Friday, June 30, 2017

Along the Way: Colvin Covered Bridge

The Colvin Covered Bridge, Schellsburg
There was a coolness in the autumn air as I stepped out of the vehicle and stretched. The bridge was not on my list of places to visit on the journey through Bedford and Somerset Counties, but I welcomed the unplanned stop as a break from the long drive that morning. My mind had been on the first couple places I wanted to visit and I was past it when my father asked if I had noticed the sign for a covered bridge.

Seeing I had a number of covered bridges already on my list, and wondering how I had missed this one, I found a place to turn around and return to Schellsburg. Turning onto Mill Road, I drove roughly a mile southwest of town to the Colvin Covered Bridge.

The bridge seemed to glow in the early morning light as I stood there. The bridge, which crosses Shawnee Creek just west of Shawnee State Park, reflected in the leaf-covered water.

Colvin Covered Bridge is known by a number of names which also includes Calvin and Shilier Bridge. The bridge takes it’s names from Colvin, which appears on the map of Shawnee State Park as a boat launch roughly a half mile away from the bridge. From this parking area, there is a half mile hiking trail that leads from the parking area at Colvin to the covered bridge. The Colvin Covered Bridge was owned by a Doctor Shilier, and his name remains attached to the bridge. Note: While I'm not one hundred percent I do not believe Colvin was a community of any sort, but instead is merely a place name for the area, named after the Colvin family who lived there.

It has a span of sixty-six feet and was erected with a multiple kingpost design with an unusual feature. The slanted supports, rather than going the whole way to the top of the bridge like a normal kingpost design, only go half way up the vertical supports. Halfway up the on both sides of the bridge where the diagonal beams meet, is a horizontal beam that runs the length of the bridge.

The bridge was erected by J.H. Thompson, but the exact year that the bridge was erected seems to be in debate. Most sources state that it was built in 1866, but in a couple places it is listed as being erected in 1880 and some places list it being built as late as 1894. It was refurbished in the late 1980s and is still in great shape.

The Colvin Covered Bridge is one of those covered bridges that photographs well from almost any angle. Even the arch at the southern end of the bridge that gives the height allowance for the bridge does not take away from the beauty.

The bridge is open to traffic so please be aware of approaching vehicles and as always be respectful of the area if you choose to visit.

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