Supplement to “Spanning Time”
Covered bridge history and festival
The history of the covered bridge reveals that long before Christopher Columbus “sailed the ocean blue,” the people of Asia and Europe were placing roofs over structures to keep the elements out. Many of these bridges were known as “wind and rain bridges.”
There are many theories on why man first started covering bridges. One theory states that people wanted the bridge to look more like a barn so that animals would be more comfortable crossing a stream or river, but most theorists think the answer comes down to the weather. Leaving wood in the outside weather causes it to deteriorate much quicker than when it is covered.
Covered bridges were part of the landscape in China thousands of years ago; however, the first covered bridge in America was built by Theodore Burr. In 1804, the first Burr truss bridge crossed the Hudson River in New York.
A truss is a self-supporting span capable of great lengths using short pieces of timber; the Burr truss became known throughout the United States.
Today, events such as weddings and dinners are being arranged at covered bridge sites by local tourist officials to focus attention on the historical significance that a covered bridge brings to an area.
The Fleming County Covered Bridge Festival is held annually the fourth Saturday in August. This year’s 14th annual festival will be held August 27, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Goddard Bridge on Hwy. 32. There will be music, arts and crafts, food, an antique car and tractor show, heritage demonstrations, and more. For information, call (606) 845-1223 (9 a.m.-5 p.m.).
Also learn about the Fleming County Covered Bridge Museum located in Flemingsburg.
Go to www.flemingkychamber.com for more info on the festival and the museum.
To read the Kentucky Living April 2011 feature that goes along with this supplement, go to Spanning Time.