother of innovation, and the walls and
roofs of these bridges did serve a very practical purpose far from the
aesthetics that most people appreciate nowadays. The first reason for covering
these bridges were to make them appear like barns.

In the old days, crossing horses and farm animals on bridges were more dangerous
than it would seem. Stampedes were common when horses and livestock were forced
to cross bridges and see the running waters of the river. To avoid this,
covering bridges made it easier for farmers and animals to cross rivers and get
to the greener grass on the other side.

Another reason for building these bridges were to keep snow off them during
winter. Heavy snow fall could spell disaster for small bridges with weaker
support. Another practical reason for making covered bridges was to help
accommodate travelers during bad weather. Old covered bridges can shelter a
small group stuck in town because of a storm. It also made it easier for
townspeople to accommodate strangers during such times.

A romantic reason proposed by an old poet said the covered bridges also made it
possible for young lovers to steal a kiss from each other without getting caught
- rather unlikely but ironically, covered bridges nowadays do serve a romantic
purpose because it has become quite fashionable to hold wedding ceremonies on
them. But the most widely popular reason for building covered bridges is to
expand the lifespan of the bridge itself.

Wood, which is commonly used for these bridges, can easily deteriorate if
exposed to harsh weather conditions all year round -- heat in the summer and
extreme cold in the winter. Covered bridges lasted three times longer than
ordinary bridges because of the protection the roof and walls provided.
Insulation was also good for wood and covered bridges allowed the interior to
maintain a uniform temperature providing shade from the sun and rain -- which
made the bridge last longer and practically safer for people to use.

No matter what the reason, covered bridges are considered by many as romantic,
historical pieces that should be preserved and protected. They are part of
America's history and protecting them should be a priority for towns and
counties where they can still be found.

The Slowly Vanishing Relics of the Past

Covered bridges are slowly disappearing and experts agree that at lest ten are
demolished or destroyed by floods every year. In Santa Cruz County, where the
most number of covered brid ges still stand, it has become part of the landscape
and great efforts are being taken to preserve them.

Though the exact number is actually just three (3), they are stilled considered
very important because they all date back to the 1800s. According to records, at
one time there were more than a thousand covered bridges all over the western
states of the US, and now, because of rapid commercialization and development of
new construction materials, covered bridges are slowly disappearing.

The three remaining in Santa Cruz have gained considerable popularity and
historical significance and therefore cannot be easily discarded. They have come
under the protection of the law and are considered to be historical places fit
for preservation. The efforts of the counties to preserve covered bridges for
future generations to enjoy are starting to pay off as more and more are being
added to the registry of historic places every year. To maintain its historical
integrity, renovation and refurbishment projects are done using the same
materials and techniques employed during the time they were built.

Covered bridges still have very practical purposes these days. The walls and
roofs on them can still provide protection from extreme weather conditions
during winters and summers. Back in the early years of covered bridges, they are
usually used for a lot of reasons; from sheltering weary travelers stuck because
of bad weather, to looking like barns to make the crossing livestock more
comfortable. These days the same roofs and walls serve a more aesthetic purpose,
basically to add more personality to covered bridges and make it seem more

In the past ten years, most of the covered bridges in America were moved to
private estates and gardens where they used to create a more romantic feel,
bigger ones though are left where they stand since there are moves to block the
relocation of the more historic ones. Covered bridges in private properties and
colleges ironically have more chances in surviving because of the protection the
local security provides. Old ones in more rural wares are more susceptible to
vandalism and arson. Though protected by the government, some historic covered
bridges are located so far from the towns that watching over them is really

Covered bridges also represent the rustic charm of small-town America. It
triggers within most people a romantic picture filled with sentimentality. There
was even a time when they were called "kissing bridges" because it was a place
where secret lovers could meet to steal kisses from each other.

They are also being used for inspiration by photographers to take the effort in
locating them all over America. Covered bridges also look really good when
photograph during autumn. The colored leaves and the wooden bridge are so
reminiscent of the covers of love story books back in the 80's. They are truly
special relics of early America that should be preserved and maintained for the
rich history they represent.

