Chambers Railroad Bridge; the old and the new

Eightteen of Oregon’s 50 or 51 (depending on count criteria;  I photographed 52, 1 is not registered) registered covered bridges are in Lane County;  Two are in the city of Cottage Grove and located within a couple blocks of each other.  The Chambers Railroad Bridge is the larger and now the newer in town.

chambers railroad bridge

Rebuilt Chambers Railroad Bridge, photo sept. 2012

I have question to the bridge’s original build date and will pursue to find the correct date.  You’ll see on my bridge spec list that I show it being built in 1936.  Now I see a couple information sources saying that date is 1925 (Wikipedia).  I will follow up to get that definitive date.

Covered bridge, Chambers Railroad Bridge

Chambers Railroad Bridge (2005)

It was built to haul logs to the J.H. Chambers mill and served that function until the 1950’s when the mill burned.

Covered bridge, Chambers

Chambers Railroad Bridge 2005

The bridge suffered years of deterioration and when I photographed it in 2005 it was missing many panels and appeared in dire condition.  I think I remember reading press in 2006 or ‘7 that the bridge would likely be dismantled and removed because of it’s physical instability and potential danger.

In 2008 the National Historic Covered Bridge Preservation Program awarded a grant to the City of Cottage Grove to restore the bridge.  The original bridge was removed and another of exactly the same size was built in it’s place.  It was completed in the fall of 2011.

The bridge in 2005…





Covered Bridge;  Chambers Railroad

Chambers Railroad Bridge 2012

And, the bridge now…








Here is the intricate and artistic inside structure – Click on the image to better see.

Chambers Railroad Bridge interior

Beautiful new wood interior geometry

It’s an engineering marvel and a “work of art” in my opinion.

For a very thorough timeline of events  and bridge details check here.

Cottage Grove, Oregon is an easy drive on the Oregon Interstate 5 Corridor,  in a picturesque part of the Willamette Valley, and about 125 miles south of Portland or 170 miles north of the California state line.

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