Covered Bridges Festival in Flemingsburg
You may be wondering -- as I was -- what's the advantage of a covered bridge over other types of bridges? Sure, they look cool, but is there a functional reason beyond the aesthetics?
After a little research I found the answer. The purpose for covered bridges, which are especially associated with the nineteenth century, is twofold: (1) Covered bridges appear similar to barns and it is easier to transport cattle across the bridge without startling them, and (2) They provide for weather protection over the working part of the bridge. A bridge built entirely out of wood, without any protective coating, may last 10 to 15 years. Builders discovered that if the bridge's underpinnings were protected with a roof, the bridge could stand for 70, or even 80 years. Most covered bridges that are still in use today have been renovated using concrete footings and steel trusses to hold additional weight and to replace the original support timbers.
Another bit of trivia: In the early 20th century, covered bridges were sometimes nicknamed "kissing bridges", as the cover allowed seclusion for couples to kiss each other.