Scenic USA - Virginia

Meems Bottom Covered Bridge

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Photos by Ben Prepelka
Scenic USA Artist Website

     Known as the breadbasket of the Confederacy during the Civil War period, the Shenandoah Valley has always been recognized as a rich farmland. During the early 1700s, eastern Virginian pioneers were cut off from moving into the valley by the eastern Blue Ridge Mountains. It was settlers from the north, mainly Pennsylvania's German and Scots-Irish, that established the first extensive farms in the valley.
     Here at Meems Bottom, one of the countless valley farming areas, rests Meems Bottom Bridge - Mount Jackson, Virginia one of the last covered bridges in Virginia that supports regular traffic. Nearby Mount Jackson, the Meems Bottom Covered Bridge features a 200 foot single span wooden Burr Arch. Built in 1892 by Franklin Hiser Wissler, this wooden bridge over the North Fork provided access to his apple orchards at Strathmore Farms.
     The Meems Bottom Bridge was not the first on this site. It's believed that two prior bridges were lost by fire and flood. The first bridge was probably burned in 1862 by Stonewall Jackson's Rebels, and the second, washed away by floodwaters in 1870. Again in 1976, the bridge was burned by naive pranksters on Halloween. Original timbers were salvaged and the bridge was reconstructed. The bridge was also strengthened with steel beams and concrete piers, and reopened to traffic in 1979. This view through the bridge neatly frames the beautiful tree-lined lane leading in from U.S. Route 11.

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