Just off of Interstate 64 at Exit 10 in Virginia we found the last remaining covered humpback bridge in the United States.
The bridge spans Dunlap Creek, a tributary of the Jackson River, and is a much-loved landmark popular with area residents and visitors alike. Photographers and artists come from all over the country and from around the world to try to capture the bridge’s beauty, families gather for picnics, and it is a popular spot for weddings.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the 110-foot bridge’s unique design, covered and arched four feet in the center, was intended to increase its longevity while keeping the bridge’s midpoint above flood waters. Its timbers were hand-hewn and everything was constructed of wooden pegs and dowels.
This is actually the fourth bridge built at the site. The first one, built sometime in the 1820s, was brought down by a flood in 1837. The second bridge was also washed away in a flood in 1842. A third bridge was used until it began to deteriorate beyond safety and was demolished in 1856. The humpback bridge of today was built in 1857 and after over 70 years was closed to traffic in 1929, when it was replaced with a modern steel truss bridge.
For years afterward, the bridge was left to decay, sometimes subject to vandalism. At one point it was used by a local farmer to store hay.
In the early 1950s the Business and Professional Women’s Club of Covington and the Covington Chamber of Commerce launched a fundraiser to restore and preserve the old bridge as part of Alleghany County’s history. It was reopened to the public in 1954 as the centerpiece of a beautiful little five acre wayside park.
Most of us have heard the state slogan “Virginia Is For Lovers.” That message is reinforced at the bridge, where the word LOVE is spelled out using bricks for the letter L, a large metal gear for the O, a tree shaped in the letter V, and an E made from railroad ties. Is it any wonder that more than one lovestruck young man has popped the question to his heart’s desire here?
The next time you are in the area, get off the highway and take a break at the old humpback bridge. I think you will come away with a nice deposit to your memory bank.
Be sure to enter our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of my friend Ben Rehder’s Gone The Next, the first book in Ben’s excellent Roy Ballard mystery series. Ben is one of my favorite authors, and if you have not read any of his books, you don’t know what you are missing. To enter, click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.
Thought For The Day – I am not clumsy! The floor just hates me, the table and chairs are bullies, and the walls get in my way.