In October 2009, my mother and I, and the four dogs, began a venture that would end up taking us on a journey throughout the western half of the state of Oregon. Our goal was to visit all of Oregon's covered bridges. We accomplished this goal in six weekend day trips. I have divided the covered bridges into nine regions.
Cottage Grove is known as the "Covered Bridge Capital of Oregon". Six of the covered bridges in Lane County are located in or around the City. Though they claim to be the "Capital," I honestly believe the title should have gone to Scio.
To justify this statement, here are the facts. Of the six covered bridges in the Cottage Grove area, only two are driveable by car, and only one of the two is still a part of the commuting road system, and only five are historically built bridges. In Scio region, you can drive over five of the Scio's five covered bridges, and all five are still a part of the commuting road system, and all are built historically. Though Cottage Grove has a diverse collection of covered bridge, my vote for Oregon Covered Bridge Capital still goes to Scio.
Here is what we discovered in the
COTTAGE GROVE REGION.
World Guide Number: 37-20-e
The Centennial Covered Bridge was built in 1987 for Cottage Grove's 100th birthday Centennial and spans 84 feet across the Coast Fork Willamette River. At the dedication ceremony a time capsule was encased in the entrance of the bridge containing items from the 1980s.
The primarily volunteer effort to build the bridge proved to be a success.
The Society does not recognize three other pedestrian covered bridges in Oregon that have played a role in the historic significance to the preservation of Oregon's covered bridges...the Dahlenburg and Whittmore replica bridges in Sweet Home, and the Canyonville Pedestrian bridge in Canyonville.
Chambers Railroad Covered Bridge
World Guide Number: 37-20-40
The current Chambers Railroad Covered Bridge was built in 1936 using the Howe truss design and spans 78 feet across the Coast Fork of the Willamette River.
COTTAGE GROVE, Ore. February 17, 2010
The race is on to save the historic Chambers Railroad Bridge. But will the trestle tumble first?
The Cottage Grove City Council passed an emergency resolution Tuesday night to speed up removal of the long-neglected 125-year-old span over the Willamette River. But the plan must first be approved by state and federal regulators.
Last year, Cottage Grove received a $1.3 million grant from the National Historic Covered Bridge Preservation Program. Meyers said city officials originally planned to remove the bridge last summer but pushed back the timeline a year because of red tape.
Meyers said the city wants to begin removing the bridge as early as next week. The plan is then to rebuild the bridge as a tourist destination, with better access and historical panels. The city is chipping in nearly $140,000 for the project and collecting donations from the public.
To get there, exit I-5 at Cottage Grove. Travel south on Highway 99 to Harrison Avenue. Turn west on Harrison to Old River Road. Turn south on Old River Road. Chambers RR is off of Old River Road just south of Harrison.
Mosby Covered Bridge
World Guide Number: 37-20-27
The Mosby Covered Bridge was built in 1920 with the Howe truss design and spans 90 feet across Mosby Creek.
To get there, travel one mile east of Cottage Grove on Row River Road. Follow the sign to Mosby Creek Road by turning right, and crossing the railroad track. Turn left on Mosby Creek Road and travel southeast two miles to the bridge. Alternately, from Currin Bridge continue southwest on Layng Road to Mile Point 0.2 to Mosby Creek Bridge.
Stewart Covered Bridge
World Guide Number: 37-20-28
The Stewart Covered Bridge was built in 1930 with the Howe truss design and spans 60 feet across Mosby Creek.
Repairs to the bridge once again made it usable, and it carried a 20-ton limit until it was bypassed in the mid-1980s by a concrete span.
Dorena Covered Bridge
World Guide Number: 37-20-23
The Dorena Covered Bridge was built in 1945 with the Howe truss design and spans 105 feet across the Row River. The pronunciation of the "Row" River rhymes with "Cow".
Once a large and proud estate, the ranch has been reduced to about 100 acres.
The state-designed bridge was bypassed in 1974 by a concrete span. You can still drive across the Dorena Covered Bridge, but the driving is for tourist purposes only. Once across the bridge, you have to turn around and drive back over it. The Dorena Covered Bridge is one of the widest covered bridges in Oregon.
The original town site, named for Dora Burnette and Rena Martin (by combining parts of their first names) is underwater at the bottom of the reservoir.
The lumber industry developed and used the rails to ship logs to Cottage Grove. Until 1987, the rails were used by a steam-powered excursion train. The cost of liability insurance increased too much to keep it going, and only freight traffic passes today.
A few miles up river from the Dorena Covered Bridge, you'll find the Wildwood Falls. This small break in the otherwise relatively calm Row River is known for being one of the best swimming holes in the area.
To get to the Dorena Covered Bridge, travel five miles east of Cottage Grove on Row River Road to the junction of Government Road. Continue east on Government Road seven miles to the bridge.