Dec 8, 2006

Drift Creek Covered Bridge

Drift Creek Covered Bridge

Lincoln City, OR. – Covered bridges have always been of historical and photographic interest in Oregon. One of Oregon’s oldest, the Drift Creek Covered Bridge was originally constructed in 1914 on Drift Creek just south and east of Lincoln City, Oregon. Like many wooden bridges, it was covered to extend its usable life past 9 years to about 80 years, the cover keeping the huge truss timbers dry and subject to far less rapid deterioration.

In 1987 the Oregon Legislature established a fund to help preserve Oregon’s covered bridges, but the Drift Creek Bridge was not blessed by the benefits of the fund. In 1997, the Lincoln County Commissioners determined that the bridge’s dangerous deteriorated condition required condemnation and demolition.

It was then that Laura Sweitz and her husband, Kerry, believing that “Life is filled with possibilities,” a motto which now hangs from the bridge, asked for a chance to save it. The Sweitzes offered to salvage what timber could be saved and reconstruct the bridge on their own land on Bear Creek Road in Rose Lodge, just east of Lincoln City. The County Commissioners accepted, and the arduous process of sifting the good wood from the rotted and infested wood began. They harvested replacement wood from their own land using traditional methods, including hand-cutting the shakes for the roof.

Although the lack of funds and volunteer labor frequently delayed the project and disheartened the Sweitzes, in late 1999, the bridge appeared on the cover of a nationwide calendar, and the Oregon Heritage Commission included the bridge project in its “Heritage Needs Assessment.” The calendar gave their hearts a lift and the donation of the mammoth main cord logs by the local Simpson Timber Company furthered their resolve to rebuild the bridge and preserve it for the citizens of and visitors to Oregon.

By July 14, 2001, when the bridge was finally re-dedicated, it gracefully spanned Bear Creek just twelve miles from its original home. More than half the reconstructed bridge is created from original materials, including much of its early graffiti memorializing marriage proposals, love, and the first fish caught. The cornerstone was donated by Taft Masonic Lodge #200.

The Sweitzes gave the bridge and the land upon which it rests to Lincoln County and embraced with open arms the opportunity to share it with visitors 365 days a year. It now stands as a memorial to its pioneer builders, from both this century and last, and a unique and serene place for visitors to enjoy.

And Visitors are welcome 365 days per year. For all they have given, the Sweitzes, who live only a few yards from the bridge, ask in return only that visitors respect their privacy and their need for quiet. To get there, travel east of Lincoln City, OR, on Highway 18. Approximately 3.5 miles east of the Otis Café turn south on North Bear Creek Road. Proceed about one mile. The Bridge is on the left.

12 comments:

  1. Beautiful bridge that's a must see next time we are in Oregon visiting the son and family.
    I like the brilliant grass on the other side of the bridge.

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  2. Great picture, and nice story to back it up. It makes me feel good.

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  3. Another great image. Your really putting out great stuff.

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  4. superbe photo et cette couleur est sublime. merci pour le texte (meme si j'ai mis pas mal de temps à le traduire ;o) ).
    Bon weeck end


    superb photograph and this color are sublime. thank you for the text (same if I spent not badly time to translate it ;O) ). Good weeck end

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  5. Faye, I dub you blogger historian! The photo is clear and captivating. And, the narrative makes it special, just as the people who did the restoration are special. You, too, are special for taking the time to introduce us to this wonderful bridge and history.

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  6. I love the history! I find local history so appealing. Great capture of a beautiful subject!

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  7. Hi faye! thanks for visiting my blog, i hope you come back...it's poetry so i think you really can't understand that, but i have two more blogs of photography, one is organized by themes, we just finished "cups" and we're going with pencils. I really apreciate your comments 'cause you're a great photographer; i really liked the ostrich! And the landscapes are awesome. I hope to see you soon on my blogs...

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  8. Oh I love covered bridges and this is beautiful. I especially like reading about it in addition to viewing it.. thanks for that! :) I have been to Lincoln City twice, but didn't see this bridge, so next time I get that far west, I'm sure to visit this place!

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  9. Covered Bridges are the best. What a great shot. :)

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  10. I found that story so inspirational. When people take on a project to serve the community, to honor the past, to cherish and sustain precious traditions, then I am inspired.

    Thanks, Faye.

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