One of West Virginia's most beloved covered bridges is the Philippi Bridge. Constructed in 1852 by Lemuel Chenoweth at a cost of $2,151.24, the bridge remains in use today.
During the Civil War the bridge served both North and South in passage of troops and supplies across the mountains into Virginia. Several times the bridge narrowly missed the fate of many other wooden structures along the Staunton and Parkersburg Turnpike that were burned.
The dual-lane structure was made of yellow poplar. Masonry work used native stone; and iron bolts, the only metal used, were made by local blacksmiths.
When modern traffic loads were too much for wooden floor beams, officials constructed hearings to decide whether to repair or replace the span. In 1938 the bridge received two additional piers, a steel reinforced concrete floor, and a walkway to handle more safely the increased demands of vehicular and pedestrian traffic. This brought the bridge's weight capacity to ten tons.
Following the fire in 1989, the $4 million project, using as much of the original material as possible, restored the structure to its original appearance. Additions of lighting and a sprinkler system have not detracted from the authenticity.
To learn more about Philippi and things to see and do in the area, visit wvtourism.com.
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