Scenic USA - Tennessee

Doe River Bridges

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Doe River Bridges - Elizabethton, Tennessee

Photos by Ben Prepelka
Scenic USA Artist Website

     Hemmed in by Lynn Mountain to the east and the Doe River to the west, Elizabethton's officials soon realized further expansion during the late 1800s would require a bridge over the Doe River. Doe River Covered Bridge Detail With much debate, the city finally approved 3300 dollars for a bridge and its approaches. Their first problem arose when they couldn't find a qualified contractor. A local doctor, E.E. Hunter accepted the contract and sought out Thomas Matson to engineer the bridge. Railway engineer and architect, Matson's resume included the Tweetsie Railroad and New York's Elevated Rail System. Utilizing a Howe truss system, the 137 foot, single span covered bridge features unique truncated gable ends and pedestrian walk. Completed in 1882, the bridge was tested in 1910 when the Doe River flooded. While most bridges on the Doe River washed away, Elizabethton's bridge survived.
     Replaced by a graceful concrete arched triple span bridge in 1926, the Doe River Covered Doe River, Elk Street Bridge - Luten Bridge Company, 1926 Bridge remains the highlight of a large city park. Covered Bridge Park offers a picnic area, baseball field, park benches and riverside walking trails. Each June, Elizabethton holds a weeklong celebration at the park. Called the Elizabethton Covered Bridge Days, the festival features live music, craft shows, children's activities, the Elk Avenue Car Club Show and plenty of good food.
     Both bridges have been recently refurbished and are among the prominent landmarks of Elizabethton's historical and architectural register. The historic district also features a variety of buildings dating from the late 1700s through the early 1900s.

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