Everett Covered Bridge, and Merry Christmas

Everett Covered Bridge, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio

Few scenes evoke America’s pioneer past as vividly as a freshly painted covered bridge spanning a river or stream. Many country roads followed waterways, and geographers have estimated that as many as 12,000 covered bridges once existed in the United States. Today only about 800 remain, mostly in the Northeast and Midwest. Pennsylvania has the most, with about 210 covered bridges, and Ohio is second, with about 125.

Why were the bridges covered? One fanciful explanation was that the roof made the bridge look like a barn, which made it less threatening to horses and cattle passing over the bridge. A more likely reason was to protect the wooden structure of the bridge so that it wouldn’t rot, or as one old bridge builder remarked, “Our bridges were covered, my dear sir, for the same reason that ladies wore hoop skirts and crinolines—to protect the structural beauty that was seldom seen but nevertheless appreciated!”

Everett Covered Bridge, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio

My home in Cuyahoga Falls is about a 20-minute drive from Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and I especially enjoy visiting the Everett Covered Bridge in winter after a fresh snowfall, as shown in the two photos above, which were made early in the morning within a few minutes of each other. Both images were made with a Sony Alpha 850, which was a 24-megapixel full-frame DSLR, and a Sony 24-70mm lens. The horizontal image emphasizes the bridge, and the vertical photo with the snow-covered boulders in the foreground was made after wading in knee-length rubber boots in the chilly waters of Furnace Run. Which photo do you prefer?

For more information on Ohio’s covered bridges and tips on finding and photographing them, check out the chapter “Barns, Bridges, Mills, and Rural Areas” in my book, A Photographer’s Guide to Ohio, available from my website:


Wherever your travels take you during the holiday season, we hope you have a Merry Christmas and a very happy New Year!

Ian Adams, Spicer and Maddie



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