Henry Covered Bridge
Henry Covered Bridge is a popular historic bridge that crosses Mingo Creek. It is located in Mingo Creek County Park, Washington County, PA.
The bridge is constructed of wooden beams called a truss. A covered bridge covers and protects the truss. Henry Covered Bridge is a queenpost truss structure. A queenpost truss uses two central supporting posts.
Henry Covered Bridge is 36 feet long and nearly twelve feet wide – big enough to drive through on the way to parking, which is about 300 feet from the bridge. By parking and walking back, the bridge can be seen in detail.
Vertical boards cover the sides of the bridge. Those side walls are painted dark red and hold two square cut windows. The original wood was most likely white oak, which was plentiful in Washington County, but the original shingles are long gone. Stripping between the boards seals it against the elements.
The bridge has a gable roof. A gable roof is the most common roof shape around – two roof sections slope in opposite directions and join to form the roof ridge. The Henry Covered Bridge gable roof is covered in tin, according to its National Register of Historic Places nomination form.
The supports are constructed of cut stone and are braced by concrete supports.
Henry Covered Bridge is designated as a historic bridge by the Washington County History & Landmarks Foundation.
The bridge was most likely built around 1881, although a few sources indicate it was built years earlier. No one knows who built it, which is true of many covered bridges. They were certainly built to last longer than uncovered bridges, which had to be replaced every twenty years or so when the wood rotted from the weather. By covering the bridges, the wood that was used to build them lasted much longer. But who knew when they were built in the 19th century that this many years later people would want to know their history?
Pennsylvania has more covered bridges than any other state. There are 213 covered bridges in the commonwealth. There used to be a lot more covered bridges around, but they’ve been destroyed and replaced.
Enough remaining covered bridges survive to hold the Washington & Greene Counties Covered Bridge Festival annually in September. In 2020, the festival was canceled as the coronavirus pandemic swept the globe. The 2021 festival was placed on hold pending revised guidelines.
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