HYB: Humpback Covered Bridge

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The next two entries are film clips from History in Your Backyard, a film series produced by Satolli Glassmeyer and Co.  Our first one looks at the Humpback Covered Bridge in Covington, Virginia. This bridge was built in 1856 and is the oldest covered bridge in Virginia, let alone one of the oldest in the country.  The bridge was one of the first to have been rehabilitated and repurposed for pedestrians, as this was done in 1957, almost 30 years since it was replaced by a truss bridge on a new alignment and later abandoned. And lastly, it was one of the first that was nominated to the National Register, as it was listed in 1969.  Take a look at the video about the bridge’s history, which includes photos and some other facts. The engineering details can be found here.

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BHC Pic of the Week Nr. 67

It’s autumn and with that, the start of the time of year where the photos are at their best. With a combination of fall colors on trees, changing weather patterns between sun, storms and wind- ending up with snow and lastly long nights with long, bright color of the moon, one can come up with the best photos no matter where you go and what objects you are photographing.

This Pic of the Week is a prime example of it. This was taken in Jena in the German state of Thuringia three years ago. It was in September and it was a cold night. Yet with the super moon that happened during that time, it was irresistible to take the bike out there and get a few pics, including one of the bike itself with the lights on:

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And this covered bridge in the village of Kunitz, located a kilometer from the city limits:

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This bridge has a unique history along with the town of 400 inhabitants. The crossing over the River Saale is a replica of a covered bridge that was built in 1832. It survived over a century until the end of April 1945, when Nazi soldiers detonated the structure in an attempt to foil any attempts of the allies to encroach on Germany even further. Jena and Thuringia became part of the Soviet Zone after the war and instead of restoring the bridge, they constructed a concrete slab in 1947, which lasted 74 years. Still, locals worked together to preserve the memories of the bridge and took advantage of the expansion of the Saale Bike Trail by constructing the bridge’s replica in 2012. The bridge was erected on a new alignment, using the piers of a temporary bridge (Behelfsbrücke) used when the original crossing was being replaced. After the new bridge was opened, the covered bridge was built mimicking the original. The covered bridge today carries a branch of the Saale Bike Trail between Kunitz and the industrial area in Jena-Nord.

I took a lot of pics of the bridge with the Pentax but to do a bit of clean-up with the lighting, I doctored this one via Instagram: an oblique view with the moon rising from the eastern hills of the Saaletal and the weeds growing in the front of the bridge’s portal entrance. The brightness of the wood and vegetation was in part because of the lighting installed to provide safe passage at night. One could not imagine walking around Kunitz at night 15 years ago. Today, with a company of friends and/or family, it is safe to say that an evening walk is solely OK, photo opps with a good camera and graphic program is even better.

And as for the finished product like what is seen here, they speak for themselves. Happy Bridgehunting and happy Photoshooting! 🙂

 

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Information on the Kunitzer Hausbrücke, the official name of the covered bridge, can be found by clicking here. There is a restaurant between the two bridges on the banks of the River Saale which bears the bridge’s name and provides a great view of the River Saale and the town’s two bridges.

 

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BHC Pic of the Week Nr. 25: Happy Halloween and Reformation Day

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At ⛅ and sunset

A post shared by bridgehunters_chronicles2010 (@bridgehunters_chronicles17) on

Every bridge is full of surprises, both big and small, regardless of when and where you find them. Some are haunted and some are waiting to be discovered. However, just be aware that when you find a bridge that is dark and haunted, and you want to investigate, you may find something unexpected, as I saw in this pic, while visiting a covered bridge in Hennersdorf, a small village in Saxony that is tucked away in the Valley of the River Zschopau, only a few minutes from Flöha.

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and ……

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Are you ready to take the challenge? As a photographer and pontist, I would. 😉  Happy Pic and Treating! 🙂

 

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BHC Bridge Pic Nr. 18

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The next pic of the weeks keeps us in Glauchau, but provides us with a golden opportunity to see the inside of a covered bridge. Covered bridges provide shelter from rain and snow, views of the river through its trusses and windows and lighting when it is dark, just like in this picture. This one provides a gold-like coloring of the trusses and flooring, making it not only a beauty to cross but also safer. This one was taken at the covered bridge at Zimmerstrasse, spanning the Zwickau Mulde behind the Werdigt School.

