In December of 1893, the first bridge in Chitwood was constructed in the very spot the covered bridge stands today. It allowed residents of Chitwood to cross the Yaquina without fording the river.
In 1904 another bridge replaced the prior, however it was also uncovered. These bridges did not stand up well to the harsh conditions of weather in the coast range.
In the year 1926, the first covered bridge was constructed which stood in place until its reconstruction in 1984. This bridge was named after the small community of Chitwood, as in Joshua Chitwood, namesake of the railway town. Today, Chitwood is a ghost town, far from resembling the bustling railroad village it once was.
About Chitwood Covered Bridge
- The existing Chitwood bridge was built in 1926 and is 96 feet long.
- The bridge was built by Otis Hamer, and the design is attributed to A.E. Marvin.
- In 1984, the bridge was rehabilitated by federal and county funding and reconstructed by Aubrey Mountain Construction. Construction on this bridge began in late September and was finished by January 7th, 1984.
- The reconstruction was historically accurate as the construction company rebuilt the Howe Truss design, and the board and batten siding.
- The simple structure of flared sides and semi-elliptical portal arches, as well as the barn red color, are characteristics of Lincoln County's bridges.
- The Chitwood Bridge crosses over the Lower Yaquina River and is still passable by motorized traffic.
- The weight limit for this bridge is eight tons.
The Town of Chitwood
Chitwood is the product of Oregon's history at work. It began as a railway stop along the Corvallis-Yaquina railway which ended in the town of Toledo. Chitwood was the end of the line for several pioneers in Oregon. Chitwood was founded by its namesake, Joshua Chitwood the first postmaster and store owner of the town. Chitwood was a bustling railway town that grew as supplies, logging products, and passengers traveled along the railway lifeline, and stopped at Chitwood's depot. Some of the items that came to, and left from Chitwood were, fur pelts and hides, carloads of baled moss, chittam bark, lumber, groceries, clothing, cream, and medicine. With the onset of World War One, hard times hit many small towns in Oregon. Inhabitants of Chitwood and surrounding areas went off to war, and towns became much smaller. Today it is a quaint residential, pastoral town in which the railcars no longer stop.