Sunday, August 23, 2009

Crittenden's Covered Bridge

The old covered bridge that used to span Crooked Creek. It was located a few miles from Marion on the Fords Ferry Road. It has been a landmark for nearly a century. As the years went by it lost it's cover and the covering on the sides, but it never lost its prestige.

In the horse and buggy days it was a shelter from rain; a trysting place; a place to cut names; to carve images, cut dates, and a place to post local notices of speakings, when political candidates made stump speeches, and any events that were to take place in Marion.

A story about the bridge was told by Mrs. Lillie Gilbert in 1954. One night in October 1875, during a torrential rainfall, a son was being born to the wife of James M. Gilbert. A neighbor was sent to Marion, several miles distant, on horseback to get a doctor. During the late hours of night, being guided only by lightning and the intuition of his horse he reached the Covered Bridge. The creek was rolling high and rapidly. He got about half way across the bridge when it pulled lose from its mooring. He held to the saddle and the horse swam back to the same side on which he entered the bridge. The baby son, Ben Gilbert, lived to be quite a financier for his day and an outstanding farmer.
In 1940 there wasn't much left of the old covered bridge, it had a tin roof but most of the side planks were gone. On Nov. 11th, 1940 a severe windstorm struck the county and blew down the familiar landmark and so Crittenden County lost it's only covered bridge.

1 comment:

Walter Laughlin said...

Enjoyed the information. This adds one more twist to the saga of the demise of this bridge. I have also been told that it was damaged by an overloaded truck in 1940 and the roof and siding were removed (not uncommon in Kentucky covered bridges) and it continued in use, unhoused, until 1959. Given that your reference includes a specific date for its destruction it seems to be much more credible. However, this was NOT the last covered bridge in Crittenden County (unless it did survive until 1959). There was a covered bridge at Irma that was replaced in 1953. Unfortunately, though I have run into a number of persons who remember it, and I have the Highway Department survey sheet on it from 1937, I have never found a photograph of it.

Walter Laughlin
Kentucky's Covered Bridges
Arcadia Publishing, 2007