The bridge even looks pretty from the outside, even at night time, as you can see in the pic below:

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Mystery Bridge Nr. 85: A Covered Bridge with a Thatched Roof

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Thatching is a different but efficient concept for roofing a house. Houses with thatched roofs have a Roof that is built using dry vegetation, such as straw, sedge, heather, water reed, palm fronds and/or rushes and with that, each side of the house has a roof that slants downwards towards the outer edge. Thatched Roofs have a dual function where it allows water to flow off the outer roof, keeping the inner roof dry (and thus preventing rotting and molding of the wood), but at the same time, it acts as an insulator, keeping the warm air inside during the winter and outside during the summer months. Houses with thatches roofs can be found in Areas with tropical climates, but also those with a continental climate, such as the northern parts Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, France and Great Britain.

While architects find creative ways to building houses with thatched roofs, it is also no surprise that one can find covered bridges with thatched roofs. One just has to stumble across something like this one, located just south of St. Peter-Ording in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein.

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Located on a trail that separates the clinic and the Westküsten Park and Robbarium, this bridge Looks like a typical small crossing that spans a canal that transfers water from the North Sea to the fields to prevent flooding during high tides and severe storms but also to provide water to the farm lands nearby. The bridge is only seven to eight meters long, but the width is about 40 centimeters wider, especially if you count the overhead portion.  In bridge terminology, the bridge is a through truss using the Kingpost design. The entire structure is made of wood.

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Close-up of the A-framed Kingpost truss design.

Yet looking at it further, it definitely has the thatched roof appearance, as two different layers are added to the roof to make it unusual. The top layer has either sedge or rush roofing, whereas the bottom layer has the typical reed roofing, one sees with houses in Schleswig-Holstein and neighboring Mecklenburg-Pommerania. This type of construction makes the bridge very unusual for a covered bridge, but it does lead to the question of whether this is the only bridge of ist kind in the region, Germany or even Europe, or if there are similar bridges of ist kind out there. and if so, where.

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Close-up of the thatched roofing: The reed is the bottom layer; the sedge or rush is the top layer.

While the roof has the function of protecting the remaining elements from rotting or molding caused by moisture from rains, the structure itself is no older than 20 years old, for even though there is moss on some of the wooden beams, the bridge and its trusses look relatively new. Therefore, it is estimated that the bridge was built between 1995 and 2005, if not later. It is the question of who built it and why the engineer decided for this unique design.

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If you know more about this bridge, please send the author an e-mail with some information about it. This will be useful for the upcoming book project on the bridges of Schleswig-Holstein. What is just as important (or even more) than this bridge is the following:

How many covered bridges have a thatched roof similar to this one? And where are they located?

 

A discussion Forum has been established on facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram so that you can comment on this. Photos and info for the other bridges would be much appreciated.  🙂

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Mystery Bridge Nr. 85: A Covered Bridge With a Thatched Roof

IMGP7464

Thatching is a different but efficient concept for roofing a house. Houses with thatched roofs have a Roof that is built using dry vegetation, such as straw, sedge, heather, water reed, palm fronds and/or rushes and with that, each side of the house has a roof that slants downwards towards the outer edge. Thatched Roofs have a dual function where it allows water to flow off the outer roof, keeping the inner roof dry (and thus preventing rotting and molding of the wood), but at the same time, it acts as an insulator, keeping the warm air inside during the winter and outside during the summer months. Houses with thatches roofs can be found in Areas with tropical climates, but also those with a continental climate, such as the northern parts Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, France and Great Britain.

While architects find creative ways to building houses with thatched roofs, it is also no surprise that one can find covered bridges with thatched roofs. One just has to stumble across something like this one, located just south of St. Peter-Ording in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein.

IMGP7460

Located on a trail that separates the clinic and the Westküsten Park and Robbarium, this bridge Looks like a typical small crossing that spans a canal that transfers water from the North Sea to the fields to prevent flooding during high tides and severe storms but also to provide water to the farm lands nearby. The bridge is only seven to eight meters long, but the width is about 40 centimeters wider, especially if you count the overhead portion.  In bridge terminology, the bridge is a through truss using the Kingpost design. The entire structure is made of wood.

IMGP7466
Close-up of the A-framed Kingpost truss design.

Yet looking at it further, it definitely has the thatched roof appearance, as two different layers are added to the roof to make it unusual. The top layer has either sedge or rush roofing, whereas the bottom layer has the typical reed roofing, one sees with houses in Schleswig-Holstein and neighboring Mecklenburg-Pommerania. This type of construction makes the bridge very unusual for a covered bridge, but it does lead to the question of whether this is the only bridge of ist kind in the region, Germany or even Europe, or if there are similar bridges of ist kind out there. and if so, where.

IMGP7463
Close-up of the thatched roofing: The reed is the bottom layer; the sedge or rush is the top layer.

