In Fleming County, open roads lead to covered bridges
FLEMING COUNTY, Ky. (FOX 56) – As soon as you hit the Fleming County line, signs tell you what’s important here, welcoming you to “The Covered Bridge Capital of Kentucky.”
“Many people tell us they’ve never seen a covered bridge,” said Ginny Reeves, vice president of the Fleming County Covered Bridge Authority. Thus, the county stands as the best place in the state to see these ties to the past.
Kentucky once had more than 400 covered bridges, one of the first things you learn when you visit the Covered Bridge Museum in Flemingsburg.
“It’s amazing. People don’t ask themselves why they’re covered,” said Brenda Plummer, president of the museum corporation. “We get that question a lot.”
The answer is simple. There was no concrete or steel when the bridges were built in the early to mid-1800s, so the roof had to protect the wooden deck from rotting.
Fleming County’s Woody Reeves says he is fascinated by the craftsmanship of the bridges, calling it “very impressive” that they have lasted so long.
The bridges were also a place where travelers on horseback could enter for shelter from the rain. But some notions are more romantic.
Plummer said, “We call them kissing bridges. It was there that a guy took his daughter before returning home and gave her a little kiss.
Only 11 such historic bridges remain in Kentucky and three of them are in Fleming County.
Ginny Reeves said a national covered bridge preservation society has determined that the Goddard White Bridge south of Flemingsburg is the second most photographed bridge in the country, second only to the one in West Virginia. Goddard’s Bridge has been featured in hundreds of books, magazines, posters. commercials and movies.
This is because the unique bridge with a truss frame perfectly frames a picturesque country church on one side of the creek.
MORE SPIRIT OF BLUEGRASS:
“You can see pictures of this all over the United States,” she said. “We had people from Japan and different countries coming.”
Her husband, Woody, said he often saw photographers lying in the road to get the perfect shot.
Fleming County had more bridges. A big one was the victim of arson in 1981. That’s why the authority is trying so hard to save the last three. The Grange City Bridge was braced with steel girders. Now the committee needs to find a million dollars or more to bring in a restoration expert. Transportation grants are one possible source of funding.
“If something isn’t done soon, I’m afraid we’ll lose it,” Ginny Reeves said.
Tourism could be what saves these structures, with county residents hoping people who come for covered brides will discover other reasons to return.
Plummer said, “We try to make sure they look presentable and that when people come to visit, they leave feeling good.”
Suggest a fix