Sunday, July 01, 2007

Row River Trail and Covered Bridges

There are days made for exploring our worlds and this was one of them. The Cottage Grove, Oregon area has two great features aside from the murals downtown and it's movie history with "The General" and "Animal House." There was once a famous Bohemia mine where the mining included gold, silver, lead and zinc. There was a railway (OP&E) that ran from Cottage Grove to the mine and today they still celebrate Bohemia Mine Days annually. The railway later became part of the Rails to Trails (see below) a wonderful program. It's unheralded but a truly remarkable program.

Bureau of Land Management - Row River National Recreation Trail, Cottage Grove, Oregon

The vision for the Row River Trail began in 1992 when a multi-agency/private citizen working group was organized to foster a Rails-to-Trails project for the abandoned Oregon Pacific & Eastern (OP&E) rail line. The OP&E line was owned and operated by the Bohemia Mining Company and utilized to haul ore, logs, supplies and passengers between Disston and Cottage Grove. The Eugene District of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) acquired 14 miles of the abandoned rail way in 1993 for settlement of a debt from a timber sale default.

The Row River Trail is now 15.6 miles and connects the City of Cottage Grove to Dorena Lake, Culp Creek and the nearby Umpqua National Forest. The trail traverses a variety of landscapes that include: urban lands; pasture and farm land; timber lands; Dorena Lake shoreline; and the Row River.

We started the trip in Cottage grove and the pedestrian covered bridge on Main Street.

Scrabble Queen and Serena Lou Who discussed the route before we started.

"Pieces of two Lane County bridges (Meadows Bridge and Brumbaugh Bridge) which had been dismantled in 1979 were used to build the Centennial Bridge in 1987. The primarily volunteer effort to erect the bridge honoring Cottage Grove's 100th birthday proved to be a success. At the dedication ceremony a time capsule was encased in the entrance of the bridge containing items from the 1980s. The Centennial Covered Bridge is a 3/8 scale model of the Chambers Covered Bridge, which is located only a few hundred feet away. It is only 10 feet wide and 14 feet to the roof peak, and thus only handles foot and bicycle traffic. River: Coast Fork of Willamette River Length: 84 feet (26 m) Year Constructed: 1987 Nearest Town: Cottage Grove Located in downtown Cottage Grove adjacent to City Hall on Main Street."
I got this picture of the pedestrian bridge being pedestrianized.

On the other side of the River this striking building was peeking out from behind the trees.

Scrabble Queen took a picture of Superputter at the park before we left.

The second bridge we saw was the Chambers Railroad Bridge. It was at a beautiful spot but was in great disrepair. The bridge is privately owned and not at all maintained by the city, county or state.

Chambers is the only remaining covered railway bridge in Oregon. The 78 ft. Howe Truss span was named for the Frank Chambers Sawmill which it served from its construction in 1936 until the sawmill burned in 1943. It has stood abandoned crossing the Coast Fork of the Willamette River ever since.

The bridge's odd proportions reflect its usage. It had to be tall to accommodate steam locomotives, and it had to be sturdy to hold up to the weight of loaded log cars on their way to the mill. The timbers were all hand hewed. Sawing raises the grain of the wood and allows moisture to enter. Dimensioning the cords with adze and broadax produces a smooth, naturally water repellent surface.

"Located a half-mile upstream from Centennial Bridge, Swinging Bridge was built for foot and bicycle traffic and was mostly used by children crossing the Coast Fork to get to school. The present bridge is at least the fourth built on this site. Earlier versions of the bridge could be made to swing side to side - hence its name!"

As we left town we were paralleling the Row River Trail and at one of the rest parks along the trail came across this section that runs over an old railroad bridge. The bridge is a crossing point over Mosby Creek and about 50 yards from the Mosby Creek Bridge.

"This bridge was named for David Mosby, an 1853 Oregon Trail pioneer who settled in this area east of Cottage Grove. It is Lane County's oldest covered bridge, built in 1920. The span employs a modified Howe Truss with spliced chords and steel rod cross braces on the upper chords. It is 90 ft. long, covered with a metal roof and traverses Mosby Creek. In 1996, foul weather took its toll on the bridge causing extensive damage."

