Covered bridges in Humboldt County

On the road from Korbel to Kneeland at Maple Creek, 1939

According to Cliff Calderwood, bridges were covered to protect them against the weather and extend their life.  And this makes sense.  Without a backhoe, loader and other heavy equipment, building a bridge was a significant (and important) project.  Folks would want their investment to last.  


More from Calderwood and more bridges…


 Most historians agree the first covered bridge in America was The Permanent Bridge completed in 1805 in Pennsylvania, and designed by Timothy Palmer from New England. The longest known Covered Bridge is The Hartland in New Brunswick, Canada, which at 1,282 feet spans the Saint John River.

 But perhaps the most famous covered bridges are in Madison County, Iowa. The Bridges of Madison County used to number 19, but today only six survive. Robert James Waller’s novel, and the movie of the same name, popularized these bridges to millions worldwide, and also provided evidence that covered bridges in North America are by no means limited to the Northeast region. You’ll find smaller numbers in the mid-Atlantic and Southern States, along with the mid-West, and the Pacific Coast states as well.  


 A question often asked is why so many of the bridges are painted red on the outside?  

 Historians believe the red coating makes the bridge seem more like a barn to a horse, and as horses tended to be skittish about crossing high over flowing water, the illusion helped farmers and travelers navigate the obstacle with little incident.


Maple Creek Road over Canyon Creek, c. 1946 (bridge built in 1929)

Elk River Slough, c. 1950 (I believe this one is still out there)


7 Responses to Covered bridges in Humboldt County

  1. Jendocino says:

    Ulysses S. Grant, who was stationed up here, developed the design for the covered bridge in Knight’s Ferry, CA (Stanislaus county) – one of the prettiest covered bridges I’ve ever seen. Thanks for the post!!

  2. Sam says:

    check out the painting of the covered bridge near Eureka, California on

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