The Bridges of Catawba County

We saw a sign for the “Bunker Hill covered bridge” and found it after driving down a couple of country roads and a gravel path. The bridge was built in the late 1800s and it is an example of a lattice construction.   There were thousands of these kinds of bridges back then in the U.S. and hundreds in North Carolina. Now this is the last one.

The covering protects the wood.  An uncovered wooden bridge lasts around twenty years. The covered variety can last 100. The covering also made the horses feel like they were in the barn and they didn’t spook because of the water.

This bridge was build by a guy called Haupt. He literally wrote the book on building such bridges as the the note about it says, Haupt was “Chief of Military Railroads for the Union Army during the Civil War. A Philadelphia born civil and military engineer, author, professor, inventor, and industrialist, Haupt’s improved lattice truss bridge was a response to Ithiel Town’s 1820 and 1835 patents for the plank lattice timber truss. Haupt used the analytical methods he developed in the 1840s to design a more efficient lattice truss which consisted of web members positioned only at locations which required support. Redundant members were removed, resulting in the improved lattice truss as described in his book General Theory of Bridge Construction published in 1851.” It is good for a man to have a passion.

Today the bridge goes from nowhere to nowhere. It has outlived its usefulness, but I suppose that 100 years ago there was a road that people sometimes needed.