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COVERED BRIDGES OF CENTRAL OREGON

Actually the title of this web site probably should have been "Covered Bridges Near Cottage Grove, Oregon in Central Oregon plus one nearer Southern Oregon", but I didn't have room to name it that! So the above simple title will have to suffice.

This web site was originally established after my wife and I had visited central Oregon from October 3rd through October 7th, 2004 and located some wonderful covered bridges. I have always been a "covered bridge lover" and had visited a lot of bridges in California. This was the first time I had had the pleasure of photographing some of Oregon's beautiful bridges.

On June 27, 2008 we revisited Cottage Grove and visited the one Covered Bridge that we had missed in 2004 - the "Dorena Covered Bridge". I have added information on that bridge to this web site.

On May 23, 2013 we again visited Cottage Grove and visited the Swinging Bridge and the reconstructed Chambers Covered Railroad Bridge. A photo from our visit is included on this website.

Most of the bridges are near the small town of Cottage Grove but I found another fine bridge near Sunny Valley. I hope you enjoy these wonderful relics of the 20th Century.

Larry Matthews


THE CURRIN COVERED BRIDGE

Here are two views of the Currin Covered Bridge. It was built in 1925 and restored in 1995. It cost $4,696.00 and spans 105 feet. It's one of the oldest bridges in Lane County and replaced an earlier covered bridge that had been built in 1883. It's named for a pioneer family. It's closed to vehicles. It's located about 5 miles East of Cottage Grove, Oregon near the intersection of Row River Road and Layng Road. We visited the bridge on a foggy morning on October 3, 2004 but it was still glorious even without sunshine.

THE MOSBY CREEK BRIDGE

Just South from the Currin Covered Bridge on Layng Road you will find the Mosby Creek Bridge. You will note it was still quite foggy when we arrived there. It was refreshing to be able to drive across a bridge of this age. It was built in 1920 and restored in 1990. Cost was $4,125.00 and the bridge spans 90 feet.

The bridge was named after David Mosby, a local farmer who came to the Cottage Grove area in 1853 and farmed 320 acres. It is Lane County's oldest bridge. It's still open to traffic. It was our second stop on our search for covered bridges on October 3, 2004.

THE STEWART COVERED BRIDGE

After leaving Mosby Bridge we went south and made a left on Mosby Creek Road and located the Stewart Covered Bridge.

This bridge was built in 1930 and restored in 1996 at a cost of $4,125.00. It has a span of 60 feet and is closed to traffic.

Located in Lane county, this bridge is just a short 3 mile drive from Cottage Grove. It's located near the intersection of Mosby Creek Road and Garoutte Road.

It was obvious on this Sunday morning that this bridge may be a favorite "hang out" location for teenagers as there were several residuals of "twelve packs" sitting near the bridge. But, fortunately, this litter did little to detract from the beauty of Mosby Creek and the lovely nearby vegetation.

The bridge has been through a lot of trauma: The Christmas Flood of 1964 and the heavy snow of 1968 did much damage. Then the high water of 1996 piled logs and whole trees against the bridge. A few missing boards show that the bridge has not yet recovered from that ordeal. But that damage only seems to add character to the history of this very nice bridge.

THE CHAMBERS COVERED RAILROAD BRIDGE

Heading back toward Cottage Grove on October 3, 2004 we located the Chambers Covered Bridge.

OK, let's be honest. This has to be the ugliest covered bridge that I have ever seen. But, it's a railroad bridge that was in use from 1925 on, so you can't really expect it to be something beautiful after almost 80 years!

To visit this bridge you have to go West from the Stewart Covered Bridge and enter downtown Cottage Grove. What a great little town! Being a history nut, I can only say that the town has got its priorities straight - they are really into history!

The bridge spans the Coast Fork Willamette River and the thought of crossing in on a train scares the hell out of me. What a horrible thought! But it did its duty from 1925 to 1943 when it supported heavily loaded trains from Frank Chambers Mill to downtown Cottage Grove for almost 20 years.