Thanks to the awareness brought about by hobbyist and historic preservationist,
people are now more aware of the beauty that these bridges posses. They remind
America of a time when life was simple and progress took on a slow but steady
pace. They are also symbols of the ingenuity of the American carpenters and
engineers who first thought of covering bridges to extend its lifespan. They are
truly a part of American history and should be preserved for America's future
generations to enjoy.

Covered Bridges Basics

A lot of people might wonder what covered bridges are and what makes them
different from ordinary bridges. Pictures might say it all but to put it
plainly; a covered bridge is a bridge that has enclosures on the sides and has a
roof. They are usually single-lane and can only accommodate a light load.

Far from being prominent landmarks and architectural candies, they were
originally made for a more practical reason -- to connect a town that is
developing on two sides of a river. Early nineteenth century America saw the
first covered bridges and they were very useful in connecting communities

Towns and villages that sprung up in the interior parts of the countries where
rivers, streams and creeks were a plenty, needed bridges to prevent the division
of the towns people and helped them get connected to basic infrastructures and
services. These unique bridges have since grown into prominence as bigger cities
rose in coastal areas, and towns where they can be found became suburbs and
country estates. Recently, covered bridges are catching the attention of
historic preservationists who are taking on the cause of maintaining covered
bridges for their historical value.

The Technical Aspect of Covered Bridges

Early covered bridges were usually made of wood since there was a surplus of
lumber at the time they were first made. Modern covered bridges though are
commonly made of steel or glass and have become more intricate and flamboyant in
its design. Earlier bridges were made to look more like a barn so it can blend
in with the background of the country while modern ones are usually made to
stand out. Ordinary bridges made of wood are always exposed to the elements, so
covering them was a very ingenious way to extend its lifespan, save more tax
money in maintenance, and in the old days, as a shelter for travelers during
storms and unfriendly weather.

A majority of covered bridges use trusses as a key structural element in its
design. The most popular was the Brown truss used for its simplicity and
practicality but other trusses were also used. In the modern times, steel and
concrete has become more available and structurally speaking, safer. These days,
covered bridges are used either used for convenience rather than protection, or
as means to make a design statement.

Whether for style or convenience, covered bridges have become part of the
history of American towns that grew and prospered with them. These days a lot of
historical conservationists are fighting for the preservation of old covered
bridges as part of American heritage. Most of the bridges are found in rural
America and thus more susceptible to the threats of arsonist, vandals, and
flooding. Over two hundred (200) covered bridges have been identified all over
America and the towns where they can be found are initiating the fight to
preserve them.

Covered bridges have played an important part of America's history and growth.
Most historians agree that they are significant historical pieces that should be
protected and maintained in order to preserve the history of old towns where
they have become landmarks. Though modern bridges have become the ideal, wooden
covered bridges are still able to maintain its rustic charm -- something that
most people are looking for when they go to the country side to enjoy the
scenery. Towns are even renovating dilapidated covered bridges for the same
reason, and hopefully, America's great grandchildren can still enjoy these
historical pieces of American engineering for many years to come.

The History of Covered Bridges

Covered bridges are great historical pieces that are protected by law these
days. In the United States, there are at least 200 covered bridges registered
under the National Registry of Historic Places because of their important role
in a town's or county's history.

Most of the covered bridges still being used today are under the protection of
the government and cannot be easily demolished or reconstructed without the
prior permission of a local board set up to oversee the maintenance and
preservation of these historic land marks. Most of them were built in the early
nineteenth century when there was a huge movement of people from coastal cities
toward the interior of the country where there are a lot of creeks, streams, and
raging rivers. As towns developed, there was an apparent need for people to be
connected and thus covered bridges were constructed.

