Skip to main content

Humpback Covered Bridge - Covington, Virginia

 


The 106 foot long Humpback Covered Bridge is the only surviving curved span covered bridge in the United States and is the oldest covered bridge in Commonwealth of Virginia. The Humpback Bridge was built in 1857 over Dunlap Creek, just west of Covington, Virginia. Replacing several bridges that were built and later destroyed by floods in the years 1837, 1842 and 1856, the Humpback Bridge was built using a broad axe and put together with hand hewed locust pins. The bridge construction included an arch span which rose about four feet higher in the center from each end in order to prevent the bridge from being destroyed by floods. In fact, the design of the bridge was covered and arched precisely to increase its longevity and keep the midpoint above flood waters. Later flooding along Dunlap Creek saw that the abutments received flooding, but the arch stayed above the water, so I would say that the bridge builders made the right call in 1857. The bridge was part of the James River and Kanawha Turnpike, which was important to keep above the waters as it was the principal highway of western Virginia at the time of construction.

The Humpback Bridge saw traffic until 1929, first with the carts and wagons used to move goods, animals and people from Point A to Point B. After the advent of the automobile, the bridge was used for vehicular traffic on US Route 60 (also known as the Midland Trail). In 1929, a modern steel truss was built nearby so US 60 could be routed on that bridge. At that time, the bridge was closed to traffic and was used primarily by local farmers who stored hay inside the covered bridge. In 1953, the Covington Business and Professional Women’s Club, the Virginia Department of Transportation, and area residents rallied together to restore the bridge, with Virginia DOT matching $5,000 in locally raised funds to help pay for the restoration. As a result, a park and wayside rest area off of US 60 was built and the bridge was reopened for passive recreation for the public. The bridge was added to the National Register of Historic Places and designated a Virginia Historic Landmark in 1969.

Today you can enjoy checking out the Humpback Covered Bridge by taking a quick walk around the park that surrounds the covered bridge. There is even a LOVEwork art installation at the bridge, representing the industrial heritage and natural beauty of the Covington, Virginia area. The "L" was created with historic bricks from the Covington area. The "O" is a gear that was from one of the old paper machines at a local MeadWestvaco, representing the history of manufacturing in the area. The "V" is a natural feature created by a tree in the bank along Dunlap Creek. The "E" was created with railroad ties that represent the history of the railroad in Covington, Virginia.










How to Get There:


Sources and Links:
Virginia Department of Transportation - Humpback Bridge - Virginia's Oldest Covered Bridge
Virginia is for Lovers - Humpback Bridge
The Roanoke Times - 159-year-old Humpback Bridge in Alleghany County survives another flood (09/04/2016)
Lynchburg Living - Virginia's Covered Bridges
Scenic USA - Virginia - Humpback Bridge
Bridgehunter.com - Humpback Covered Bridge 46-03-01
Virginia Department of Historic Resources - 003-0002 Humpback Bridge
Alleghany Highlands of Virginia - Humpback Bridge
The City of Covington - Area Attractions
Virginia Association of Counties - Visit Alleghany County and the LOVEwork at Humpback 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

Old US Route 40 on Donner Pass Road

While completing California State Route 89 between Lassen Volcanic National Park and US Route I took a detour in Truckee up the infamous Donner Pass Road. Generally I don't dispense with the history of a roadway before the route photos but the history of Donner Pass is steeped within California lore and western migration.  The first recorded Wagon Crossing of Donner Pass was back in 1844.  The infamous Donner Party saga occurred in the winter of 1846-47 in which only 48 of the 87 party members survived.  Although the Donner Party incident is largely attributed to poor planning and ill conceived Hastings Cutoff it largely led to the infamous reputation of Donner Pass. The first true road over the Sierra Nevada Range via the Donner Pass was known as the Dutch Flat & Donner Lake Road.  The Dutch Flat & Donner Lake Wagon Road was completed by 1864 to assist with construction of the Central Pacific build the First Trans-Continental Railroad over Donner Pass.  The websit

Old Stage Road in Tulare County and Kern County

Old Stage Road is an approximately 30-mile rural highway comprised of Tulare County Mountain Road 1, Kern County Mountain Road 447 and Tulare County Mountain Road 109.  Old Stage originates at Jack Ranch Road near Posey and ends at the outskirts of Porterville at Deer Creek.  Old Stage Road notably is comprised of two 19th Century stage routes.  From White Mountain Road northwest to Fountain Springs, Old Stage Road overlays Thomas Baker's 1860s era stage road to Linn Valley (now Glennville) and the Kern River Gold Rush Claims.  From Fountain Springs to Deer Creek, Old Stage Road is comprised of the 1853 Stockton-Los Angeles Road. Featured as the blog cover is the northward descent on Old Stage Road along Arrastre Creek to the town site of White River.  What became White River was settled along a spur of the Stockton-Los Angeles Road as "Dog Town" when gold was discovered nearby.  By 1856 the community had been renamed Tailholt.  A stage road from Tailholt to Linn Valley w