The bridge is the only covered bridge of its type and the only covered railroad bridge still standing in Oregon. It's questionable how long it will remain standing as it's beginning to sag and is dangerous to climb on! Say your prayers!

UPDATE! MARCH 2012.

In October 2010 Judith Smay from Dallas, Oregon had advised me that the Chambers Covered Railroad Bridge had been removed. That Spring, the Cottage Grove City Council had become aware that it was on the verge of collapse and they had to take emergency action. I am pleased to report that the bridge has been reconstructed and was put back in place on December 3, 2011. A web search shows that it turned out very nice!

UPDATE! MAY 30, 2013

Here is a photo of the reconstructed Chambers Covered Railroad Bridge that we took on our visit on May 23, 2013. The city did a wonderful job on this project and this bridge has been changed from a dangerous relic to a great historic site.

THE DORENA COVERED BRIDGE

We had missed seeing this bridge on our first trip to Cottage Grove in 2004. But we were finally able to catch up with it on June 27, 2008.

This bridge is also known as Star Bridge and was built in 1949 after the Dorena Dam was built to form Dorena Lake. It was restored in 1996 for $16,547.00. Its span is 105 feet. It is located where Shoreview Drive and Row River Road come together at the eastern end of Dorena Lake. The bridge serves as a nice rest area and popular wedding site.

It is located about 13 miles east of Cottage Grove. I highly recommend getting a map from the Cottage Grove Chamber of Commerce prior to trying to find this bridge. It is easy to end up lost in the wilds of the Umpqua National Forest instead. Just ask us!

THE CENTENNIAL COVERED BRIDGE

This classic and classy little bridge was built from the remains of two other bridges; the Meadows and Brumbaugh bridges.

It's just down the street from the Chambers Covered Rail Road Bridge on Main Street and is only a half a block from the Cottage Grove City Hall.

The Centennial Covered Bridge construction was a project that was part of the 1997 Centennial Celebration of Cottage Grove. It's 84 feet long and is restricted to pedestrian and bicycle traffic. It comes very close to being my favorite Covered Bridge that I have ever visited!

The interior is lighted and the day we were there the window boxes were alive with wonderful colors of beautiful flowers.

This bridge and the others near Cottage Grove are a perfect example of what a small community can do to keep its history alive for generations to come! (Another view of this bridge appears at the beginning of this web page).

I would recommend that you contact the Cottage Grove Chamber of Commerce for more information regarding all of these bridges. Their web site is www.cgchamber.com.

THE GRAVE CREEK COVERED BRIDGE

After we left Cottage Grove we headed up toward the Columbia Gorge and saw Multnomah Falls, then spent a day at Washington's Mount St. Helens and watched it spew steam. We later took the ferry and visited Canada's Vancouver Island and saw Butchert Gardens.

A real phenomenal trip! One that will remain in our memories forever as these were places where we had wanted to visit for many, many decades.

We thought we had finished with Covered Bridges, but on the way back, on October 7, 2004, we found the Grave Creek Covered Bridge just off Highway 5 near Sunny Valley.

The bridge was built in 1920 and spans Grave Creek and is 105 feet long. The two photos above give you a good perspective of what the bridge is all about. The historical sign advises that there was a child buried near here in the mid 1800's and that is where the bridge and creek got its name.

We drove eastward across the bridge and discovered that there is a light on the East side that indicates if a car is crossing the bridge from the western direction. It's such a blind corner that you can't safely enter the bridge from the eastern side without the guidance of the light! So be careful and don't get crunched!

It's the last remaining historical covered bridge in Josephine County.

Who knows just how many covered bridges there are in Oregon. There are at least 24 in Lane, Douglas, Coos and Josephine Countys alone. So this web site has just barely scratched the surface. But if it has sparked your interest in visiting some of these wonderful Oregon bridges then it has accomplished its purpose!


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This web site was established on October 14, 2004.

This web site was last updated on May 30, 2013.