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Philippi in Barbour County, West Virginia — The American South (Appalachia)
 

The Philippi Covered Bridge

Philippi, WV

— Scene of the First Land Battle of the Civil War —

 
 
The Philippi Covered Bridge Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Swain, July 24, 2010
1. The Philippi Covered Bridge Marker
Inscription.  
Constructed in 1852 by Lemuel Chenoweth; masonry by Emanuel J. O'Brien, cost $12,151.24.

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
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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 and on to the eastern theater of the War.

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.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Bridges & Viaducts
Two Photos on the Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Swain, July 24, 2010
2. Two Photos on the Marker
War, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Covered Bridges, and the Former U.S. Presidents: #16 Abraham Lincoln series lists. A significant historical month for this entry is February 1832.
 
Location. 39° 9.16′ N, 80° 2.63′ 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 Drive. Located at the west end of the covered bridge. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Philippi WV 26416, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. First Battle of a Long War (here, next to this marker); In Memory of the Sago Miners (here, next to this marker); Benjamin F. Kelley (a few steps from this marker); Philippi (a few steps from this marker); Confederate Regimental Flag (within shouting distance of this marker); Churchville Cavalry Flag (within shouting distance of this marker); United States Flag (within shouting distance of this marker); Palmetto Flag (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Philippi.
 
Also see . . .  Philippi Covered Bridge - National Register of Historic Places Nomination.
Three Photos at Bottom of Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Swain, July 24, 2010
3. Three Photos at Bottom of Marker
West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History website entry (Submitted on January 28, 2022, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York.) 
 
The Philippi Covered Bridge and Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Swain, July 24, 2010
4. The Philippi Covered Bridge and Marker
The Philippi Covered Bridge image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Swain, July 24, 2010
5. The Philippi Covered Bridge
No trip to Philippi is complete without a walk over the covered bridge. The pedestrian walkway is on the south side of the bridge.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on December 4, 2022. It was originally submitted on July 30, 2010, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,799 times since then and 32 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on July 30, 2010, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.

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Apr. 24, 2024