But did you know that covered bridges' history dates back at least two thousand
years? There were ancient covered bridges in China and even in Babylon 780 years
before the birth of Christ. These ancient covered bridges, according to written
history, were more like architectural masterpieces used to accentuate the
landscape of imperial palaces and gardens. But they also served a more practical
purpose: covered bridges were perfect for protecting palaces and important
places from being stormed by rebels or invading armies. Some ancient covered
bridges were made of stone and because of its walls and ceilings, were perfect
spots to hide from arrows and spears while fighting.

In America, covered bridges first appeared in the early part of the 1800's. The
first was built by Theodore Burr in New York. His name is also being used these
days as a name of a truss usually used in building covered bridges: the Burr
truss. The bridge spanned the Hudson River and was named the Waterford Bridge.

Waterford lasted for over a hundred years but since then the idea of covered
bridges became more popular and started to gain popularity in the western part
of the country. The first and second covered bridges in recorded American
history can be found in Oregon City where they have become important
infrastructures in joining communities developing in both sides of the river.
They were eventually destroyed by heavy flooding in 1853.

Aside from the beauty and practicality of covered bridges, they were also a
necessary move in ensuring the economic development of towns and villages in
early America. In the days prior to their construction, ferries were the only
ways to go around towns developing on opposite sides of a river. Because of the
importance of connecting townspeople to important places like schools,
government offices, and churches, ferries had the monopoly in transportation and
could charge people, especially businessmen who needed to move heavy loads of
merchandise, absurd amounts as they wanted.

That in turn created a demand from townspeople to the local government asking
them to build bridges. Since financing the construction cost a lot, people
entertained the idea of protecting these bridges with roofs and walls. Exposed
wood can deteriorate quickly when exposed to harsh weather conditions, and since
it was expensive to build bridges, taxpayers wanted them to be protected. And
that ushered in the era of covered bridges in America.

Covered bridges also provided jobs for people in towns where they were built.
And soon architects and carpenters were competing on innovative ideas. One idea
was to make covered bridges look like barns as to make livestock crossing it
more comfortable, avoiding dangerous stampedes common when forcing animals to
cross rivers. Since the early 19th century, covered bridges have slowly made its
mark in towns' history and though it experienced a slow decline due to rapid
commercialization and the introduction of cement and other modern building
materials, covered bridges are now considered to be historic pieces worth

Covered Bridges and the People Who Built Them

When people think of covered bridges, they usually envision a wooden bridge with
picturesque, romantic details spanning smooth, calm waters. True in most parks
and private estates, but the building of covered bridges were originally done
for practical reasons - protection and development.

In the early days of young America, barges and ferries were the only means of
transportation in what was then a land filled with creeks, streams, and rivers.
As villages and towns grew, there was an apparent need to provide safer and more
economical means to transport huge numbers of people and merchandize across
waterways. This mandated the construction of bridges for the growth and
development of towns which grew on both sides of a river.

The early ones were crudely built and its span was usually that of the timber
used to build it. As the need grew, so did the bridges, and the more people
getting into the business of bridge-building, the more innovative it became.
People started using trusses and arches to lengthen bridges and soon they
started to use connected stringers.

Since bridges were not cheap to build and the materials and manpower used in the
process started to cost more as the years went by, there was a pressing need to
make sure the bridges last longer. Wood was the main construction material used
back then and it easily rots if exposed to extreme weather conditions during
winters and summers. To protect the bridges' trusses and joints, it was a good
idea to put roofs and walls -- and little did the first innovators know that it
would soon become the trend all over the country. The first covered bridge was
just partially covered.

It was in New York during the early part of the century. But after 1830, the
construction of wooden covered bridges spread quickly all over America and there
were probably thousands built throughout the 19th century. Now the industry has
a very rich past with people making their names in history because of the
bridges they built.

Benton Jones is the most famous builder of covered bridges throughout the
nineteenth century. His works include the famous bridges in Madison County which
were featured in an academy award winning movie. Many of his work survived the
ravages of time and commercialization and are now preserved as historic bridges.
His best work which still stands is the Roseman Covered Bridge which has lots of
romanticized stories that has made it one of the most famous bridges in American

Another amazing story about the people who built covered bridges was that of
Horace King, a slave who grew up in South Carolina and was one of the most
respected names in bridge building. King learned the art of building bridges
from his master, John Godwin. For sixteen years the two of them built bridges
together in states like Alabama, Georgia, and their hometown South Carolina.