I loved cropping the previous picture to expand on the framed view through the Mosby creek bridge.

Further along we stopped at the Stewart Bridge where a couple of cross country recreationalists (they used to be called hobos or today homeless) were peering over the bridge.
"Stewart Bridge is another of Oregon's bypassed spans. The new concrete bridge is an arm's length away. But Stewart has become part of Lane County's mothball project. It has been fumigated to protect it from insect damage and one of its approaches was removed. It is now accessible only by foot.

The Howe Truss structure is 90 ft. long spanning Mosby Creek near Cottage Grove. It was originally built in 1930 and carried a 20 ton load limit until its closure in the mid 1980's. An unusual feature in Stewart Bridge is its deck. About two thirds of the way through is a hand hewn plank that raises the level of the deck by a deck board's thickness. It's sort of like an internal speed bump.

Like other Oregon Bridges, this one has also survived a few calamities. Both of its lower chords snapped in the 1964 Christmas flood, and in 1968, its roof caved in under the weight of three feet of snow during a freak winter storm. Both times repairs were effected to return the bridge to full capacity."

So what were they looking at? Bones in the water! Yikes!! From the looks of this bone it was a horse or cow. There were other bones as well.

Scrabble Queen spotted these Tiger lilies we breezed by so I turned around to get a picture. I just love the photogenic little plants.

Dorena Bridge is at the far east end of the Covered Bridge trail and still on the Row River Trail.

"The bridge received its name from the town of Dorena which was named for two area residents, Dora Burnett and Rena Martin. The town was inundated when Dorena Reservoir was filled in 1946. Government Camp Road was built along its west bank in 1948, and plans were drawn up for this new bridge. The span was completed and opened in 1949.

This 105 ft. crossing features the usual Howe Truss and bridges Row River (as in a fight kind of row, not row like a row boat). It was bypassed in 1974 by a concrete bridge and allowed to fall into disrepair.

In the 1980's, Lane County began a mothballing project for it's abandoned bridges. The asphalt was removed from Dorena's decking and the bridge was fumigated. In 1996, a total restoration of the bridge was completed, and it now stands in mint condition."

Scrabble Queen tried pointing out some small waterfalls to Serena Lou Who to no avail. Not because she couldn't see them but because Serena didn't consider some water running over some big rocks a waterfall.

The interior of the Dorena Covered Bridge is almost like a church and very well maintained.

It even has some Sweet Peas blooming under the bridge.

The Currin Covered Bridge was the last for the day and almost back into Cottage Grove.
"Currin is the only Oregon Bridge which is painted with two colors, red on the sides with white portals. It was built in 1925 at a cost of $4,025 replacing the original span, built in 1883 for $1,935. It employs the Howe Truss to bear the load of this 105 ft. span across the Coast Fork of the Willamette River. By-passed in 1979 by its neighboring concrete span, Currin Bridge is still accessible by foot."

I really liked the concrete footings of this bridge and their trapezoid shaped footings.

From this angle you can see the bridge is painted both White on the face and Red on the sides. It was a fun day for me and my HP 935 camera.

Scrabble Score ~ The Scrabble Queen 349 - The Contender 329

Quote of the Day ~
"Otter: Ladies and gentlemen, I'll be brief. The issue here is not whether we broke a few rules or took a few liberties with our female party guests -- we did. But you can't hold a whole fraternity responsible for the behavior of a few sick, perverted individuals. For if you do, then shouldn't we blame the whole fraternity system? And if the whole fraternity system is guilty, then isn't this an indictment of our educational institutions in general? I put it to you, Greg ... isn't this an indictment of our entire American society? Well, you can do what you want to us, but we're not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America! Gentlemen!" ~Tim Matheson as Otter Stratton in the movie "Animal House" a irreverent look at College Fraternity Life in the 60's.

It's an interesting argument that could be used today about indicting a group for the actions of a few fringe elements.

1 comment:

Denae said...

hi paul. i just moved to eugene and was doing a search on covered bridges and stumbled onto your blog. just wanted you to know i copied a picture onto my blog and linked to your blog. i love your pics. best, denae


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