Covered Bridges Fact Sheet

The following information was extracted from the National Society for the Preservation of Covered Bridges. Be sure to visit their web site for more valuable information about covered bridges.

Why are bridges covered?
Many reasons are offered for covering bridges such as providing shelter during inclement weather or so horses wouldn’t be afraid to cross the water. However, the real reason is to protect the structure supporting the bridge. Without protection from the weather, the wooden timbers supporting the bridge would decay and eventually collapse. By keeping them dry, they will last much longer.

When was the first covered bridge in the U.S. Built?
The earliest documented covered bridge was the 550′ Permanent Bridge constructed over the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia by Timothy Palmer in 1805.

Where is the oldest covered bridge still standing in the U.S.?
The oldest documented American covered bridge is the Hyde Hall Bridge in Glimmerglass State Park near Cooperstown, New York. It was built in 1825.

Where is the longest covered bridge?
The longest existing covered bridge is the Hartland Bridge built in Hartland, New Brunswick, Canada at 1282′. The bridge was built in 1901 but not covered until 1922.

The longest American covered bridge is the Smolen-Gulf Bridge built in 2008 in Ashtabula County, Ohio at 613′

The longest historic American covered bridge depends on how the length is measured. The Cornish-Windsor Bridge over the Connecticut River between Cornish, New Hampshire and Windsor, Vermont and Medora Bridge in Medora, Indiana can both claim this title. The truss of the Cornish-Windsor Bridge is longer than Medora’s 449.5′ vs. 434′. The span (distance between the faces of the abutments) of the Medora Bridge is greater than Cornish-Windsor’s, 430.4′ vs. 422′.

Which state has the most covered bridges?
Pennsylvania has the most with 213. Ohio is second with 148.

Which county has the most covered bridges?
Parke County, Indiana with 31.

** from National Society for the Preservation of Covered Bridges.