Baker’s Covered Bridge

Baker’s Covered Bridge

As construction techniques have improved, so has Baker’s Bridge, also known as the Carver Bridge. Located just south of the small town of Carver Oregon across the Clackamas River, the fourth bridge to be at this location has recently been installed.

Located next to the Barlow trail, a lot of settlers stopped here as took up donation claims. Among them, Horace Baker, a stone cutter, pump maker, and all around ingenious guy. His original cabin still exists less then a 1/4 mile from this location. Baker built a ferry across the Clackamas River at this location in 1872. It ran until his death in 1882. The same source also says the ferry was swept away by high water that year, but I have not been able to find if those two events are related.

At that time, the county decided to build a bridge across the river. It was finished in 1883, and named Baker’s Bridge in his memory. It is also referred to as “Baker’s Ferry Covered Bridge” in some sources[zotpressInText item=”ER8IIUA8″ format=”%num%”]. It was 230 feet long, built in the Smith Truss style.

Baker's Bridge

Sorry for the poor quality, I made the assumption I could find a digital copy of this photo

Baker's Ferry Covered Bridge

Old Oregon Photos says this was the Baker’s Bridge in 1900. I can’t reconcile the major differences between this bridge and the two pictures above. My only guess is that the river might have washed out part of the bank and the extension was built on the end. If this is the case, this would be looking from the north end of the bridge. Either way – I highly recommend visiting Old Oregon Photos, they have some of the best pictures of Oregon.

In 1930, Baker’s Covered Bridge was replaced by two new bridges. One was a trestle bridge built by the Clackamas & Eastern Railroad on the west side of the covered bridge. The other a 9-panel Parker through truss bridge built for automobiles. With both these bridges completed, the covered bridge was removed. The automobile bridge retained the name “Baker’s Bridge,” while the railroad bridge was removed at an unknown time.

Clackamas and Eastern Railroad Bridge at Carver, Oregon

Railroad Bridge built in 1930. Baker’s Covered Bridge is to the right.

The 1930s Baker Bridge was rehabilitated in the 1955. Unfortunately, as is typical these days, between modern building techniques, and degradation over time, this bridge was totally replaced in 2013. This was done despite it’s eligibility for the National Register of Historic Places. The deck condition was so bad that rebuilding it would have been impossible.

The new bridge is a modern concrete bridge, with what looks like three lanes. When I visited in March 2016 road striping had not been finished and there were still construction traffic control devices present. The footings of the Covered Bridge on the south shore of the Clackamas River are still visible. Those on the north shore don’t seem to exist any longer.

Old Baker's Covered Bridge Footing

Old Baker’s Covered Bridge Footing


Bibliography
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Ritner Creek Covered Bridge

Ritner Creek Covered Bridge

The Ritner Creek Bridge was the last covered bridge in use on Oregon’s highways. Note that it is not the last that can still be driven over – there are several in Linn County that are still drivable. Located about two miles south of Peedee on King’s Highway/Highway 223, the bridge played an important role in the community. It was used to house weddings, community events, and local residents even mounted mail boxes inside to protect them from the weather.

Ritner Covered Bridge

Back side of bridge

Back side of bridge

About the bridge

About the bridge

The sign (placed by Polk County) says “Text from the Ritner Creek Bridge Sign
Ritner Creek Bridge, one of the covered bridges remaining in Oregon west of the Cascades, almost became a memory in 1974. Declared structurally unsafe, it was scheduled for removal. The children of Pedee School along with the citizens in the Pedee area rallied to its support with a “Save our Bridge” campaign. The County commissioners met with the state highway department and as a result the issue was placed on the ballot May 28, 1974. The measure passed and the covered bridge was moved to an adjacent site. The new bridge on Highway 223 parallels it.

Ritner Creek Bridge was named for a pioneer, Sebastian Ritner who arrived in Oregon in 1845. Some of his descendants still live in this area.

The bridge was built in 1926 by Hammer and Curry Contractors at a cost of $6,963.78. Relocation of the bridge cost the taxpayers $26,031 in 1975 – 1976. And additional $533.08 has been spent on a mini-park, which is located next to the bridge. Another park, Ritner Creek County Park is located a few miles upstream.”

Closeup of the truss design

Closeup of the truss design

View of "windows" and how they are installed

View of “windows” and how they are installed

"front" of bridge

“front” of bridge

View through a window

View through a window

The park containing the bridge is the Minnie Ritner Ruiter Wayside. It remains an important community area for celebration to this day.

Photo by Ben Maxwell in 1942.

Photo by Ben Maxwell in 1942.

