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Loys Station Covered Bridge - Maryland

 


The Loys Station Covered Bridge is on Old Frederick Road, just south of MD 77, east of Thurmont in Frederick County, Maryland. While the bridge has been structurally modified and rebuilt, the bridge's original timbers remain throughout the 90 foot long structure crossing Owens Creek. It features a multiple Kingpost through truss design. Some accounts indicate that the covered bridge was built around 1885, other accounts pin the bridge as having been constructed in 1848.

The Loys Station Covered Bridge is the second covered bridge at this location. It is believed that the bridge played a small role in the events of the Civil War, as on July 7, 1863, after the Battle at Gettysburg, General George Meade crossed Loys Station Covered Bridge while pursuing the retreating Confederate Army. The first covered bridge was ruined by an act of arson in 1991. The original Loys Covered Bridge, built in 1848 by an unknown builder, crossed Owens Creek at a length of ninety feet. Around 1929 or 1930, the bridge was modified by adding a concrete pier and steel beams under the flooring to provide more support creating two 45 foot spans, although some consider this as just one span with a center support. At one time, the Western Maryland Railroad had a station at Loys, so the covered bridge became known as Loys Station Covered Bridge. The railroad tracks still exist today. Due to the historic significance of the bridge, the Loys Station Covered Bridge was added to the National Register of Historic Places on June 23, 1978.

On June 27, 1991, a pickup truck was set on fire while inside the covered bridge as part of an insurance fraud scheme. The Frederick County Covered Bridge Preservation Society fought to have the bridge built to its original all wood structure. However, the Maryland Historical Trust and Frederick County officials argued the bridge should be built to its 1930s specifications when the steel beams and center pier were added for reinforcement. It took three years before the rebuilding effort was completed, along with local fundraising that helped support the reconstruction of the beloved bridge. While the bridge could not be rebuilt to historic authentication, the reconstructed covered bridge included the use of original hardware, rafters and braces from the burnt bridge. Reconstruction included interior lighting and fire-retardant materials with the total reconstruction cost totaling nearly $300,000. Much of the cost was paid for by Frederick County's insurance company, who sought restitution from the two men eventually convicted of the arson and fraud crime. On June 7, 1994 a crane hoisted the trusses into place. On June 25, 1994, a celebration of the bridge rebuilding was held and on July 4, 1994 the bridge was officially opened to vehicular traffic.

In 2011, The National Historic Covered Bridge Preservation Program awarded a $176,400 grant to Frederick County for repairs to the Utica Mills, Roddy Road and Loys Station Covered Bridges. Frederick County kicked in another $44,100 to bring the total funding amount to $220,500. In the spring of 2015, the Loys Station Covered Bridge received an application of interior fire retardant and a fresh coat of much needed exterior paint, which will hopefully make the covered bridge last for years to come.

There is a small park by the name of Loy's Station Park adjacent to the covered bridge. Park amenities include fishing, grills, picnic tables, picnic shelter, horseshoe pits and play equipment, along with the passive recreation afforded by being next to a splendid covered bridge. I visited the covered bridge during a trip to Maryland and thoroughly enjoyed my visit.




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Sources and Links:
Maryland Covered Bridges - Loys Station Covered Bridge

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