County commissioners, in 1894, called local land owners to build and maintain a bridge across Lyles Creek. In response, landowners hired the services of Andy J. Ramsour, keeper of Horse Ford covered bridge over the Catawba River, at Hickory. In 1895, Ramsour, along with Eli Kale, George Moller, Cain Bost, and Electious Connor, built the bridge according to a design Ramsour probably found in a popular book on bridge building. Originally built as an open span, it was covered five years after initial construction.
Bunker Hill Bridge was part of Island Ford Road (a former Indian Trail), which had remained important throughout the state's western development. During the colonial period, the road served as a route to transport British prisoners of war after the 1781 Battle of Cowpens. "The Morgan army, with hundreds of prisoners and captured horses and wagons, stretched more than two miles as it approached the Island Ford." By the middle of the 20th century, the road became a major thoroughfare, as US Hwy 64/70.
The name Bunker Hill comes from the local Bunker Hill Farm operated by the descendents of the Staford and Lawrence families since the early 1800s. The bridge is also near the site of an early post office of the same name.
The bridge is made of oak with trunnels (wooden pins) instead of nails. The roof was originally covered with wooden shingles. It was replaced with tin in 1921. A major restoration in 1994, by the firm Arnold Graton and Sons of New Hampshire has stabilized the structure.
At least 10 covered bridges existed in Catawba County during the 19th century. Many were destroyed in the floods of 1916 and 1940; others were phased out of use by the state legislature's Good Rods Movement of the 1920s. Today there are only two covered bridges in North Carolina (Catawba and Randolph Counties).