Skip to main content

Meems Bottom Covered Bridge in Mount Jackson, Virginia

 


Just a stone's throw away from Shenandoah Caverns and the Route 11 Potato Chip Company in the scenic Shenandoah Valley is home to one of Virginia's historic covered bridges. The 204 foot long Meems Bottom Covered Bridge is a Burr arch truss design covered bridge that crosses over the North Fork of the Shenandoah River, just outside of the town of Mount Jackson, Virginia. This also happens to be Virginia's longest covered bridge and the only covered bridge in Virginia that is open to vehicular traffic.

The current version of the historic Meems Bottom Covered Bridge is the fourth bridge across the North Fork of the Shenandoah River at the location on Wissler Road, not far from, but hidden away from travelers passing by on nearby I-81 and US 11. The first bridge was constructed between 1867 and 1868, but was subsequently destroyed by a flood in March 1870. As a result, the bridge was replaced by 1871. The second bridge lasted longer, however, this bridge was destroyed by floodwaters in November 1877. The third bridge was constructed in 1878 and was replaced by the current structure in 1893, using materials that were cut and quarried nearby for the massive arch supports and stone abutments, which extended 10 feet below the riverbed. It was deeded to the Virginia Highway Department in the 1930's in return for assuming its maintenance. Also, there was an earlier bridge at a nearby location was destroyed by General Stonewall Jackson’s troops in 1862 during the Civil War.

The name of the Meems Bottom Bridge comes from the locally prominent Meem family, a large landowner in this part of the Shenandoah Valley. The timbers that were used to build the bridge of 1893 came from Confederate Brigadier General Gilbert Simrall Meem's former farm of Strathmore, which was located nearby to the bridge. The farm was bought by Franklin Hiser Wissler in 1891. Wissler designed the bridge and he contracted John Woods to assist in construction of the 1893 bridge, as a new bridge would provide better access to the orcharrds on his farmland. The bridge has stood the test of time to floodwaters that destroyed the earlier bridges, and during the 1930s, it was deeded to the Virginia Highway Department in return for assuming its maintenance.

The Meems Bottom Covered Bridge over the North Fork of the Shenandoah River carried traffic for more than 80 years before being burned by vandals on Halloween in 1976. After salvaging the original timbers, the bridge was reconstructed and eventually undergirded with modern steel beams and concrete piers. The bridge was reopened to traffic in 1979 and is still in use today. There is a small parking area and picnic area located next to the bridge for passive enjoyment. I was able to visit the Meems Bottom Covered Bridge on a couple of occasions during different times of the year and found it to be a worthwhile stopover when traversing around the Shenandoah Valley.


The portal of the Meems Bottom Covered Bridge.

The steel beams and concrete piers used to support the bridge. This was added to bridge during its restoration in 1979.

The original stone abutments are still used for the covered bridge.

Historical plaque found inside the bridge.

A high clearance vehicle deterrent on the tree lined Wissler Road east of the bridge.

North Fork of the Shenandoah River.

Sunrise and the Blue Ridge Mountains as seen from the Meems Bottom Covered Bridge.


One last view of the covered bridge before I depart.



How to Get There:



Sources and Links:
Scenic USA - Meems Bottom Covered Bridge
Bridgehunter.com - Meems Bottom Covered Bridge 46-82-01
Virginia Is For Lovers - Historic Meems Bottom Covered Bridge
Virginia Department of Transportation - Meem's Bottom Bridge
Virginia Association of Counties - Visit Shenandoah County and the Meems Bottom Covered Bridge

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

California State Route 190; a Trans-Sierra Highway that could have been

This past week I decided to take a small scale road trip on California State Route 190 from CA 99 east to the unbuilt section over the Sierra Nevada Range.  While I was in for what turned out to be a fun drive following the course of the Tule River watershed what I found researching the back story of CA 190 was one of the most complex and unusual stories of any California State Highway.  Given that I had a ton of older photos of the eastern segment of CA 190 in the Mojave Desert of Inyo County I thought it was time to put something together for the entire route. The simplified story of CA 190 is that it is a 231 mile state highway that has a 43 mile unbuilt gap in the Sierra Nevada Range.  CA 190 is an east/west State Highway running from CA 99 in Tulare County at Tipton east to CA 127 located in Death Valley Junction near the Nevada State Line in rural Inyo County.  The routing CA 190 was adopted into the State Highway system as Legislative Route 127 which was adopted in 1933 acc

I-73/I-74 and NC Future Interstates, Year in Review 2022

Another year over, already? 2022 turned out to be quite the year if you are a fan of new interstate routes, and it wasn't bad for some long standing favorites. As per the tradition, I will review what happened with I-73 and I-74, and then the other new and future interstate routes in North Carolina... Work continued on the one segment of I-73 under construction, the I-73/I-74 Rockingham Bypass. As of the beginning of December, work was getting close to being 2/3 complete at 60.1%. Progress could be seen from US 74 on constructing of the future interchange at the Bypass's southern end. Here's a look from US 74 East in September from Google Maps Street View: Here's a photo from US 74 West taken last week by David Gallo: Work is now scheduled to be completed in October 2025, though the road itself could open earlier that year.  Progress on I-74 earned more publicity in 2022 with the opening of 7.5 more miles of the Winston-Salem Northern Beltway from US 311 (Exit 49) to NC

Interstate 605

Interstate 605 is a 27.4-mile freeway located in the Los Angeles Metropolitain Area.  Interstate 605 begins at Interstate 210 near Duarte and terminates at the Interstate 405/California State Route 22 junction to the south near the boundary to the city of Long Beach.  Interstate 605 is known as the San Gabriel River Freeway and has three unconstructed miles which would extend it south to California State Route 1 near Seal Beach.  Much of the corridor of Interstate 605 was built up from what was the original California State Route 35.  The blog cover photo is taken from the July/August 1964 California Highways & Public Works which featured the initial segment of Interstate 605 to open between Whittier Boulevard and Peck Road  Part 1; the history of the San Gabriel River Freeway and Interstate 605 The origin of what is now Interstate 605 begins during 1933 with the addition of Legislative Route Number 170 (LRN 170) to the State Highway System.  The original definition of LRN 170 was