Osterburg Covered Bridge

Osterburg Covered Bridge

Note: This is a part of the Bedford County Covered Bridge tour I went on. Each bridge in the tour has directions from the previous bridge. In all, eight covered bridges will be featured in this tour. The tour order is: Osterburg, Snooks, Knisley and Ryot, Cuppett and Gravity Hill, Colvin, and Herline and Turner Covered Bridges.

According to the weather forecast, it was supposed to be a beautiful day with a chance of rain, but the dark gray clouds lingering on the Allegheny Front caused me to have doubts as I drove southward on Interstate 99. The clouds told me the claims of a sunny, but cool day, were wrong and that I was going to be wet before the end of the day.

I got off the interstate and passed through the town of Osterburg, headed westward on Route 869. Roughly a mile west of town I spotted the bridge on the left side of the road, just past the intersection with Covered Bridge Road. I pulled onto the gravel lot in front of it. I managed to snap a couple pictures as I heard the approaching rain before I saw it. Taking shelter in the open-sided bridge, I was amazed at the excellent condition the bridge was in.

The bridge, built in 1890, spans Bob’s Creek. It has the familiar Burr Arch Truss that is the most common truss type in Pennsylvania’s covered bridges. The bridge is ninety feet long with a single-span – the bottom third of the bridge is covered by vertical boards. It was used until 1973 when it was bypassed with the new road just a couple yards east of it. Open to pedestrian use, the bridge was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. Like many of the covered bridges in Bedford County, it is painted white.

The covered bridge is also known as the Bowser Covered Bridge. I found that in many databases the bridge goes by the Bowser name, but most sources refer to it as the Osterburg Covered Bridge. Even the makeshift sign nailed to one of the posts refers to it as the Osterburg Covered Bridge.

The rain shower stopped and I made a dash for the vehicle, heading towards another of Bedford County’s covered bridges.

Note:  Two other covered bridges once stood nearby. The Osterburg Station Covered Bridge was erected just west of present-day Osterburg. While little is known about the covered bridge, is was recorded as being torn down due to damage from the 1936 flood. Exactly which stream it crossed is confusing. Most databases state it crossed Trout or Mud Stream, which I believe is present-day Scrubgrass Creek.

A little farther away was the Acker, or St. Clairsville, Covered Bridge, which also crossed Bob’s Creek. Built it 1874, the covered bridge had a double Burr-Arch Truss. It was destroyed in 1954 when the modern bridge was erected a short distance away.


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