Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Oregon Covered Bridges - SWEET HOME / MARCOLA 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.
Here is what we discovered in the
Crawfordsville Covered Bridge
World Guide Number: 37-22-15
Linn County
The Crawfordsville Covered Bridge was built in 1932 with the Howe truss design and spans 105 feet across the Calapooyia River.  The bridge displays another version of Linn County’s open truss style.
The roofed span shows a narrow slit window on both sides of the structure.  You can see my mother waving at me from the narrow window.
Originally the portals were rounded, but were later enlarged by State Highway employees to allow larger loads. Linn County turned the structure over to the Highway Commission when the road was designated a state highway.
In 1963, the bridge was bypassed and the state relinquished control to Linn County. The title has since passed to the Linn County Parks and Recreation Department.
The bridge made its television movie appearance in the 1976 popular movie, Flood. 
Little upkeep or repair occurred in the 1970s. Crew members from the movie, Flood, painted the span, and local residents repainted some of the bridge’s interior in the early 1980s.  Growing brush, trees and weeds began to hide the bridge, and in the summer of 1986, volunteers from the Covered Bridge Society of Oregon organized a cleanup day at the bridge site.
In the real flood of 1996, the bridge sustained severe damage from drift, which tore through the side skirting and hit a floor beam. Several of the one-inch diameter tie rods were broken or bent, leaving only two upstream tie rods and one downstream supporting the floor beam. The County received a grant from the Oregon Covered Bridge Program in the amount of $24,400 to replace four floor beams, supporting tie rods, replace one corbel and paint the bridge.
To get there from Interstate 5, take Highway 228 (exit 216) east through Brownsville to Crawfordsville. Crawfordsville Bridge is located at the west end of Crawfordsville, beside Highway 228.
Weddle Covered Bridge

World Guide Number: 37-22-05
Linn County
The Weddle Covered Bridge was originally built in 1937. The bridge originally spanned Thomas Creek.  The bridge was bypassed in 1980 by a concrete bridge downstream, and the wood covered bridge was left neglected. The deteriorated bridge eventually became a safety issue, and the span was scheduled to be demolished.
 Many Linn County residents believed that this bridge was lost forever when workers yanked it apart in October 1987.  This action sparked protests by local covered bridge enthusiasts. As the story goes, one person chained himself to a bulldozer to prevent the bridge’s demise.
The covered bridge enthusiasts engaged Senator Mae Yih, a local legislator who became a leader in saving Oregon’s covered bridges. Through her efforts, the Oregon Legislature created the Oregon Covered Bridge Program which helped fund covered bridge maintenance and rehabilitation projects throughout the state.
The Weddle Bridge became the first covered bridge project to receive grants under that program.
In 1989, a Sweet Home group known as the Cascade Forest Resource Center was formed to rebuild the Weddle Bridge in Sankey Park.

The historic Weddle Covered Bridge was built with the Howe truss design and now spans 120 feet across Ames Creek. Much of the planning to rebuild the bridge was done with assistance from the Jordan Bridge Company, the group that rebuilt the Jordan Bridge in Stayton. The Jordan group and the Covered Bridge Society of Oregon inspired additional fundraising.
Because of this grass-roots funding effort, coupled with community dedication, the Weddle Bridge restoration became a big success.  In addition to the historic value, the bridge is the site for weddings and community events and now stands as an example of what can be done to preserve Oregon’s covered bridges.
Before leaving the park, we noticed another covered bridge in the area.  Just a few hundred feet from the Weddle Covered Bridge, sat this unnamed miniature.  It was the perfect size for the dogs to enjoy.
On the other hand, Pynekone wasn't too thrilled with the small bridge.
To get to the Weddle Covered Bridge from Interstate 5, take the Albany exit US Route 20 (exit 233) southeast through Lebanon to Sweet Home. From Highway 20 turn south at 12th Avenue. Turn east on Kalmia Street and then south on 14th Avenue for two blocks. Sankey Park is on the left. Alternately, exit Interstate 5 at exit 216 and travel east through Crawfordsville to Sweet Home.
Dahlenburg Covered Bridge
World Guide Number: 37-22-c
Linn County
The Dahlenburg Covered Bridge was built by the Sweet Home High School Building Trades class of 1989, under the direction of Teacher Ben Dahlenburg, as a class/community project.  The completed 20 foot bridge allowed access from the school to Sankey Park, crossing Ames Creek.
 Mr. Dahlenburg was originally approached to build a covered bridge replica, to be used as a footbridge over Ames Creek and he was willing to use his skills, students and time to accomplish the assignment. He and his students built the replica version to scale after the Short Covered Bridge located a few miles to the east.

The little bridge was appropriately named The Dahlenburg Bridge, named after the teacher. With that project complete, knowledge of the possibility to acquire a dismantled bridge from Linn County came to light, and the Weddle Covered Bridge joined the Ames Creek crossing.
To get there, follow the same direction given for the Wendle Covered Bridge.
Whittemore Covered Bridge
World Guide Number: 37-22-d
Linn County
The same class that built the Dahlenburg Covered Bridge also built a second portable 8 foot wide, 20 foot long covered bridge that was used in parades to promote conservation and restoration of covered bridges.

This bridge was later purchased by Joel Whittemore, who later decided not to claim it. He later donated it as a foot bridge for Clover Memorial Park, with the stipulation that it be named after him. The Joel Whittemore Covered Bridge spans Stone Brook Creek.
To get there, travel to Sweet Home and the bridge is located in Clover Memorial Park on the west end of town. 
Earnest Covered Bridge
World Guide Number: 37-20-35
Lane County
The Earnest Covered Bridge was built with the Howe truss design in 1938 and spans 75 feet over the Mohawk River.
The Earnest Bridge appeared in the movie "Shenandoah," filmed in the Mohawk Valley during the mid-1960s. The movie company requested permission from the county to "alter" the bridge to reflect Civil War architecture, and promised to restore the bridge to equal or better condition.  The promise was kept, and the span received new siding and paint in 1965.
The original covered bridge at this site, an 83-foot structure called the Adams Bridge, was built in 1903. When Lane County replaced it in 1938, the $2,449 cost included $72 for wrecking the old bridge.
To get there from I-5, exit onto I-105 east and travel a few miles to Marcola Road. Follow Marcola Road approximately 14 miles. Earnest Bridge is visible from Marcola Road and is located on Paschelke Road.
Wendling Covered Bridge
World Guide Number: 37-20-36
Lane County
The Wendling Covered Bridge was built with the Howe truss design in 1938 and spans 60 feet across Mill Creek.
In the 1890s, George Wendling, director of Booth-Kelly Lumber Company, established a post office in the small town, which also bears his name.
Like the nearby Earnest Bridge, the Wendling Bridge showed faded, peeling circus posters pasted on its walls between truss members announcing upcoming events until time, moisture and visitors removed them.
The Wendling Covered Bridge is a very simple design with not a whole lot of character.  The dog's enjoyed visiting the bridge...they got a treat.
Baby carrots make for a simple healthy snack for the dog's while on such long driving trips.
They're just happy to get out of the car.
To get to the Wendling Covered Bridge from the Earnest Bridge, follow Paschelke Road about 1.3 miles to Wendling Road. Turn east on Wendling Road to Mile Point 3.5.  Also from Springfield you can follow the Marcola Road to the Wendling Road. 

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