In May 1960, the Oregon Historical Society sponsored a covered bridge tour. I am not able to find any information about the exact route today, but one of the men on the tour was the builder, Charles Otis Hamar, (listed as Otis Hamar in several records.) Based out of Dallas, Oregon, Mr. Hamar was a prolific builder of Covered Bridges. In addition to the Ritner Bridge, he built the Chitwood, Drift Creek, Fisher School, and the North Fork Yachats River Covered Bridges. These are just the ones still standing, he built many more in addition to these five. Please comment below if you know of any other bridges he built.

Otis Hamar 1960 by Ben Maxwell

Otis Hamar 1960 by Ben Maxwell

L to R: Tom Vaughan; Robert Scott; Otis Hamar,  and J.N. Dunn

L to R: Tom Vaughan; Robert Scott; Otis Hamar, and J.N. Dunn

Bad car accident just past the bridge, photo taken 1961 by Ben Maxwell

Bad car accident just past the bridge, photo taken 1961 by Ben Maxwell

The bridge in 1973, just before it was moved

The bridge in 1973, just before it was moved

Note that the Salem Library website says the road was moved, not the bridge. But if you look at the road here, I feel that the bridge was moved and the road stayed the same. What do you think?

Hoskins Covered Bridge

The first Hoskins Covered Bridge was built in 1900 to cross the Luckiamute River in Benton County. It was located in what was then the town of Hoskins.

That bridge was replaced in 1938 at a cost of $3815. It served the town for 36 years before the Columbus Day Storm blew several fir trees on to it. The damage was massive, and the bridge had to be replaced. This time by an uncovered concrete bridge that still exists today.

The Bridge in 1946

Hoskins Covered Bridge. Photo taken on September 29, 1946 by Ben Maxwell

Frantz Grocery and second Hoskins Bridge. Also taken by Ben Maxwell

Frantz Grocery and Hoskins Covered Bridge. Also taken by Ben Maxwell

Frantz Store and Hoskins Bridge in 1960

Frantz Store and Hoskins Covered Bridge in 1960. Photo by Ben Maxwell

After the Storm

Taken October 27, 1962, by Ben Maxwell after the Columbus Day Storm

Map of Oregon’s Covered Bridges

Map of Oregon’s Covered Bridges

One of Oregon’s lasting legacies is the number of wooden covered bridges still in existence. Over 600 bridges existed at one time, but only a small fraction still exists. Of those left, a surprising number are still in useable condition and are driven over every day. Some have been removed from public right of ways, but are still walkable and have been turned into history lessons via interpretative signs mounted inside and around the bridge. All are actively being preserved by the state of Oregon, the county or city they exist in, and a large variety of preservation groups.

The Preserve Oregon Blog has a great article about preserving these historic treasures and the work and challenges that goes into doing so.

Information about bridges came from the Covered Bridge Society of Oregon
Included bridges are:
Antelope Creek
Belknap (McKenzie)
Cavitt (Peel)
Cedar Crossing
Centennial
Chambers
Chitwood
Coyote Creek (Swing Log, Battle Creek)
Crawfordsville
Currin
Deadwood
Dorena
Drift Creek
Earnest (Mohawk River)
Fisher School
Foster (no longer exists)
Gallon House
Gilkey
Goodpasture
Grave Creek
Hanna Bridge
Harris
Hayden
Hoffman (Crabtree Creek)
Horse Creek
Hufford (Middle Fork Santiam River)
Irish Bend
Lake Creek (Nelson Mountain)
Larwood (Crabtree Creek)
Lost Creek
Lowell
Milo Academy
Mitchell (Private Property)
McKee
Mosby Creek
Neal Lane
North Fork Yachats River
Office (Westfir)
Kewson (Pass) Creek
Parvin (Lost Creek)
Rochester
Ritner
Rock O’ the Range
Sandy Creek
Shimanek (Thomas Creek)
Short
Stayton-Jordon (Jordon)
Stewart
Unity
Wildcat Creek (Austa)
Wimer
Weddle
Wendling

This list only includes currently existing bridges. I am interested in history and pictures of bridges that no longer exist. If you have any thing like that, feel free to post them below in the comments.

Destroyed Bridges

Baker’s
Foster
Hoskins
Hufford

More Information:
Dorena Historical Society’s lost covered bridge list
Lost covered bridges of Lane County

The Destroyed Hufford Covered Bridge near Foster Oregon

Linn County built the Hufford Covered Bridge in 1938 using the Howe Truss design that was developed by the State of Oregon and given to the counties for free. The 120 foot long span crossed the Middle Fork of the Santiam River and was built at a cost of $6000.

Hufford Covered Bridge

From my 35mm Slide Collection

Unfortunately, just like the Foster Covered Bridge, it was destroyed in 1966 to remove it as a potential hazard before Foster Lake flooded. The bridge was located 3 miles “North” of Foster, Oregon on the Quartzville Road. It’s actually more east then north right outside of Lewis Creek Park in the water.

Hufford Covered Bridge

The Hufford Covered Bridge in 1961