Richland Album: Covered Bridges on the Forks of the Mohican
The Law of Time
This is the law of time: for every hour we go on there is an hour that slips behind, so that for every bit of gain there is equal loss. In order to enter the future we must relinquish the past.
As each generation creates its own new version of America, the old way, the old style, passes into history, and as each wave of people takes the stage to witness a particular and unique new story, so it watches the putting away of sets and scenery and props from the play just concluded.
This series of photo essays takes a look at landmarks from the past that were once common and familiar components of the landscape to Richlanders long since passed on. A hundred and fifty years ago folks couldn’t really imagine a county without water-powered mills, without covered bridges, without livery stables. Today the only way you have to picture these sights is with our virtual Richland Album.
This collection of pages from the virtual album features Richland County’s covered bridges on the Forks of the Mohican.
In the horse-drawn era a covered bridge was a welcome refuge when the storm hit. Certainly cattle knew that and, given the opportunity they clustered underneath the bridge or even inside… because it looked like a barn. The threat of hidden animals lurking in the bridge had a very effective impact on moderating the speed limit.
In wintertime the roof kept snow and ice from building up on the road surface, and the plank walls served an important purpose as well: skittish horses who otherwise balked at the sight of walking above a chasm with churning waters below found that those wooden walls were as familiar and comforting as a cozy barn.
In the 1800s covered bridges were a common setting of country life until the 20th century when automobiles started taking over the roads. Co-incidentally, and with a sort of poetic twist of weather, most of the bridges were erased off the landscape in the great flood of 1913, and had to be replaced with iron trestle bridges that were wider to accommodate the new automotive traffic.