Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Oregon Covered Bridges - UMPQUA 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 nine regions.
Here is what we discovered in the
Pass Creek Covered Bridge
World Guide Number: 37-10-02
Douglas County
The Pass Creek Covered Bridge was built in 1925 with the Howe truss design and spans 61 feet across Pass Creek.

Although the official date of construction of the current Pass Creek Bridge is listed as 1925, members of the Umpqua Historic Preservation Society attest the span was constructed in 1906.
Mamie Krewson Matoon, who was born in 1894, remembered a covered bridge over Pass Creek as a child. "It was an old bridge at the time. Long before Drain had lights, we packed a lantern on dark nights when going through it in a hack drawn by two horses."

Old timers recall the Pass Creek Bridge provided excitement around 1920 when a horse-drawn wagon crashed through the floor while hauling supplies for a Thanksgiving turkey shoot.  The wagon dropped below the decking, and the turkey's fell to their death drowning in the cold creek below.
It is probable the covered wagon bridge at this location was either rebuilt or replaced in 1925, displacing the earlier span. Holes in the lower chords indicate that it may have been salvaged from another bridge. Today a concrete bridge now crosses Pass Creek where the old wooden structure once rested.

The wooden bridge was closed to traffic in 1981, causing the handful of local residents surrounding the span to maneuver under a cramped railroad trestle to get to their homes.  But in the fall of 1987, six years after the bridge closing, the roof and siding of the covered bridge were removed, a 90-ton crane lifted the trusses and moved them one block away where the structure was fixed and reassembled the following year.
Also along the Highway 38 Corridor, Roosevelt Elk can be seen in abundance.

To get there from Interstate 5, take Highway 38, exit 162, to Drain.  In Drain, take West B Street, turn south onto 2nd Street and go one block to West A Street. Located in the city of Drain, behind Drain Civic Center at 205 W. A Street.
Rochester Covered Bridge
World Guide Number: 37-10-04
Douglas County
The Rochester Covered Bridge was built in 1933 with the Howe truss design and spans 80 feet across the Calapooya Creek...not to be confused with the Calapooya River to the Willamette North.

 The design of this bridge is unique among Oregon roofed structures, featuring windows having graceful curved tops.

With the droopy-eyed appearance, the Rochester Covered Bridge is one of the most beautiful "rustic-farm" styled Oregon covered bridges.

In the late 1950s, a nearby covered span was torched and destroyed by a county crew to make way for a new concrete bridge. Rumors had spread that the Rochester bridge would meet the same fate.

Many local residents feared that those same county workers who favored progress would wait until nightfall to burn the Rochester Bridge.  The locals sat through the night with guns and rifles to safeguard the dilapidated structure. With the arrival of daylight, the bridge was safe.

County commissioners then promised the residents the bridge would not be burned. The Rochester Bridge was remodeled in 1969 when county crews worked to replace portal boarding, the approaches and the abutments.

The Rochester Covered Bridge sits perfectly amongst the traditional rolling hills of the Umpqua basin.  Farmlands surround the area.  The transition from a wet hemlock and fir temperate forest to the drier pine and oak forest collide here.  The area is quiet, peaceful, beautiful...just don't mess with their covered bridge.

To get there from Interstate 5 and Sutherlin, travel west on Highway 138 approximately two miles to Sterns Lane. Turn north on Sterns Lane to Rochester Road. The bridge is just north of the intersection of Sterns Lane and Rochester Road.
Cavitt Creek Covered Bridge
World Guide Number: 37-10-06
Douglas County
The Cavitt Creek Bridge was built in 1943 with the Howe truss design and spans 70 feet across Little River.

Locals also refer to this bridge as the Little River covered bridge, mainly because the bridge actually crosses the Little River and not Cavitt Creek.

The word "Creek" in the bridge title is inaccurate.  The word should have been "Road."  The bridge is on Cavitt Creek Road, but the bridge crosses the Little River...making this bridge's name the only Oregon covered bridge crossing a river with creek in its title.  Confused yet?
The Howe truss design features Tudor arch portals to accommodate heavy log truck usage, and the upper and lower chords utilize raw logs as its members. Each side of the roofed structure sports three windows, and long narrow slits above each truss allow "day-lighting" as well as ventilation for the bridge interior.
The bridge has a metal roof and a floor with longitudinal running planks. The covered structure sits on concrete piers.
The Cavitt Creek covered bridge was included in the thematic nomination of Oregon's covered bridges to the National Register in 1979, but was not listed at the request of the County.
Not far the Cavitt Covered Bridge sits the Cavitt Creek County Park.  The park is where we ate lunch before heading off to the next covered bridge.
The park was a great location to let the dogs roam.  My mother also enjoyed working the water well.  She said there was one of these pumps back on her parent's farm...bringing back childhood memories.
Maxx watched cautiously while the pump filled and over flowed his water bowl.
The Roseburg area rolling hills are like no others in southern Oregon. From the Cavitt Covered Bridge, to our next, Horse Creek Covered Bridge, we drove the back roads venturing through winding farm roads, delicate communities, and fields of green with splashes of brilliant yellow.
 To get to the Cavitt Covered Bridge from Roseburg, take Highway 138 east to Glide. Just before entering Glide turn south on Little River Road. The bridge is approximately seven miles south of Highway 138 at the intersection of Little River Road and Cavitt Creek Road (county roads 17 and 82).
Horse Creek Covered Bridge
World Guide Number: 37-10-12
Douglas County
Built in 1930, Horse Creek Covered Bridge originally spanned 105 feet across Horse Creek in the vicinity of McKenzie Bridge in Lane County.
Although a concrete span in 1968 had bypassed the bridge, it was not removed until December of 1987.
The bridge's wooden timbers were given to the City of Cottage Grove for salvage. Cottage Grove used some of the timbers to construct a small-scale covered bridge in their park. The remaining lumber was donated to the City of Myrtle Creek in the spring of 1990, and from there, a covered bridge was born.
The new structure now spans the stream of Myrtle Creek, providing access from a parking area into the Mill Site Park in downtown Myrtle Creek.
Prior to the removal and scattering of its timbers, this bridge was listed on the National Historic Register.
Several volunteers and donations made the “new” bridge possible.  These much appreciated people and businesses are honored by their names printed on the inside-ceiling roof.
To get there, exit Interstate 5 at Myrtle Creek. Follow Highway 99, the main street through downtown. The bridge is to the west in Mill Site Park.
Neal Lane Covered Bridge
World Guide Number: 37-10-07
Douglas County
The Neal Lane Bridge was built in 1929 with the Kingpost truss design and spans 42 feet across the South Myrtle Creek near the town of Myrtle Creek.