While the roof has the function of protecting the remaining elements from rotting or molding caused by moisture from rains, the structure itself is no older than 20 years old, for even though there is moss on some of the wooden beams, the bridge and its trusses look relatively new. Therefore, it is estimated that the bridge was built between 1995 and 2005, if not later. It is the question of who built it and why the engineer decided for this unique design.

IMGP7464

If you know more about this bridge, please send the author an e-mail with some information about it. This will be useful for the upcoming book project on the bridges of Schleswig-Holstein. What is just as important (or even more) than this bridge is the following:

How many covered bridges have a thatched roof similar to this one? And where are they located?

 

A discussion Forum has been established on facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram so that you can comment on this. Photos and info for the other bridges would be much appreciated.  🙂   A short history on thatching you can find here. It might give you some ideas on how to roof your home. 😉

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Mary Ruffner Covered Bridge Is Coming Home

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Mary Ruffner Covered Bridge at its current location in Perry County.   Photo courtesy of Fairfield County Historical Parks

1875 covered bridge returning home to Fairfield County after residing in Perry County for over three decades.

 

LANCASTER/ THORNVILLE (OHIO)-  When driving along Ohio Highway 13 in the direction of Thornville, one will not miss a unique covered bridge located off to the side of the highway, spanning a small lake. The bridge partially covered, revealing the skeletal truss design along the top half. With the exception of a metal roof and concrete abutments, the entire structure is made of wood. The bridge has been serving a narrow path to a farmstead for 30 years, crossing a small lake. The bridge is no longer in use today and the only way to access the structure is by foot through the weed-covered pathway, which used to be a driveway.

The farmstead used to be owned by Carroll Moore, who bought the bridge in 1986 and relocated it to its current location for private use. Now owned by George Censky, he offered Fairfield County the covered bridge for its journal home to its new site.

After two years of planning, the wish to return home will be realized come this fall. But why Fairfield County instead of Perry County, where the bridge is located?  Easy question to answer: because the covered bridge originated from there.

 

Built in 1875, the covered bridge was originally constructed over Little Rush Creek on Gun Barrell Road, three miles north-northeast of Rushville. The covered bridge is 83 feet long, has a width of 13.5 feet and a height of 11.5 feet. The covered bridge is a Smith truss, a design that features interwoven diagonal beams but a cross between a Town Lattice and a Howe Lattice (whose X or Rhombus feature is found in per one panel).

The bridge was named after Mary Ann Ruffner, who emigrated with her family to Fairfield County, but whose life was very short and tragic. She was born on 26 May 1802 to Emanuel and Magdalene Ruffner but emigrated to the area at the age of three, carried by her mother on horseback. She married William Hill, son of George and Elizabeth Hill on 30 November, 1823, and later bore their only son, John, on 24 March, 1828. Unfortunately, under unusual circumstances, Mary Ann died six months later on 26 September, 1828. Her faith was Methodist and was therefore buried in a Protestant cemetary.

 

The bridge was deemed functionally obsolete because of the size of traffic crossing the bridge and was therefore put up for sale in 1986. Caroll Moore bought the structure with the intent to relocate it to Perry County, to be erected over a small lake on his farmstead near Thornville, which was completed later that year. Like in the upcoming project, the bridge was disassembled, hauled by trucks to its new home and then reassembled on new abutments. Although a necessity for reasons of cost, that option presents some concern for both Censky and Lancaster Parks Director Dave Fey because of the age of the structure and possible need to refurbish some of the parts already considered too worn for another move. Relocating the covered bridge in tact was ruled out because of prohibitive costs, plus the need to take down utility lines enroute.

Nevertheless, the Mary Ruffner Bridge is coming home but not to its original location. According to Fey, the plan is to erect the covered bridge at its new site in Landcaster: along the Sensory Trail, which is part of the Greater Landcaster Heritage Trail Network, which contains a series of bike and pedestrian trails that go through and around the city and surrounding areas (a link to the site where you can find the trails can be found here). Specifically, the bridge will be built near the Forest Rose School, a special school for students with developmental disabilities, even though the crossing will be open to everyone to enjoy.

 

Fairfield County was once home to over 200 covered bridges. After relocating the Mary Ruffner back home again, there will be 20 covered bridges still in service. For locals with a fond memory of the bridge on Gun Barrel Road, it will be a reunion with an old friend with a long history. For the new generation, it is a chance to learn about historic covered bridges and how they played a role in the development of roads in Fairfield County. For the families of Mary Ann Ruffner, a piece of their family heritage is coming home to stay.

And for Mary Ann Ruffner herself, knowing that her bridge will be moved home this fall, she’s already informed her Mama that she is coming home, and is working to have Ozzy Osbourne play for her bridge at its newly dedicated site, once open next year.  😉

 

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