I finally had a chance to visit a few of the covered bridges in the state of my birth. There’s only six remaining in Maryland and I visited half this morning.
The Gilpin’s Falls Covered Bridge is a great example of why these structures are now so rare, but also why any still exist at all. It was built around 1860 and was in regular use until the 1930’s when it was bypassed for a concrete bridge. The bridge was not well maintained and in 1958 heavy snow finally collapsed the roof. The bridge was described a year later as a “skeletonized ruin”. Fortunately it was restored that same year.
Another 50 years passed and in 2010 the bridge was again restored, this time by some great folks from New Hampshire.
If you’re lucky enough to visit the bridge, be sure to check out the decking. It’s a unique system I’ve never seen before. The planks are secured in a kind of rail at the ends, but not nailed down. Many of them spring up and down as you walk on them. An internat acquaintance of mine was among those doing the recent restoration and has this to say about it – http://bridgewright.wordpress.com/2011/05/20/11/ .
For free interactive maps of all the covered bridges in Maryland and the rest of the United States visit coveredbridgemap.com.
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