The Covered Bridge

The Covered Bridge (HMMJK)

Location: Philippi, WV 26416 Barbour County
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Country: United States of America
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N 39° 9.16', W 80° 2.632'

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Philippi, WV

— Scene of the First Land Battle of the Civil War —

Constructed in 1852 by Lemuel Chenoweth; masonry by Emanuel J. O'Brien, cost $12,151.24.

The covered bridge, erected in 1852, is the only two-lane bridge in the federal highway system. During the Civil War the bridge served both North and South in passage of troops and supplies across the mountains into Virginia. Several times the bridge narrowly missed the fate of many other wooden structures along the Staunton and Parkersburg Turnpike that were burned.

The dual-lane structure was made of yellow poplar. Masonry work used native stone; and iron bolts, the only metal used, were made by local blacksmiths.

When modern traffic loads were too much for wooden floor beams, officials constructed hearings to decide whether to repair or replace the span. In 1938 the bridge received two additional piers, a steel reinforced concrete floor, and a walkway to handle more safely the increased demands of vehicular and pedestrian traffic. This brought the bridge's weight capacity to ten tons.

Following the fire in 1989, the $1.4 million project, using as much of the original material as possible, restored the structure to its original appearance. Additions of lighting and a sprinkler system have not detracted from the authenticity.

For the Civil War buff crossing the bridge you enter the gateway to the upper Tygart Valley and on to the eastern theater of the War.

On February 14, 1844, Philippi was established by the General Assembly of Virginia. Earlier Philippi had been named county seat of Barbour County which was nearly twenty years before West Virginia became the 35th state. The new town was named for Judge Philip Pendleton Barbour, a Virginia jurist.

(Photo captions at bottom, left to right):
An early picture of the bridge. Note absence of Old Main (built in 1909) at Alderson-Broaddus College on College Hill. This bridge was Chenoweth's masterpiece.

Traveling through the bridge around 1916. Folklore concerning the bridge and events of the Civil War have existed for years. One such story is a meeting of President Lincoln and Confederate President Jefferson Davis inside the structure.

The bridge has survived many ice jams and floods, including the devastating floods of 1888 and 1985.

Fire severely damaged the bridge on February 2, 1989; restored in 1991 at a cost of $1.4 million.

The bridge continues to be the state's most photographed landmark.
Additional InformationThis bridge is an example of the best in covered bridge architecture and design. This bridge was used by armies of the North and South in the Civil War.
Historical PeriodCivil War
Historical PlaceRiver, Bridge, Battlefield
Marker TypeHistoric Structure
Marker ClassBoth
Marker StyleCommemmorative Marker
Year Placed1963
Placed ByWest Virginia Historical Commision
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014 at 1:21am PDT -07:00
Sorry, but we don't have a picture of this historical marker yet. The member who adopted this marker listing is responsible for adding pictures.
Locationbig map
Directions InformationThis bridge spans the Tygart Valley River.
Location DescriptionThe covered bridge was sterngthened to permit modern traffic and is today a part of U.S. 250.
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17S E 582615 N 4334153
Decimal Degrees39.15266667, -80.04386667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 9.16', W 80° 2.632'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 9' 9.6000" N, 80° 2' 37.9200" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)304
Can be seen from road?Yes
Is marker in the median?No
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 72 Mansfield Dr, Philippi WV 26416, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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