Fish Creek Covered Bridge
The Fish Creek Covered Bridge – also known as Hundred Covered Bridge – is the last remaining covered bridge in Wetzel County and one of two remaining single kingpost truss bridges in West Virginia. The bridge was constructed circa 1881 and measures approximately eleven feet wide by thirty-six feet long. The bridge was reinforced with steel stringers prior to 1981, before being completely rebuilt in 2001. This reconstruction salvaged only four timber beams and the stone abutments upon which the bridge was originally built. The Fish Creek Covered Bridge is owned by the West Virginia Department of Transportation and remains in operation.
Backstory and Context
Little information about the construction of Fish Creek Covered Bridge has survived to us today. On July 27, 1881 a committee was appointed by the Wetzel County Court to oversee a contract for a bridge to be built across Fish Creek. The bridge is believed to have been built in 1881, or shortly thereafter. Wetzel County was originally home to several covered bridges, but to date, only the Fish Creek Covered Bridge remains. The bridge was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1981.
The dimensions of the Fish Creek Covered Bridge are twelve foot ten inches wide and thirty-six feet in length. The bridge is constructed of wooden siding painted barn red. There is a galvanized metal roof that covers the entire structure. The kingpost style of truss features a vertical beam which meets the apex of the roof and supports the cross-beams from above. Along with Dents Run Covered Bridge, Fish Creek Covered Bridge is one of two covered bridges remaining in West Virginia that display the single kingpost truss design.
The Fish Creek Covered Bridge has been heavily modified and rebuilt since the late nineteenth century. Modern reinforcements were added prior to 1981. These modifications involved replacing the original wood stringers with metal ones in order to better support the deck. In 2001, the bridge was completely rebuilt by Lone Pine Construction for $218,409. The only materials conserved during this reconstruction were four timber braces. These braces, along with the stone abutments, are the only original components of the bridge that still exist. The Fish Creek Covered Bridge exists as a strange superposition of historical and modern. It possesses a historically faithful design and location, though the structure itself is essentially a twenty-first century bridge.
Fish Creek Covered Bridge, West Virginia Department of Transportation. Accessed August 17th 2020. https://transportation.wv.gov/highways/bridge_facts/covered-bridges/Pages/FishCreekCoveredBridge.aspx.
Hanson, Todd A. Covered Bridges, The West Virginia Encyclopedia. May 28th 2019. Accessed August 17th 2020. https://www.wvencyclopedia.org/articles/1660.
KCI Technologies, Inc and Mead & Hunt, Inc. West Virginia Statewide Historic Bridge Survey: Final Survey Report, Highways Through History. April 1st 2015. Accessed August 17th 2020. https://www.highwaysthroughhistory.com/Content/bridges/WVSHBSFinalSurveyReport.pdf.
Kemp, E L. Fish Creek Covered Bridge, National Register of Historic Places. June 4th 1981. Accessed August 17th 2020. https://npgallery.nps.gov/NRHP/GetAsset/cdf2822a-9122-4b65-b52d-08b63f8bc0b7.
Schmidt, Jack, J. P., and Brian McKee. Hundred/Fish Creek Covered Bridge, Bridge Hunter. November 14th 2019. Accessed August 17th 2020. https://bridgehunter.com/wv/wetzel/wv-fork-fish-creek/.
E. L. Kemp