Humpback Covered Bridge, built 1857, oldest left in Virginia.
Humpback Covered Bridge, built in 1857, is the oldest remaining covered bridge in the state of Virginia. Humpback Bridge is one of the few remaining covered bridges in the USA built higher in the middle than on either end (with a humpback 4 feet or 1.2 meters high). The bridge spans 109 feet (33 m) across Dunlap Creek (a tributary of Jackson River), near Covington, Virginia. Covered wooden bridges averaged ten times the lifespan of uncovered ones. Sometimes referred to as "kissing bridges" during the modest era of the late 1800s, covered bridges allowed horse and buggy passengers kissing privacy. Two former non-covered bridges here (built in the 1820s and 1838) were destroyed by floods, and a third bridge collapsed in 1856 due to heavy use and weathering. All three bridges were a part of the James River and Kanawha Turnpike, a heavily traveled mountain road that connected the Shenandoah Valley with the Alleghany Mountains and westwards. The decking, unlike houses and other structures, could not be painted to prevent deterioration, as the traffic from horses and wagons would quickly remove any available paints of the era. The Humpback Covered Bridge was used from 1857 to 1929, when a steel truss bridge was built for US Highway 60 immediately to the north. The bridge was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1969. The bridge retains most of its original 1857 hand-hewn white oak and hickory support timbers and decking, but most of the walls and roofing have been replaced several times. The supports incorporate a unique curved multiple kingpost-truss system that is not found in any other surviving wooden bridge in the USA. The bridge is a unique design not duplicated anywhere else. How to reach Humpback Bridge: Take Exit number 10 off of Interstate 64 in Virginia and follow signs, 1 mile east. It is 3 miles west of Covington, Virginia adjacent to U.S. Highway 60 off Rumsey Road (SR 600). Panorama stitched from 7 overlapping images.Add to Cart Add to Lightbox Download