A long time ago, before automobiles were the norm and life was lived at a slower pace, the main method of transportation was a horse and buggy. But getting your horse from point A to point B often involved crossing streams, rivers, etc. Covered bridges connected cities and towns, and people to people. They’re beautiful examples of the past and luckily in North Carolina, we have two amazingly preserved pieces of history you can experience for yourself.
1. Bunker Hill Covered Bridge, Claremont
Built in 1895, Bunker Hill is one of the last remaining covered bridges in North Carolina and possibly the last remaining Haupt Truss wooden bridge construction in the United States.
The bridge spans for 85 feet over Lyle Creek. It was built by Andy L. Ramsour and based on designs Ramsour found in a Haupt Truss book.
Herman Haupt was a well-known Civil War engineer. The 'Improved Lattice Truss' timber bridge was a design patented by Haupt.
The last remaining example of that can be seen at Bunker Hill Covered Bridge.
The project started in 1894 when Catawba County Commissioners requested the owners of Bunker Hill Farm build a bridge to cross Lyle Creek. The bridge was originally constructed with no roof; the roof was added in 1900 and replaced with a tin roof in 1920. Until 1985, the bridge was owned by the Bolick Family who later donated it to the Catawba County Historical Association.
The bridge was added to the National Register Of Historic Places in 1970 and recognized as a Civil Engineering Landmark. The bridge was restored in 1994, and today holds much of its original beauty. You can see this unique slice of history off Connor Park Highway 70 in Claremont.
2. Pisgah Covered Bridge, Asheboro
In 1911, for a mere $40, Pisgah Covered Bridge was built. Located in the Uwharrie National Forest, outside of Asheboro, the bridge is surrounded by beautiful greenery and is perfect for photo ops or a day trip.
The bridge crosses over the Little River and is 54 feet in length. At the time it was built, horse and carriage was the prime mode of transportation.
As automobile travel became more prevalent, the bridge became obsolete, yet still stood as a landmark and local tourist attraction.
In 1998 the North Carolina Zoo, North Carolina Department of Transportation, the Piedmont Land Conservancy, and the Landtrust for Central North Carolina collaborated to maintain and refurbish the bridge.
Yet the Pisgah Bridge was almost destroyed when a flood washed it away in 2003. Luckily, 90% of the original wood and pieces were able to be salvaged. Today, the Pisgah Covered Bridge holds all of its original charm and beauty.
Today, the bridge is designated as a local and federal historic landmark. There's a gate to get to the bridge and you can access this wonder from dawn to dusk. Bonus: the surrounding nature is gorgeous, with a serene stream, foot trail, and quarter-mile trail through the woods. A unique yet adventurous experience!
Wow, what beautiful gems we are lucky to have! I want to go visit both and take pictures. Have you visited these bridges for yourself?