Scenic USA - Oregon

Chitwood Covered Bridge

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Chitwood Covered Bridge - Lincoln County, Oregon

Photo by Ben Prepelka
Scenic USA Artist Website

     Visible from U.S. Route 20 in Chitwood, the barn red covered bridge and a few homes are all that remain of a once bustling little railroad town. The train depot was demolished, the post office closed in 1945, Pepin’s Grocery burned and the Smith General Store has disappeared.
     Established during the 1860s, the town’s first few bridges over the Lower Yaquina River quickly gave in to the damp coastal air. The Chitwood Covered Bridge, a simple design built by Otis Hamer in 1926, was made to last. Portal view - Chitwood Bridge Using semi-elliptical Howe trusses, the bridge’s all important timbers were protected by a roof of cedar shingles and flared batten sidewalls. The Corvallis and Eastern Railway steam engines gave way to diesels, no longer requiring a stop for water and coal.
     It’s quiet in Chitwood today. The few residents who remain enjoy its peaceful foothills setting. Most of the Route 20 traffic comes from Oregon’s Coastal Range sightseers who stop to see the historic 96 foot covered bridge. Still carrying traffic today, above each portal is a Chitwood sign, saved from the old Southern Pacific Railroad Depot.

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