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A Bridge to Maple Ridge

Today, there is nothing as nostalgic as a wooden bridge that represents the character of a country-side community. That is the case here in Maple Ridge Ranches where our covered bridge is more than a utilitarian convenience. It is the entry into a very special place for those who chose to call this home.

Maple Ridge Ranch bridge

Although many people think of New England when they think of covered bridges, the Northwest, and in particular, Oregon, had over 600 at one time and still has the largest concentration west of the Mississippi.

The covered bridge blended well into the economy of the Oregon countryside in the late 1800's. The material was close at hand and inexpensive. Timber was abundant and the prevailing pioneer spirit was the order of the day. It was understood that wood, when protected from the elements, would last much longer than if left in the open. The bridge housing would provide protection for the most expensive parts such as the truss.

Tough individuals with nothing more than hand tools and strong wills began to build these bridges in the 1850's. Bridge builders would typically camp out at the bridge sites. Once built early owners of bridges might finance construction with tolls by charging 10 cents for a team of horses and wagon or 5 cents for a rider and horse.

The state ultimately offered standard designs to each county. Wooden bridges were still being built 100 years later in the 1950's with the shortage of steel in the world war.

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