Currin and Dorena Covered Bridges

Along the Row (which is short for Rowdy and pronounced accordingly) River just to the east of Cottage Grove are two covered bridges. There are actually seven bridges linked together in a single tour route and maps are available from the Bohemia Mining Museum in old Cottage Grove, or you can follow this route here:

Currin Covered Bridge

Currin Covered Bridge

As with many Lane County landmarks, the Currin Bridge was named after an early pioneer family in the area. Nels Roney constructed the first covered bridge at this site in 1883 for $1,935.

When it was to be replaced in 1925, Lane County again considered a contract for the bridge construction. The lowest bid was $6,250. The county felt it could save money by building the bridge itself.

County employees, with the supervision of brothers Miller and Walter Sorenson, constructed the bridge for $4,025, realizing a substantial savings for the county.

Architectural distinctions include single piece hand-hewn chords and cross-wise planking on the approach. It is Lane County’s only covered bridge with white portals and red sides.

Lane County closed the bridge to traffic when it was bypassed by a concrete span that was built only an arm's length away, making the old covered crossing difficult to photograph.

Dorena Covered Bridge

Dorena Covered Bridge

When Dorena Dam was built in 1946, plans were made to span the Row River at the upper end of the reservoir. Government Road along the west bank was completed in 1949, and the Dorena Bridge was built a year later, after the reservoir was filled, at a cost of $16,547.

Miller Sorenson, Lane County bridge foreman, supervised the construction. The bridge is often referred to as the “Star Bridge” because it provided access to the nearby Star Ranch.

Once a large and proud estate, the ranch has been reduced to about 100 acres.

The state-designed bridge was bypassed in 1974 by a concrete span. Repairs were made to the structure in 1987, as part of the county’s “mothball” plan for covered bridges. The asphalt flooring was removed, chords fumigated and other rehabilitation work was completed.

Ghost Town of Dorena

The town of Dorena was apparently an extremely rowdy western town. Being the closest town to the Bohemia Mine area it no doubt served all the lonely miner’s needs. The river and later road took their name from this fact, being shortened to “Row River” and “Row Road”. The town was established in 1899 and was named after Dora Burnette and Rena Martin by combining their names. The town existed until 1949 when the Dorena Dam was completed to control floods in the area.

The town was of course moved up the road a few miles but never really grew back. It’s mostly 50’s era quickly built houses which are little more then one bedroom shacks and a single gas stations/quick mart type store that serves travelers headed into the Bohemia Recreation area.

4 Responses to “Currin and Dorena Covered Bridges

  • I just posted a Google Earth KMZ file of all covered bridges in Oregon at:

  • this is where Opal Whitely is from, not Wendling

  • I was raised about 5 miles past the existing Dorena/Culp Creek School. Theres alot more history than what is seen. The shacks were housing for when the Bohemia Lumbet Mill was first started.. the next two towns were a result of mining and logging for the area. The mill closed in early 90s and allit of residents moved on. But some families keep the tradition going and have moved back up there. I do have a few older pictures. And A great site to learn more is The Dorena Historical Society.

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