A 2 lane Covered Bridge (Burnt 1861) was built across Coal River in 1831 along the James River and Kanawha Turnpike by The Teays and Thompson families and burnt by retreating Confederates in 1861 after the Battle of Scary Creek.


  • DOH Highway marker
    DOH Highway marker
  • Sketch of bridge
    Sketch of bridge
  • Coal River Bridges in St. Albans
    Coal River Bridges in St. Albans
  • Coal River Bridges in St. Albans
    Coal River Bridges in St. Albans
  • Close-up of Covered Bridge (sketch) and its 2 lanes
    Close-up of Covered Bridge (sketch) and its 2 lanes

A 2-lane Covered Bridge (burnt 1861) was built across Coal River in 1831 along the James River and Kanawha Turnpike by Stephen Teays and Philip Thompson and burnt by retreating Confederates in 1861 after the Battle of Scary Creek. It was a 2-lane toll bridge that was 180' long. Perhaps the longest bridge in Virginia at the time. Travelers would pay Teays a toll when traveling east...and pay Thompson a toll when traveling west, towards Ohio and beyond. There was even a toll for pigs. Many pigs drives went though Coalsmouth (St. Albans) at that time on their way to Cincinnati, Ohio.

When the Union forces chased the Confederates out of Coalsmouth after the nearby Battle of Scary Creek, they also sank several coal barges there. Since it was in July and the river was low, the Union troops just forded the river and kept up their pursuit all the way to Charleston and out of the Kanawha Valley. The description of the bridge was made into a sketch. It shows an arch, which most likely added strength. It also shows a small window in the middle of the bridge, both for light and for a view of the river. 2.

A steel bow arch bridge was built on this site in 1870 to replace the burnt covered bridge. Then, a 3rd bridge was built in 1908. It was a steel Pratt Truss bridge. In 1965, the 4th, and the present, steel stringer bridge was constructed across Coal River, also at the same site and the other three bridges. The original stone foundation stones can still be seen under the present bridge and at water's edge.

DOH marker reads:
"Located at the site of the crossing of the James River and Kanawha Turnpike and Coal River, Covered Toll bridge built by Philip Thompson and James Teays. It replaced a ferry which operated at the same location. Bridge was one of the longest in western Virginia and had a 180 ft. span. General Wise's retreating Confederate forces burned the bridge July 21, 1861, after Battle of Scary Creek." 1

1.St. Albans Historical Society files
Ellis, Dart. "St. Albans, WV, Its Orgin and Development". Vol. 1. St. Albans, WV. Dawson Printing Co., 1977. pg. 27
3.Wintz, William. "Recollections & Reflections of Mollie Hansford". Vol. 1. Charleston, WV. Quick Copy, 1980. pg. 21