Travels with the Original Easyrider®
2015 Edition

2015 Lincoln County Oregon
Covered Bridge Ride
Part Three

Visit the Chitwood Covered Bridge
Plus a few area Ghost Towns
A 393 mile, mostly loop tour

July 25, 2015

Coming from Portland you may want to consider hitting
these bridges in the order listed

Part One of the 2015 tour can be found HERE.
Part Two of the 2015 tour can be found HERE.
Part Three of the 2015 tour can be found HERE.

Part One of the 2013 tour can be found HERE.
Part Two of the 2013 tour can be found HERE.
Part Three of the 2013 tour can be found HERE.

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A word of advice: Links are provided that contain a lot of information about each
of these covered bridges. But take the directions with a grain of salt. The guy who
wrote them doesn't seem to know the difference between North and East... many of the
directions are vague or misleading... and in some cases downright wrong. So do your
homework as we did and be prepared to do some scouting to find some of these bridges.

All the pictures posted on this segment have GPS information included in each photo's
metadata. If your browser has the appropriate plugin, you can right click each photo
and bring up the location on your favorite Internet mapping tool (e.g. Google Maps).
You'll find that it's a LOT easier to find these bridges with good directions, a really
good map and accurate GPS coordinates.

You can also click on many of these pictures to enlarge them.

A County map (free from AAA if you are a member) can also be a real help. If you
visit the bridges in the order that they are displayed here, you will travel about 200
miles from bridge one to bridge five.

Oregon covered bridge overview

The above "covered bridge tour route" signs were not here when we
did this tour in 2013. Be advised that they are inconsistently placed
so you probably shouldn't depend on seeing a sign at all of the turns.
They are certainly helpful and a welcome improvement from they way it
used to be, but still.... if you're planning on a covered bridge tour,
be prepared and do your research.

These latest five bridges were mostly easy to find and the turns were
mostly well signed. Naturally, you'll want to do your research before
you head out but we had zero problems finding any of the covered bridges
reviewed in this segment.

Covered Bridges

Drift Creek Covered Bridge

Chitwood Covered Bridge

Yachats Covered Bridge

Fisher School Covered Bridge

Hayden Covered Bridge

Ghost Towns

Kernville, Oregon

Elk City, Oregon

Coast Pictures

Depot Bay, Oregon

Seal Rock, Oregon

If it were not for a few residents, Chitwood would truly be a ghost town. The area was heavily wooded and not far from the Pacific Ocean when its first
settler moved in during the 1860s. Not until 1887 was a school built which tells something about the slow growth of the settlement. Life was hard at first
for the land had to be cleared before crops could be planted. The only "mining" done in Chitwood was that from a fine vein of sandstone suitable for the
construction of buildings. The influx of workers for the quarry helped the local economy but only for a short while. What changed Chitwood the most was
the coming of the Corvallis and Eastern railroad, later the Southern Pacific. The town prospered as a stopping point but it was not to last. The road to
the coast was rerouted and paved which shortened the distance to coastal communities. When automobiles and trucks became available, tourists and freight
began to use the shorter route to the coast. Southern Pacific discontinued service thus sealing the fate of Chitwood. The few residents who remain do so
because they love the scenic beauty and solitude of Chitwood.

The Chitwood Covered Bridge is still standing. It was constructed in 1926 by Otis Hamar and is 96 feet in length, spanning the Yaquina River.
(Few covered bridges survive in Oregon, however, the nearby North Fork Yachats Bridge stands also, further west. It was constructed by the same man,
and was his last work.) Pepin's Grocery store, located adjacent to the Chitwood Bridge, operated until the 1950s. Sometime after, a fire broke out at
the store. Embers ignited the bridge, only a bucket brigade of locals saved it. The bridge became dilapidated until it was restored in 1984. In 1979,
it was placed on the National Registry of Historic Places. Unfortunately, many important buildings of Chitwood are gone: The train depot was demolished,
the grocery burned, and the general store fell apart; recent photos of the area don't even reveal a debris pile. The continuation of the bridge ensures
visitation to the site, and remembrance, as roadsigns off major highways point the way to the famous bridge.

Chitwood is an unincorporated community in Lincoln County, Oregon, United States. Chitwood lies on U.S. Route 20 between Toledo to the west and Eddyville
to the east. The Yaquina River flows through Chitwood.

Historically, Chitwood was a station on the railway line between Corvallis and Toledo. It was named for Joshua Chitwood, who lived nearby during construction
of the railway, 1881-85. The line was originally known as the Yaquina Route of the Oregon Pacific Railroad, linking the former port city of Yaquina to
Corvallis and Albany. After the Oregon Pacific failed financially, fell into receivership, and went through 17 years of financial and legal complications,
in 1907 it became a branch line of the Southern Pacific.

The post office in Chitwood opened in 1887 and closed in 1945.

Lincoln County built the covered bridge at Chitwood in 1926. Scheduled for demolition, it was instead improved in 1984 through a federally-funded restoration
project. The Howe truss bridge is 96 feet (29 m) long.

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