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Home North Carolina Catawba County City of Claremont Historical Markers Bunker Hill Covered Bridge

Bunker Hill Covered Bridge

US 70 at Lyle Creek, Claremont, NC, USA

Latitude & Longitude: 35° 43' 6.9744", -81° 7' 2.46"
  North Carolina State Historical Marker
    North Carolina State
Historical Marker
    Marker Text:
"One of the last surviving covered bridges in North Carolina, built in 1894, stands 500 yards north on Lyles Creek."
      Built in 1895, the Bunker Hill Covered Bridge is the single remaining wooden example of the improvised lattice truce patented by engineer Herman Haupt. The bridge is one of only two historic covered bridges that remain standing in North Carolina, the other being Pisgah in Randolph County.

      Catawba County commissioners had called the previous year for the construction of a bridge on the Bunker Hill Farms property that would cross Lyle Creek at the Indian Ford Road. Property owners soon contracted with Andrew L. Ramsour, the architect and keeper of the Horseford Covered Bridge that stood across the Catawba River near Hickory.

      The exact reasons that Ramsour chose Haupt’s design are unclear. A West Point graduate, Haupt served as a construction engineer for the Pennsylvania Railroad. In 1839, he patented his novel bridge construction that became known as the Haupt truss. Examples still remain at Altoona and Ardmore, Pennsylvania. Haupt remained an engineer for various projects until he was appointed a brigadier general in the Union Army during the Civil War. After the war he returned to the railroads until his death in 1888. His work was widely published, and it is possible Ramsour that found the design in an engineering textbook.

      The bridge, 94 feet long and 12 feet wide, originally had an open span, but was covered in 1900, and in 1921 a tin roof replaced the wood shingles. The Bunker Hill Covered Bridge served the community for several decades until the construction of nearby US 70 rendered it obsolete.

      In 1985, the Bolick family, which owned the bridge and the property, donated the structure to the Catawba County Historical Association. Seven years later, a series of storms that produced powerful tornadoes severely damaged the bridge. The Association received several grants and donations, and in 1994 hired bridge restorers Grafton Associates of Ashland, New Hampshire, to return the bridge as close to its original condition as possible.

      The following year, the Bunker Hill Covered Bridge reopened to the public. In 2001, the bridge was designated a National Civil Engineering Landmark. The fourth North Carolina site on that list, Bunker Hill joined the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, Dorton Arena, and the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Gary R. Freeze, The Catawbans: Pioneers in Progress (2002)
Catawba County Historical Association website: http://www.catawbahistory.org/bunker_hill_covered_bridge.php
Hickory Record, January 15, 1994; August 1, 1995; August 4, 1995
Winston-Salem Journal, November 6, 1957; July 24, 1959; July 6, 1993; December 16, 1993
Eden News, July 7, 1993
Newton Enterprise, October 12, 1894; September 6, 1895
Related Themes: C.S.A., Confederate States of America, Confederacy
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North Carolina Civil War Historical Markers.

Bunker Hill Covered Bridge Historical Marker Location Map, Claremont, North Carolina