Philippi in Barbour County, West Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
The Philippi Covered Bridge
—Scene of the First Land Battle of the Civil War —
The covered bridge, erected in 1852, is the only two-lane bridge in the federal highway system. During the Civil War the bridge served both North and South in passage of troops and supplies across the mountains into Virginia. Several times the bridge narrowly missed the fate of many other wooden structures along the Staunton and Parkersburg Turnpike that were burned.
The dual-lane structure was made of yellow poplar. Masonry work used native stone; and iron bolts, the only metal used, were made by local blacksmiths.
When modern traffic loads were too much for wooden floor beams, officials constructed hearings to decide whether to repair or replace the span. In 1938 the bridge received two additional piers, a steel reinforced concrete floor, and a walkway to handle more safely the increased demands of vehicular and pedestrian traffic. This brought the bridge's weight capacity to ten tons.
Following the fire in 1989, the $1.4 million project, using as much of the original material as possible, restored the structure to its original appearance. Additions of lighting and a sprinkler system have not detracted from the authenticity.
For the Civil War buff crossing the bridge you enter the gateway to the upper Tygart Valley
On February 14, 1844, Philippi was established by the General Assembly of Virginia. Earlier Philippi had been named county seat of Barbour County which was nearly twenty years before West Virginia became the 35th state. The new town was named for Judge Philip Pendleton Barbour, a Virginia jurist.
(Photo captions at bottom, left to right):
An early picture of the bridge. Note absence of Old Main (built in 1909) at Alderson-Broaddus College on College Hill. This bridge was Chenoweth's masterpiece.
Traveling through the bridge around 1916. Folklore concerning the bridge and events of the Civil War have existed for years. One such story is a meeting of President Lincoln and Confederate President Jefferson Davis inside the structure.
The bridge has survived many ice jams and floods, including the devastating floods of 1888 and 1985.
Fire severely damaged the bridge on February 2, 1989; restored in 1991 at a cost of $1.4 million.
The bridge continues to be the state's most photographed landmark.
Location. 39° 9.16′ N, 80° 2.632′ W. Marker is in Philippi, West Virginia, in Barbour County. Marker is at the intersection of Mansfield Drive (U.S. 250) and North Main Street, on the right when traveling east on Mansfield Click for map. Located at the west end of the covered bridge. Marker is in this post office area: Philippi WV 26416, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Philippi (within shouting distance of this marker); The Covered Bridge (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); a different marker also named Philippi (about 400 feet away); Barbour County Vietnam Era Veterans Memorial (about 400 feet away); a different marker also named Philippi (approx. 0.2 miles away); Barbour County War Memorial (approx. 0.2 miles away); a different marker also named Philippi (approx. ¼ mile away); Barbour County Korean War Memorial (approx. ¼ mile away). Click for a list of all markers in Philippi.
Also see . . . Philippi Covered Bridge. From the town's website. (Submitted on July 30, 2010, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
Categories. • Bridges & Viaducts • War, US Civil •
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,212 times since then and 20 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.