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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Doe River Covered Bridge Festival this week - Elizabethton, TN

Doe River Covered Bridge

Built in 1882, this is the oldest covered bridge in Tennessee.

Constructed at a cost of $3,000 by contractor Dr. E.E. Hunter, George Lindamood and three carpenters, it spans the Doe River for 134 feet, resting on earth and limestone abutments. Hunter hired Colonel Thomas Matson, who had engineered the narrow guage Tweetsie Railroad, to design the bridge and serve as construction chief. Hunter made a profit of $5 on the bridge, so one of its names is the "Five Dollar Bridge"

The original structure was made almost entirely of wood; mainly mountain oak and white pine beams that were hauled down the steep slopes of the mountains by draft horses and mules, weatherboard of mountain poplar, and shingles cleaved by mallet and fro from chestnut. Hand forged steel spikes and hand threaded bolts fastened together the massive pieces of oak flooring. Termed an engineering feat, and listed in the Historic Engineering Record, the Covered Bridge survived numerous floods, including the great May flood of 1901, which destroyed all the other bridges in the county that crossed the Doe River. It is one of two bridges in Tennessee identified by a Tennessee Historical marker and is included on the National Registry of Historic Sites. The Covered Bridge remains the most photographed and most admired historical structure in Carter County.

The bridge contains one span and is of Howe Truss design. Inside the bridge is one lane of vehicle traffic, plus a pedestrian walkway, although the bridge is now closed to motor vehicles. Each end of the bridge features a projecting truncated gabled roofline.

Two other nicknames of this bridge are "Queen of the South" and "The Kissing Bridge." Every year in June, Elizabethton has a festival called the Covered Bridge Celebration. Learn more about the festival that starts this weekend at the link here:

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