Covered Bridges of Washington County

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THE BROWNLEE BRIDGE - BRIDGE CLOSED

Stream          Templeton Fork of Wheeling Creek
Truss Type      Kingpost
Length          31 ft., 6 in.
Width           11 ft., 7 in.
Builder         unknown
Year            unknown
Ownership       County

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As one of the smallest covered bridges, the Brownlee has rough vertical-plank siding on both the sides and portals. In addition to the lengthwise openings under the eaves, two rectangular windows have been cut into the sidewalls. Recorded in 1952 by local historian Earle R. Forrest, the Brownlee originally contained triangular-shaped windows which have been replaced by the rectangular windows of today. The bridge is painted barn red inside and out, has a sheet-metal roof, and a deck with heavy canvas in the tire track area laid over crosswise planking.

Very little is known concerning the origins of the Brownlee Bridge. However, the sawed timbers used for all of the main beams indicates that the bridge was built after 1860. It is of the Kingpost truss construction, which is both the oldest and the simplest truss type. It consists of a triangle constructed of large timbers and a few reinforcing timbers, usually running from the highest point of the triangle to the floor. Bridges of this construction type are seldom over 35 feet in length. However, several of these trusses can be linked together to create a longer span.

The entire structure of the bridge is supported with additional wooden timbers that are positioned at equal thirds resting in the streambed. It rests on cut stone-and-mortar abutments built on concrete foundations which extend to form stone-and-mortar wingwalls.

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