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Preservation of Covered Bridges


Covered Bridge Trivia


This page was compiled from a variety of sources to provide you with examples of routes for visiting covered bridges in various areas throughout the country.

Some links point to external websites. Please let us know if you run across any that no longer work.

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?

  1. 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.
  2. The longest American covered bridge is the Smolen-Gulf Bridge built in 2008 in Ashtabula County, Ohio at 613'
  3. 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'. For more details on this topic, visit the Medora Bridge page.

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.

What is the World Guide numbering system?

The covered bridge numbering system was developed in Ohio in the 1950's. The system was adopted for the NSPCB's World Guide to Covered Bridges in 1959. The first set of numbers represents the state/province in alphabetical order. Letters are used for bridges outside the United States and Canada. The second set of numbers represents the county in alphabetical order. The third set indicates the specific bridge within that county. A "#2" at the end of the number indicates that this is not the first covered bridge at this location. For more information, see The History of the World Guide Numbering System.