But during the difficult years of the 1940s, King was granted his freedom by
Godwin as a sign of friendship and partnership. The two continued to build good
bridges all over the country until the year Godwin died. After that, three of
King's sons joined him in the bridge-building business. The Kings went on to
become one of the most respected families in the business of bridge
construction, building strong, sturdy bridges that still stand today. In
Georgia, most of the remaining bridges were built by the Kings and are
considered historic pieces protected by the National Registry of Historic

Covered bridges have a rich history in America, and fortunately these days, they
are treated like national treasures protected by law and are preserved to be
enjoyed by generations to come.

Top 5 Famous Covered Bridges in America

Covered bridges have been an integral part in America's history and growth.
There are almost 200 of them still being used and maintained for their
historical value. Since it first appeared in the early 19th century, these
bridges have helped define the towns that built them by connecting village folks
to services and infrastructures and directly connecting communities together.

Built for practical and functional reasons, covered bridges have become
important pieces of history and are registered as such in the National Register
of Historic Places. These days, modern bridges have been built using concrete
and steel but old covered bridges still are considered to be more artistic and
charming. The following are the most popular among old covered bridges that has
maintained its rustic and historic charm.

1. The Bridge of Sighs

Built by Henry Hutchinson, this famous bridge belongs to Cambridge University
and can be found in St John's College. It was built in 1831 and connects the
college's Third Court with the New Court and cros ses over the River Cam. This
gained popularity because of the pranks played by some students by dangling a
car under the bridge. It was also named after the Bridge of Sighs in Venice,
Italy but the two bridges have very little in common when it comes to their

2. Bitzer's Mill Covered Bridge

One of the oldest bridge still in use and enjoyed by the townspeople. It is
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. This bridge is owned by the county and is
maintained using public money because of its historic value. It was built by
George Fink and Sam Reamsnyder in 1846 and it only cost $1,115 dollars to put up
the bridge. It has been called many names like Martin's Mill Bridge, Eberly's
Cider Mill Covered Bridge, and Fiand's/Fiantz's Covered Bridge but its official
designation is Big Conestoga number 2 Bridge.

3. Bucher's Mill Covered Bridge

Considered as the second shortest covered bridge in America at 54 feet from one
side to the other, this historic piece is very popular among tourists. Just like
most covered bridge in the registry of historic places, it is owned and
maintained using public funds. It was built in 1891 by Elias McMellen using only
a single span of wooden truss. The building of the bridge only cost him $1,167.
But when it was destroyed due to heavy flooding a year after it was built,
McMellen rebuilt it for $1,025 -$142 cheaper than the original cost.

4. Hunsecker's Mill Covered Bridge

Located in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, United States. It is the longest
single span covered bridge in the county at 180 feet long. It spans the
Conestoga River and has been destroyed and rebuilt for number of times. The most
recent being in 1972 when it was destroyed by Hurricane Agnes. It was built in
1843 by John Russell and it cost him around $1,988. When it was last rebuilt,
the cost came to about $321,302. Though one of the most popular bridges in
America, it is sadly not registered as a historic place because aside from the
design, none of its original materials were used on its reconstruction.

5. Schenk's Mill Covered Bridge

Found in Pennsylvania, this covered bridge crosses the Big Chiques Creek in
Lancaster County. Built on a single span Burr arch truss, this historic landmark
is painted red and is mainly made of oak. Red is the traditional color of
Lancaster County and most bridges follow a red motif. It was added to the
National Register of Historic Places in 1980. It was built by friends Charles
Malhorn and Levi Fink in 1855, and has since been and important landmark in the
county, remembered by tourists for its unforgettable color and span.

