Center Point Covered Bridge
Being one of only seventeen covered bridges still in West Virginia, the Center Point Covered Bridge has seen high volumes of traffic in such a rural area. Built in 1889, by local men, the bridge was built to span over the Middle Fork of McElroy Creek in Center Point. This style of bridge, using timber trusses, gave way to the idea of making metal trusses which later became a staple for bridges to come.
Backstory and Context
Before the formation of Route 23 which connects Center Point to other main roads such as Route 18 and Route 50, the bridge saw many people come and go. In 1888, the Doddridge County Courthouse in West Union selected G.W. Ice the commissioner of this bridge. Based on the expenditures listed in county records, the bridge cost more than a thousand dollars to produce, but since it has only needed one restoration since being established, it may have been well worth the price and labor.
Since being built over a hundred years ago, the bridge has had only one major restoration. In 1981, the bridge started majorly deteriorating, making it unsafe for usage. Due to a chord being broken, the bridge would start moving back and forth when travelers would pass on it. In addition, many of the floor boards were weak due to the metal roof leaking from the wearing down throughout the years.
Under the watchful eye of the Doddridge County Historical Society and by a historic bridge authority from West Virginia University, Dr. Emory L. Kemp, the restoration was completed in the summer of 1982. Along the restorations, the roof was fixed so no more water damage would ensue as well as missing boards were replaced. In addition, it was also repainted a bright red color that makes the bridge stand out amongst the green land around it.
Now, the road that once was popular at the time the bridge was built is now used. The bridge still stands and is mostly used for farming equipment such as small tractors and hay wagons as well as pedestrians. When looking at the bridge in the spring, it has a picturesque appeal of it with wildflowers growing around it as well as in the winter when it is snow covered and looks like it belongs on a Christmas card.
Being the only covered bridge left in Doddridge County, this covered bridge has truly seen a community grow around it. Since being built, the still rural but thriving community of Center Point prospers. At the end of the bridge now sits the McClellan Fire Department and numerous residences. While it not only adds beauty to the community, it also gives people a sense of the simpler times in rural areas.
McKee, Brian. Center Point Covered Bridge. Bridgehunter.com. July 07, 2011. Accessed October 30, 2017. https://bridgehunter.com/wv/doddridge/center-point-covered/.