The bridge has at least two unique distinctions: it is one of the shortest covered bridges in Oregon, and is the only roofed span in Oregon using a Kingpost truss design.
The 42-foot wooden bridge appears even shorter with the addition of the narrow long windows. Can you see my mother in the window?
The bridge spans a stream used heavily for irrigation, therefore, water levels are often constant.
Travelers crossing the bridge will note its quaint cross-wise plank flooring, a single large window on both sides, a metal roof and a 5-ton weight limit.
The Neal Covered Bridge was a great little unique bridge to visit.  The little bridge calls you back to a simpler time when picnics were likely held on the banks of the creek with the giggling sounds of children playing in the background.

To get there from the city center of Myrtle Creek travel south on Main Street to Riverside Drive. Head east on Riverside Drive to Day's Creek Cut Off Road. Travel South on Day's Creek Cut-off Road to Neal Lane.
Canyon Creek Covered Bridge
World Guide Number: 37-10-c
Douglas County
The Canyon Creek Covered Pedestrian Bridge was built in 1976 with a steal beam design and spans 75 feet across Canyon Creek.
The World Guide Number now ends with a letter, indicating the span is not a true truss supported bridge.  The letter is in lower case, indicating the bridge is a non-vehicle bridge.
The Canyon Creek Bridge in Canyonville could be mistaken as part of Pioneer Park's landscaping design rather than a functional pathway over the creek in Canyonville.  None-the-less, it does make a nice addition to the park.
Standing in the middle of the bridge, the swift current drowns out the noise from the freeway.  It also drowns out any conversation you might be having with a friend.  It would not be the romantic bridge you'd want to propose on...the water is too noisy.  She say, "what?" instead of "yes!"
To get there, head south on I-5 from Roseburg to Canyonville. Take Canyonville Exit 99. Follow the signs directing driver's downtown. Follow Main Street south, turn left onto Third Street then left onto Canyon Avenue. The bridge is adjacent to Pioneer Park.
Milo Academy Covered Bridge
World Guide Number: 37-10-A
Douglas County
The Milo Academy Covered Bridge was built in 1962 with a steel girder truss design and spans 100 feet across the South Umpqua River.
The bridge at the Seventh Day Adventist Academy near Milo is a one-of-a-kind in Oregon covered bridge history. The covering certainly is not a structural necessity but fills an aesthetic need, as it is Oregon's only steel bridge housed in wood.

The World Guide Number now ends with a letter, indicating the span was not built with a true truss support.

The letter is in capital form; indicating vehicles can use the covered bridge.
Since 1920, residents had a covered bridge serving the academy across the South Umpqua River. When the wooden covered bridge was replaced with a steel span, the community felt it had lost a part of its identity.
The steel structure was then modified to include the wooden housing, and today the white covered bridge stands as a reminder to the residents of their previous covered bridge.
For me, the Milo Academy bridge had an industrial esthetic unattractive look more so than the usual beautiful designed country styled covered bridge found in Oregon.  I was also disappointed to see they still had the Christmas lights attached to the bridge in early October?  One would wonder, why puts lights on the bridge at all, especially knowing that Christmas lights were the cause that destroyed the historic Jordan Covered Bridge.  The best locations to photograph this bridge is from either up or down stream.   
To get there from Canyonville and I-5, travel east on Third Street and continue through Days Creek to the community of Milo. The bridge is located east of Milo at Milepost 20.5.

Red Mountain Lookout
~ Fire Watch Tower ~

The watchtower once sat atop Red Mountain, but was brought to the historic Tiller Ranger Station and restored.  The historic capola design tower sits as a reminder of the importance to fire control in the Pacific Northwest.

To get there, continue east from the Milo Covered Bridge on hwy 1 to the town of Tiller.  If you need snack or a drink, I suggest you to stop at the Tiller market.  The watchtower is on the grounds of the Ranger Station there in Tiller.

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