The Famous (Covered) Bridges of Madison County

Made popular by a Hollywood movie in the 90's the covered bridges of Madison
County have gained popularity both from tourists and local people alike. The
romantic movie had a bridge on its story and many people are now visiting these
bridges to see what the fuss was all about. The following are a few of the most
famous covered bridges in Madison County. From the original 19, only 6 remain
and are now under the protection of the National Registry of Historical Places.

1. Cedar Covered Bridge

This famous covered bridge is 76 feet long and was also featured in the book by
Robert James Waller which was turned into an Academy Award wining movie. In the
book, this is where the characters of Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood met to
take photographs. This was also the last of the bridges to be opened for
vehicles to pass.

These days, largely because of its historical importance, only people are
allowed to use the bridge. In the late 2002, the bridge was severely damaged by
fire and rendered unsafe and fit for demolition. Fortunately, the bridge was
rebuilt using the original materials and method as it was first built, thanks to
the will of the townspeople who wanted to preserve its historic integrity.

2. Imes Covered Bridge

Moved three times since it was constructed in 1870, Imes is one of the oldest
bridges in the county's history. Imes spans 81 feet and is currently located in
eastern side of St. Charles where it is beautifully places over a deep ravine --
it's been there since 1977 and was last refurbished in 1997.

3. Roseman Covered Bridge

It is one of the most endearing landmarks of Madison County and was the one
featured in the movie. There are many stories about the bridge and its history
but let's start on the facts. It was built in 1883 by a man named Benton Jones
and it has never moved an inch even after going a few reconstructions -- the
latest being in 1992 to prepare it for a Hollywood movie set.

One of the most famous stories associated with the bridge was that of a jail
escapee who was trapped by the sheriff's men on the bridge in 1892. The story
goes that the escapee was wrongfully accused and escaped to prove his innocence.
Unfortunately, he got trapped in the bridge after a brief pursuit. He then
allegedly uttered an unearthly cry to show his frustration and prove his
innocence. Then suddenly, he rose from the floor of the bridge and went through
the roof as if he were a ghost. The man was never seen again and after the
incident it was then decided that a person capable of such a miraculous feat
must be telling the truth.

4. Holliwell Covered Bridge

The one of the longest covered bridge in the registry, this Holliwell covered
bridge has the span of a hundred and twenty two feet (122 ft.) and as also
featured in the movie The Bridges of Madison County. Spanning the Middle River,
this bridge still remains in its original site since it was built in 1880 by
Benton Jones with the support of the town.

5. Hogback Covered Bridge

This historic piece of architectural prize constructed in 1884 and was
originally located in Winterset. It was named after a ridge made of limestone
which can be found in the western side of the famous valley. It was last
renovated in the early nineties and is now protected and maintained using public

The Covered Bridges of Vermont

Vermont boasts of the most well-preserved and cherished of classic covered
bridges in the United States. Only a few covered bridges still remain in
Northfield but it still has the one of the highest number of historic covered
bridges in the country.

All of these bridges were a product of the most exciting era of development in
Vermont. In the late 1800's, there was a burst of roads and highways
construction which is considered to be the peak of Vermont's transportation
history. This growth spur led to the building of the famous covered bridges
which are now considered to be great historical pieces worth preserving for
future generations to see.

The weather in Vermont is very unpleasant during winter and covering bridges
where the most practical way to protect them from the damaging effects of snow
and extreme weather. Covered bridges can last up to three times longer than
ordinary bridges so aside form its beauty; it was also very practical to build
it in such as way that it can also serve as temporary shelter for weary
travelers avoiding terrible weather.

Over a hundred covered bridges still exists in the state of Vermont. Intensive
commercialization and expansion in the state's highway systems led to the slow
deterioration and inevitable neglect of these bridges. But even so, Vermont
still has highest concentration of these bridges in the entire county.

Nowadays, covered bridges are protected and maintained using public funds. There
are even laws protecting these historic bridges. No bridge can be demolished
without the prior permission of the board that oversees the management and
preservation of historical sites.

