Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween 2009: Meem's Bottom covered bridge in the Shenandoah Valley

Meem's Bottom Covered Bridge in the Shenandoah Valley as dusk began to fall on Halloween 2009. It was almost destroyed by arsonists on Halloween 1976 but restored and reopened in 1979.

A brass plaque inside says:
"The longest remaining covered bridge in Virginia, 200 feet in a single span supported by the Burr Arch, was biult by Franklin H. Wissler in 1892-93. It is Virginia's only covered bridge open to vehicular traffic. Placed on the Virginia Landmark Register as well as the National Historic Register in 1975."

A look at the architecture inside the covered bridge. It reminded me of the story of Sleepy Hollow and, as I stood inside the bridge, I could hear doves cooing in the rafters. Or ... was it spooky voices....?

The road continues at the far end of the bridge.

The road leading to the covered bridge with the Blue Ridge Mountains in the background is a reminder that this was once a private lane on Mr. Wissler's farm.

Shenandoah River, North Fork, flows beneath.

The fire set by vandals in 1976 almost destroyed the bridge. The under-pinning no longer looks as the original did but inside is the same. Still, it is an amazing structure.

Planks on the roadway surface ... one direction at a time ... and all who use it are courteous and wait at one end or the other for traffic to clear.

Brass plaque tells about the Meem's Bottom Covered Bridge.

Picnic tables beside the covered bridge overlook the beautiful Shenandoah Valley and Blue Ridge Mountains.

The Meem's Bottom Covered Bridge is a beautiful structure and reminiscent of those we had seen in years past in New England. Almost destroyed by vandals who set fire to it on Halloween 1976, the bridge is a treasure in Shenandoah County and, hopefully, will not fall under the stupidity of such reckless behavior again. Virginia is for lovers of covered bridges.

A nearby historical marker on U.S. 11 alerts motorists of the bridge's existence:
Built in 1892 by Franklin Hiser Wissler to provide access to his apple orchards at Strathmore Farms, this is the longest remaining covered bridge in Virginia. A 200-foot single span, located one-half mile northwest, the bridge is a Burr Truss design, a combination of arch with vertical and diagonal supports. All construction materials were obtained locally. Damaged by arsonists in 1976, the bridge was restored and reopened in 1979.
Meem's Bottom covered bridge is well worth the trip and another reason to love the Shenandoah Valley ... a place many of us are fortunate enough to call "home."

Photos by SWAC Girl
Lynn Mitchell
31 October 2009

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