Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Oregon Covered Bridges - SCIO REGION

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 eight 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 the Scio area bridges, 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, therefore, my vote for Oregon Covered Bridge Capital...goes to Scio.
Here is what we discovered in the
SCIO REGION.
Hoffman Covered Bridge
World Guide Number: 37-22-08
Linn County
The Hoffman Covered Bridge was built in 1936 with the Howe truss design and spans 90 feet across Crabtree Creek.
This bridge is one mile northeast of the town of Crabtree. Both the town and the creek were named for John Crabtree, who settled in the area in 1845.
Gothic style windows grace this structure, instead of the usual open Linn County truss design.
The portal design, originally rounded when the bridge was constructed, was enlarged and squared to allow passage of larger loads. The upper chords show signs of being shaped by hand and as most bridge crews in 1936 had yet to use power tools, logs were often cut nearby.
Shaping of the chord timbers was done with hand adzes prior to being placed across the stream.
The bridge location and Crabtree Creek setting can make an afternoon experience of swimming a venture into the past.  It is easy to see families along the sandy shore picnicking and enjoying the water on a hot Sunday afternoon.
 The Hoffman Covered Bridge is a great location to retreat and get away from the everyday hustle of today's fast paced life.  A step back in time will be discovered here.
 To get there from I-5, at the Albany exit, take Highway 226 (US Route 20) (exit 233) east to Crabtree Drive. Exit the highway and travel to the town of Crabtree. From Crabtree travel north on Hungry Hill Drive for approximately 1 mile.
______________________________
Larwood Covered Bridge
World Guide Number: 37-22-06
Linn County
The Larwood Covered Bridge was built in 1939 with the Howe truss design and spans 105 feet across Crabtree Creek.  The covered span is located next to the Larwood Wayside Park.
A unique feature also at this site is the Roaring River, which empties into Crabtree Creek near the bridge.  Roaring River is the only river to flow into a creek; an oddity in U. S. geography that was featured in Ripley's Believe It or Not.  (Creeks flow into rivers, and not the other way around.)
The attractive Larwood Bridge was built to Highway Commission specifications, which included a standard partially exposed trusses, white-wash interior and rounded portals.
The Larwood community was named for William Larwood, who settled on the banks of Crabtree Creek and Roaring River in 1888. He platted the little town, built a store and blacksmith shop, and operated a post office from 1893 to 1903.
A prior covered bridge was built about this time over Crabtree Creek, and for a while, covered bridges spanned Roaring River and Crabtree Creek just a few feet apart.
The town and old covered bridges are gone, but the rebuilt water powered mill and the present covered bridge are reminders of the area's previous activities.
A scene at the bridge I wish I was able to capture was a traditional October hay ride crossing the bridge as we arrived.  If only we got there a few minutes sooner.  The Larwood Covered Bridge didn't disappoint.  A nice little park nearby was the perfect place for our picnic lunch.
To our right, the Roaring River, to our left, Crabtree Creek.
For lunch we had turkey sandwiches with cream cheese and cranberry sauce, and fresh homemade salsa and chips.  After lunch we took one last look around Larwood.
(Larwood Covered Bridge from Crabtree Creek.)
Here, Mom smiles for the camera with the Roaring River making its way past the fall colors of Big Leave Maples.  She took the picture below...of the Roaring River.
(My mother is becoming a great photographer)
To get there from I-5, at the Albany exit, take Highway 226 (US Route 20) (exit 233) east to the community of Crabtree. From Crabtree travel east on Highway 226 approximately 1 mile to Fish Hatchery Drive. Travel east on Fish Hatchery Road for approximately 6 miles.
__________________________________
Gilkey Covered Bridge
World Guide Number: 37-22-04
Linn County
The Gilkey Covered Bridge was built in 1939 with the Howe truss design and spans 120 feet across Thomas Creek.
Gilkey was once a town of some activity, as noted by a nearby sign: "Gilkey Station was established when the railroad arrived in 1880 and was named in honor of Allen and William Gilkey. Gilkey served as a shipping point for farm products."
Just about all but the sign and the bridge are now gone, and the sign is totally faded.
The familiar swimming rope is tied to the framework of the bridge, and during the summer swimmers enjoy this area of Thomas Creek.
The Gilkey Covered Bridge with the nearby rail bridge centered within the farm setting can easily take you back in time. It wasn't hard to imagine the days of innocence, much like in the 1986 movie, Stand By Me.