The first covered bridge in Vermont is the Northfield Falls Bridge which was
built around 1872 to facilitate the infrastructural development of the town. It
is also considered to be the longest in the state at around 137 feet, which is
far longer compa red to the other bridges within the area. There are many
preserved bridges in Northfield that it's the only state in America where one
can see another covered bridge right after crossing one.

This is especially true for three of the most well-preserved bridges: the Upper
Cox, Northfield Falls, and Lower Cox Covered Bridges. The only bridge that was
never altered structurally in the history of Vermont is the Slaughterhouse
covered bridge. It was named after a now abandoned local slaughterhouse just
across the Dog River. Another popular covered bridge is the Stony Brook Covered
Bridge. Said to be the last representative of the time in which Vermont saw the
greatest construction of covered bridges, this bridge is now considered to be
one of the most important and historically significant in the covered bridges of

Vermont is such a historical state and the cities within it are taking great
efforts to preserve historical pieces from deterioration -- both buildings and
bridges. The country has seen a tremendous increase of interest in preserving
covered bridges and Vermont, which has one of the highest numbers of such
bridges, is taking the lead.

Laws are enacted and revised whenever the need for preservation arises, and
thanks to the interest of the townspeople where these bridges can be found, the
future for these historic pieces looks good. A road trip to this magnificent
state will surely allow one to witness the beauty and history of the covered
bridges of Vermont.

Ohio's Lost Covered Bridges

Covered bridges have been around since ancient times. In Babylon, some 780 years
before the birth of Christ, people have used the practicality of covered bridges
in their lives by using roofs and ceilings to protect important bridges from the
deteriorating effects of the weather. They also served a militaristic purpose as
covered bridges are good spots to defend a palace from invading forces because
stone walls and ceilings were obviously perfect in stopping arrows and spears.

America came to love this style of building bridges since the early nineteenth
century when Theodore Burr built the first one in New York. People were
fascinated by the practicality and durability these bridges offer. Two more were
built in Oregon after the first one but unfortunately floods destroyed them a
year after they were built. That did not deter the rest of America from adapting
the style however, as the succeeding years since that time saw the building of
thousands all over America which ushered the era of the covered bridges.

Covered bridges were the best and most practical solution in connecting towns
and villages growing on both sides of a river. Ferries were the norm before
bridges became common but they were not good for a developing economy. Owners of
ferries could charge whatever they want because they had the monopoly in
transportation. This led to a growing demand from local townspeople to build

The local governments at the time, seeing the importance of bridges, then
started to put the construction as their top priority. Putting on roofs and
walls made to protect the bridges was seen as protecting the taxpayer's
investment since covered bridges lasted up to three times longer than ordinary,
exposed ones.

They also serve a myriad of purposes, from providing temporary shelters for
travelers stuck because of bad weather to a rendezvous point for secret lovers.
No matter what the purpose, the rest of the country fell in love with covered
bridges that the ones left now are protected by law and seen as historic pieces
worth preserving.

There were at least 12,000 covered bridges all over America at one time and
there were around 3,500 of them found in Ohio. However these days, because of
rapid commercialization, the availability of new construction materials, and the
durability of cement-made bridges, wooden covered bridges are slowly
disappearing and have become very hard to find. Some of the historic covered
bridges were moved to private estates and parks, while others could no longer be
found. Vandalism and arson have also played a role in the destruction of covered
bridges in Ohio where at least 10 were destroyed in the last 20 years.

However these days great effort has been made in protecting and preserving these
bridges. In Fairfield County, one can still see a covered bridge built in 1883.
Though it was moved and partially reconstructed, the same materials and styles
were used to preserve its historical integrity. College campuses, private lands,
fairgrounds, public parks, and government-owned lands are a few places where you
can still find a few of these bridges still being used.

Covered bridges in Ohio are treated as public property and therefore maintained
and protected using public funds. Form 3500, only over a hundred covered bridges
are left in Ohio where people are now taking on the fight to preserve them.
Ohioans has enjoyed and benefited from covered bridges since they were first
made, and now the great-grand children of the state are doing the best they can
to stop the slow disappearance of these historic landmarks that has helped shape
the economy and history of America.

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