The parking lot was empty when I turned on to the roadway leading to the parking lot of the Somerset Historical Society on the northern edge of Somerset. Getting out of the vehicle, I could immediately see the covered bridge a short distance away.
The covered bridge is one of a number of historical buildings that have been moved onto the grounds of the Somerset Historical Society. The rural museum covers one hundred and fifty acres and includes a 1880s farm, a sugar camp and a cider press.
Crossing the grounds, I approached the historic covered bridge which spans Haupt Run. Known as the Walter’s Mill Covered Bridge, it is one of ten covered bridges that remain within the borders of Somerset County.
Getting closer to the covered bridge, I noticed an older couple passing through the bridge. We paused to talk for a couple minutes and discovered that they were also touring the covered bridges of Somerset County. In talking, we soon realized they were headed to the covered bridges I had already visited and I was headed to those they had come from, we compared notes before they continued on their journey and I walked over to Walter’s Mill Covered Bridge.
Walter’s Mill Covered Bridge begs to be photographed and in the morning light, it called out to me. The walls of the bridge are painted the familiar red while the inside posts are painted white. The walls rise to roughly halfway up the side of the bridge, protecting the Burr Arch portion of the bridge.
Walter’s Mill Covered Bridge has a single span the crosses over Haupt’s Creek. It has a length of sixty feet with a Burr Truss and kingpost design. Over the years, the covered bridge has been known by a number of names including Walter’s Mill, Robert’s, Cox Creek and Cox’s Creek.
This bridge does not stand at its original location, but stood four miles south of Somerset, where it crossed Coxes Creek just south of Walter’s Mill Road. The bridge was erected in 1859 by Christian Ankeny and Jacob Walter and was built with just a kingpost design. It was not until 1908 that the Burr arches were added – this allowed heavier traffic to pass through the bridge. Note: There are a couple places that list the bridge as being built in 1830, but most sources state the 1859 date as its construction date.
In 1961, Walter’s Mill Covered Bridge was moved to the grounds of the Somerset Historical Society. Interestingly, when many covered bridges are moved, they are torn completely apart, with each board numbered so it can be put together exactly how it originally stood. The moving of Walter’s Mill Covered Bridge was slightly different. Looking at a picture from the October 7, 1961 edition of the Daily American (Somerset), it appears only the roof was removed from the bridge. The rest of the bridge was loaded onto a truck and transported under a police escort.
This was not the only time the bridge was moved. In 1975 it moved a short distance to the place where it currently stands. It underwent restoration in 1986 and remains open to visitors at the Somerset Historical Society.
I finished taking pictures of the covered bridge before I headed out to explore the other covered bridges that beautify the Somerset countryside.