The four friends overhear some guys discussing the location of a body killed by a train.  The four decide to set out on this adventurous journey to find the body of the town bully.
In Oregon, the movie was filmed in nearby Brownsville, and Cottage Grove.  But, I feel the setting of the Gilkey Covered Bridge would have been a perfect location as well.  I can easily imagine the four boys beginning their adventure "leaving town" by passing the Gilkey Covered Bridge on the rail.
 ____________________________
In 1997, the bridge had to be closed due to damage caused by an overloaded vehicle. The load had overstressed the bridge and broke the timber shear keys in some of the lower chord joints. Temporary cables were installed to keep the bridge up under its own weight.
Permanent repairs were designed and constructed in 1998 and the bridge was reopened to traffic.
There are five covered bridges in the Scio Region.  All five you can drive across.  For this alone, I think Scio wins the title of being the "Covered Bridge Capital of Oregon."
(My mother took this great shot.)
To get to the Gilkey bridge From Interstate 5, take exit 238 and travel east to Jefferson. Just east of the arch bridge over the Santiam River, turn right on South Main Street and continue until the street turns into Jefferson-Scio Drive. Continue east towards Scio and turn right (south) onto Robinson Drive. As Robinson Drive curves east, turn right on Goar Road and travel 1.5 miles to the bridge. Alternately, travel one-half mile south of Scio on Highway 226, then three miles west on Gilkey Road. Turn north on Goar Road and travel 0.5 mile to the bridge.
________________________________
Shimanek Covered Bridge
World Guide Number: 37-22-03
Linn County
The Shimanek Covered Bridge was built in 1966 with the Howe truss design and spans 103 feet across Thomas Creek.
The bridge is Linn County's newest and longest covered span.
The current bridge is the fifth bridge built at this location, and the fourth being covered.
It has been rumored that the 1891 bridge had a welcomed accommodation of a two-hole toilet built into the foundation, a "luxury" not found at the current covered bridge.
The day we visited the Scio covered bridges was a warm fall sunny afternoon.  This was the first trip we encountered other bridge goers.  Other weekend day trips to the bridges left us to ourselves when at the bridges, but because the weather was so nice, and the fall colors at its peek, every bridge in the Scio region had tourists besides us.  We soon realized how '"spoiled" we were on our other trips having the covered bridges to ourselves. 
It took us a while to "rid" the others from the area, so we could get a shot of just us and the bridge.
Despite the "unwanted" visitors, my mother and I were both able to capture the natural beauty surrounding the only red colored covered bridge in the Scio region.  My mother took this great reflection shot, (above), through the window of the covered bridge.
The Shimanek Covered Bridge is the perfect setting for some summer fun water activities.  The only thing missing though is a rope swing.
  The covered bridge is on the northern end of a long straight-a-way.  The road is Richardsons Gap.  Vehicles would "fly" through the bridge at speeds reaching 40 to 50 mph.  It is not the safest covered bridge to visit if you're wanting to spend some time on the bridge.

To get there from Interstate 5, take exit 238 and travel east to Jefferson. Just east of the arch bridge over the Santiam River, turn right on South Main Street and continue until the street becomes Jefferson-Scio Drive. Continue east into Scio and turn left onto Highway 226. Follow Highway 226 two miles east and turn left (north) onto Richardsons Gap Road.
____________________________________
Hannah Covered Bridge
World Guide Number: 37-22-02
Linn County
The Hannah Covered Bridge was built in 1936 using the Howe truss design and spans 105 feet across Thomas Creek.
The Hannah Bridge is the youngest of the five covered spans on Thomas Creek in Linn County. The Howe trusses are exposed through the large side openings on the bridge.
This characteristic is an attractive feature known to the Linn County covered bridge design, which also includes segmental portal arches, exposed beams at the gable ends, and white board-and-batten cladding.
Check out this YOUTUBE clip I found of someone driving across the Hannah Covered Bridge...

In 1912, another covered bridge crossed Thomas Creek just east of the present structure, according to Aileen Howell, granddaughter of Hannah. Lumber from the dismantled bridge was used by the Hannah family to build a tool shed and sheep barn.
 According to the internet and a few book, the Hannah Covered Bridge has been the site of many television commercials.  But I was unable to find any of these commercials.
During the summer months, the bridge is a popular spot for swimmers often jumping from the bridge into the deep pool beneath.
My mother and I actually visited the Scio covered bridges twice.  On our first visit, the lighting was not good and it was getting too dark to see much of anything.  But I was able to capture a night shot of a car passing through the bridge.
The Hannah Covered Bridge was another popular tourist site with others when we stopped by.  Again, I had to wait for others to get out of my camera view.  This was made difficult when another photographer was also waiting for me to get out of his shot.  It became a game of "who-will-move-first".  I won.
A store known as Thomas' Y Store and service station were once located near the picturesque Hannah Covered Bridge shown in the 1960's photo below.
To get there from Interstate 5, take exit 238 and travel east to Jefferson. Just east of the arch bridge over the Santiam River, turn right on South Main Street and continue until the street becomes Jefferson-Scio Drive. Continue east into Scio and turn left onto Highway 226. Follow Highway 226 approximately six miles west to Camp Morrison Drive and turn right (south). Alternately, exit Highway 226 from Interstate 5 in Albany and travel to Scio.

1 comment:

Reuben said...

The store and filling station are still next to the Hannah Bridge. Two of the gas pumps are still there, too. I think the store is now a house.