Skip to main content

Lowell Covered Bridge - Oregon

 


As you head on Oregon Highway 58 (OR 58) between Eugene and the Cascades, you will see a covered bridge as you drive along the Dexter Reservoir. This is the Lowell Covered Bridge, the widest covered bridge in Oregon. At 210 feet long and 24 feet wide, this Howe through truss designed covered bridge has an interesting history, and while it is no longer open to motor vehicles, it has been given a second life as an interpretive center about the covered bridges in and around Lane County, Oregon.

In 1874, pioneer Amos Hyland settled in Lane County on the Middle Fork of the Willamette River. He established the town of Lowell, opened the local post office in 1880 and operated a ferry across the river until 1907. That year, the Lowell Covered Bridge was constructed by Nels Roney and a crew of eight men. The bridge was built to bypass an expensive ferry to cross the Willamette River and the route was a main passageway for settlers and supplies to reach the Willamette Valley at the turn of the 20th Century. This bridge was part of a larger project that Roney was working on to rebuild many of the covered spans that were destroyed by snow and flooding. During the 1940s, a truck accident severely damaged the bridge knocking its truss out of alignment, so a new bridge had to be constructed.

The new covered bridge was completed by 1945 for a cost of $25,473. The bridge was built to a maximum width of 24 feet to allow easy passage for motor vehicles, and the roof was added two years later. Then in 1953, with the impending construction of Dexter Dam, the bridge had to be raised an additional 6 feet to accommodate the forecasted water level increase. The dam was completed in 1955 and now when Dexter Reservoir is at capacity, the bridge clears the water by approximately 2 feet, and from what I have read. In 1981, a new concrete bypass bridge was built and use of the covered bridge was discontinued.

The Lowell Covered Bridge lives on as a self-guided interpretive center that showcases for visitors the history of the local area along with history of the Lowell Covered Bridge and other covered bridges in Oregon. One of the displays even has a small model with a section of the outside of the bridge cut-away so you can see how the structure was designed. There is a picnic area, plus places to go birdwatching or fishing. It sits right on the edge of the Willamette River, where on one side you can see the dam, and on the other there are park benches. It is an enjoyable stop along the way for wherever your travels along OR 58 take you.

Side profile of the Dexter Covered Bridge.

Bridge portal. You can see the interpretive displays inside of the bridge.

Walking to the covered bridge.

Dexter Reservoir.

Interpretive displays.

Interpretive displays.



How to Get There:



Sources and Links:
Bridgehunter.com - Lowell Covered Bridge 37-20-18
That Oregon Life - The Widest Covered Bridge In Oregon Is A Great Spot To Visit
Oregon.com - Lowell Covered Bridge
Eugene Cascades and Coast - Lowell Covered Bridge Interpretive Center
Travel Oregon - Lowell Bridge
City of Lowell, Oregon - Lowell Covered Bridge Interpretive Center

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Ghost Town Tuesday; Transylvania, Louisiana

Back in 2014 I found myself returning home to Florida from Hot Springs National Park.  While passing through East Carroll Parish in Louisiana on US Route 65 I noticed an abandoned school on the side of the highway in a community called Transylvania. Supposedly Transylvania was founded in the early 19th century and was named after the University of the same name in Kentucky.  Supposedly Transylvania has about 700 residents according to the 2000 Census but you wouldn't know it from the total lack of occupied structures.  The earliest map reference I can find showing Transylvania present in East Carroll Parish is from 1878. 1878 Louisiana State Map I really can't find too much substantive information regarding the Transylvania Elementary School but the construction is likely Pre-World War II.  Supposedly the Transylvania Elementary School was abandoned in the late 20th Century and was open to vandals until the property was purchased in 2014. Article Regarding the Transy

Kancamagus Highway (NH 112 through the White Mountains of New Hampshire)

The Kancamagus Highway is a portion of NH 112 spanning from Conway to Lincoln through the scenic White Mountains of New Hampshire. Locally known as the "Kanc", the 34.5-mile drive is a recognized National Scenic Byway, offering travelers an abundance of history and spectacular beauty in addition to being considered one of the best fall foliage viewing areas in the world. The road opened up one of the last unconquered wilderness areas in New Hampshire, a region that the 1850 state Gazetteer called "unfit for human habitation." The two lane highway links the valleys of the Merrimack, Pemigewasset and Saco rivers, crossing over Kancamagus Pass at 2,855 feet in elevation, winding through some of the most difficult and gorgeous terrain in the state. A number of scenic vistas are found along the way offering remarkable views of the surrounding White Mountains, Swift River, Lower Falls and Rocky Gorge. You will not find services through much of the drive, until you get to

I-93 Sign Replacement Project Update

Decided to beat the Memorial Day rush and traveled up I-93 north of Boston Wednesday afternoon to check out the progress of the two sign replacement projects. Based on webcam images, I new some signs had been replaced at the southern and northern end of the Somerville to Exit 38 segment. Turns out signage has been updated northbound for Exit 28 (MA 28/38), the first sign for Exit 31 (MA 16) (I guess taking advantage of MassDOT closing I-93 between Exits 20 and 28 for Big Dig Tunnel maintenance a couple nights a month) and for Exits 34 to 38. A photographic summary starts with the first re-signed exit: This is the second overhead assembly. The signs are mounted on the previously existing overhead supports that go back to the opening of the lower and upper deck portions of I-93 in the early 1970's. I don't know about using the left hand side simply for an auxiliary sign for the exit, but there isn't much room to place it elsewhere. The next interchange that  has had