In the small town of Claremont, near Hickory, is the Bunker Hill Covered Bridge. At one time there were 10 such covered bridges in NC. Today only 2 original bridges remain. The other bridge is the Pisgah Covered Bridge located near Asheboro.
In 1894 the local community needed to have a bridge to cross Lyles Creek. They hired Andy L. Ramsour, who was the keeper of the Horseford covered bridge, to build the bridge. The Horseford Bridge covered the Catawba River. Ramsour and several others had the bridge ready for use in 1895. The design came from General Haupt’s book, Bridge Construction (1863).
The bridge is made of oak and uses trunnels (wooden pins). It spans 85 feet over the creek. It was originally an open span design, but was covered 5 years later. The original roof had wooden shingles, but was replaced in 1921 with tin. The name Bunker Hill comes from the nearby (at the time) Bunker Hill Farm. The creek was once part of Island Ford Road, which was a Native American trail. It later was used for transporting British Prisoners of war after the 1781 battle of Cowpens.
With the advent of commercial traffic, the bridge was no longer useable. Eventually a major road was built nearby for the burgenioning community. It remained county property and was eventually turned over to the care of the Catawba Historical Society. A massive restoration effort was launched in 1994-1995.
The bridge is the only know example of the 19th century Haupt Truss in wood. General Herman Haupt (1817-1905) was a civil engineer with a specialty in railroad construction. He attended West Point and later was an instructor there. During the civil war he was the Bridiger General in charge of all aspects of the US Military railroads. After the war he retired his services to continue his engineering work. He went on to build a number of bridges and wrote several books on bridge designs.
Oops ran out of words! Read on for part 2
Charlotte, North Carolina
December 5, 2005
From journal Beautiful North Carolina Places