Friday, December 31, 2010

A Covered Bridge Near Mount Jackson, Virginia

Austin and I were driving and talking, with a little country music on the radio.    We were going nowhere -- just enjoying the scenery -- when I spied this nice little country lane with trees sentried down the side.  On a whim, I turned down the road explaining that I liked little country roads like this, as they always promised groundhogs in the adjacent fields.  

Much to my surprise, about a half mile down the road, we came across this wonderful covered bridge over the North Fork of the Shenandoah River.

It turns out this covered bridge is the longest covered bridge in Virginia, stretcheing 204-feet.  The entire distance is supported by two wooden single-span Burr Arch Truss' which you can see in the pictures, above.  A very impressive bit of timber!

The Meems Bottom Bridge (its official name) was constructed in 1892 by Franklin Wissler and is located on Wissler Road. Mr. Wisslers' apple orchard was on one side of the North Fork, while the rest of his Strathmore Farm property was on the other side.   This bridge connected the two bits of land, and was covered to extend the lifespan of the trusses and to help shed the weight of snow in winter.

Mr. Wissler deeded the bridge to the state in the 1930s in exchange for a promise that they maintain it. Burned by vandals in 1975, it was rebuilt using much of the old timbers, albeit with some new steel girders underneath to stiffen it up and allow the road to carry heavy modern trucks. Yes, this road and the bridge are still in constant use to this day!



Seahorse said...

I'm amazed that you could find such a wonder by accident! This is a gorgeous structure, and hopefully will last many more years.


Gina said...

Is it possible that this bridge was in the James Stewart movie "Shenandoah"? I just watched it Saturday night -- don't recommend it, and neither, I wager, would Mr. Stewart were he still alive -- but I SWEAR this bridge looks like the one the Confederate soldiers were hiding in the rafters of when the Union soldiers road through.

PBurns said...

The Earnest Bridge, a very similar covered bridge near Marcola, Oregon was used in that 1965 movie. The Earnest Birdge, however, is only 81 feet, so this one in Virginia is quite a bit longer.