Monday, April 25, 2011

Covered bridges

A pleasurable addition to our Kentucky trip last week was a loop through some northeastern counties to see 6 of the state's 13 remaining historic covered bridges. We started in Fleming County, which has 3 bridges remaining, more than any other county.

The Ringos Mill bridge was built in 1867. It is open to pedestrian traffic only.

The Grange City bridge was built in 1867, also, and while open to foot traffic, has safety issues. It is near the town of Hillsboro, which is itself a treat for lovers of Victorian architecture.

The Goddard bridge, located just off KY route 32 between Morehead and Flemingsburg, carries county road traffic that includes a Methodist church just beyond the bridge. Built ca. 1864, is has been known locally as the "kissing bridge," presumably having been employed by young couples on their way home from evening church services. Interesting to me is that one span of the bridge is uncovered. Was it designed to limit the time those kids were out of sight?

The 1870 Cabin Creek bridge is located in Lewis County near the Mason County line. Badly in need of restoration, it is no longer safe for any traffic. A system of steel girders and lattice was placed inside the bridge for support in 2009 while the State of Kentucky identified funding and placed contracts for the work.

The 1874 Johnson Creek bridge was restored in 2009 and is now open to vehicle traffic, although the highway by-passes the bridge. Picnic tables are nearby, and it is only a short drive to the Blue Licks Battlefield State Resort Park. It is just off KY 1029 in Robertson County.

Our last stop was the 1877 Colville bridge near Millersburg in Bourbon County. The bridge carries traffic on Colville Road and was restored in 2001. As you can see from the photograph, the sun had finally come out fully, after teasing us back at Johnson Creek.

The loop took maybe 5 hours to drive, including the time spent taking pictures from every angle I could reach. Distractions abound along the route. The town of Flemingsburg has gotten very serious about historic preservation and has a walking tour that tempted us greatly. Maybe someday soon. Quilt barns line much of the route, and guide brochures are available in each county. The town of Washington, Kentucky's second oldest town, is full of 18th century log buildings now employed in commerce and tourism. I stopped just long enough to get pictures of the 1794 log Post Office (seriously!). I'll share later this week. I'm definitely headed back there.

For more information about these bridges and the others, click here and here.

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