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Chambers Railroad Covered Bridge

Posted by
Steve Rice (Olympia, United States) on 8 April 2009 in Architecture and Portfolio.

In preparing for this series, this is the bridge that caught my fancy, a railroad bridge. Built in 1925 for a logging spur that brought logs to the Frank Chambers Mill in Cottage Grove, OR, USA, the bridge crosses the Coast Fork of the Willamette River. It's 78 feet (23.8 meters) long and is of the Howe truss type. Quite simply, it's massive to support the weight of a loaded log train, like this perhaps. There are eight, four per side, hand hewn beams running the length of the bridge. They were hand hewn because the wood fibers would have been crushed by saw mill cutting of the lumber making the absorption of moisture easier. Pairs of beams running perpendicular to the main supports carry all the additional supports necessary for the rails.

Unfortunately, the Chambers Mill burned in 1943 and the bridge was abandoned. It has been slowly decaying since then and is in sad shape. The beams carry the scars of unsuccessful attempts by arsonists to burn it down. The entire structure leans to the right when viewed from the front. I'm glad I saw it before it's gone.

Part of the Covered Bridges of Oregon series.

My Spotlighted Images

I'll be busy the next few weeks. Commenting will be spotty at best.

beanow from Warsaw, Poland

Very nice B&W. Well done.

8 Apr 2009 5:22am

Esther K from Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia

And we are glad you captured this to share with us. These bridges carry a wealth of history with them, and it is sad to see it left to decay. Beautiful capture, love the rustic feel.

8 Apr 2009 5:27am

Didier DE ZAN from somewhere, France

Beautiful BW

8 Apr 2009 6:03am

Zing from Hamilton, New Zealand

Love the tones, great shot!

8 Apr 2009 6:35am

Pavan Kaul from Mumbai, India

Beautifully composed and processed, Steve! The grainy effect really adds to the antiquated quality.

8 Apr 2009 6:37am

Peggy M. from somewhere in, France

Magnificent treatment of the image and this wood which has ages gives me bcp of emotion. Very beautiful photo !

8 Apr 2009 7:51am

zanfifotos from Pignans, France

nice view from below on that wood bridge, great b&w

8 Apr 2009 9:51am

Jean-François from Les Issambres, France

magnifique N ET B c'est sublime !

8 Apr 2009 10:08am

DenisSm from Prague, Czech Republic

nice one bw...i like it and i see that even covered time was stronger

8 Apr 2009 10:15am

P J W Miller from Chase Terrace, United Kingdom

Shot from a different angle and no less interesting, great capture

8 Apr 2009 11:15am

Charles from New York, United States

Beautiful angle and nice choice for black and white.

8 Apr 2009 11:16am

observing from North West, United Kingdom

A nice piece of history Steve, and you have recorded the old bridge before its gone. Wonderful historic shot.

8 Apr 2009 11:29am

-1q5yChØt!c- from Persia, Iran

very well taken,bravo

8 Apr 2009 11:35am

Eleftheria from Athens, Greece

Interesting place!

8 Apr 2009 12:22pm

Ilan from Israel

What a scary looking place. Looks like a frame out of a war movie or something, moment before the back blast.
Great sepia/black and white processing, give it a classic look.

8 Apr 2009 12:56pm

bluechameleon from Vancouver, Canada

Nice capture and tones. It looks like a wonderful place to explore with so much history. The detail and story is appreciated, thank you :)

8 Apr 2009 1:05pm

Ana Lúcia from Leiria, Portugal

Awesome b/w, love the light in this.

8 Apr 2009 1:40pm

Daniel from Kenmare, United States

why that reminds me of a covered bridge by Portland

8 Apr 2009 1:46pm

Alivia from Saint-Etienne, France

these timber bridges have a story, I know, their usefulness for us there is the aesthetic value, they are so well integrated into a natural landscape. They bring poetry and romance ..
Here, I see that it was used for a railway line and that it is no big thing .. the time was right for him .. But I am glad that you have been able to make this picture story.

8 Apr 2009 2:05pm

john4jack from Corvallis, Oregon, United States

Great shot. That is one dynamite spot.

8 Apr 2009 2:44pm

Don from spokane, United States

A fine capture of this beautiful but sad covered bridge. Hopefully someone will recognize the value of restoring this one day before it's gone.

8 Apr 2009 2:54pm

Hema Iyer from Bangalore, India

Beautiful capture, Steve. The old bridge doesnt look like it will last for long.
I am loving this series.

8 Apr 2009 3:04pm

Evelyne Dubos from Le Mans, France

Oh, love this one... very old and partially destroyed but lot of charm & interest.

8 Apr 2009 3:05pm

Ajay from Pune, India

Tone is so befitting to the whole scenario. And the scenario is just classic.

8 Apr 2009 3:23pm

Saeed from Tehran, Iran

nice place , nice shot :)

8 Apr 2009 3:26pm

JamesC from portland, United States

Nice composition, like they way you frame this shot.

8 Apr 2009 3:54pm

yiannis krikis from thessaloniki, Greece

I think that is the best of all the images you post from hat bridge - I like very much the pov, the reflections and the tonality

8 Apr 2009 3:55pm

Elena Kotrotsou from Drossia, Greece

Gorgeous b/w composition.

8 Apr 2009 4:05pm

Pradeep from Chennai, India

Interesting shot...very vintage processing. I like it :)

8 Apr 2009 4:14pm

Richard_Irwin from Belper, United Kingdom

What a cool looking old bridge, good idea to capture them all now as a historic record.

8 Apr 2009 5:00pm

Veronelle from Lens, France

nice rustik bridge

8 Apr 2009 5:06pm

Veronique from Sarrouilles, France

They should be "classés monuments historiques à l'Unesco"

8 Apr 2009 5:13pm

Monique from Koh Samui, Thailand

So old and still hanging in there ... beautiful old bridge and the post processing matches the age!

8 Apr 2009 5:27pm

Francisco Díaz from Palma de Mallorca, Spain

Thanks very much for posting this beautiful bridge so genuine. The b/w works wonderfully here. Congratulations.

8 Apr 2009 5:35pm

EYES WIDE SHUT from The library of my soul, United Kingdom

Such a shame that it ends this way. Makes for a gorgeous composition, but as you say, it will probably soon be removed. There should be a preservation order on such historic structures and grants to rennovate. We are losing our history and heritage the world over.

A super image, Steve

8 Apr 2009 5:45pm

k@ from Paris, France

Gorgeous in B&W, Steve ! And the vantage point you chose is perfect. Very moving story you tell about that bridge. Love these relics of the past and you image lets us picture the ones who used to travel by this bridge...... I can see them !

8 Apr 2009 5:53pm

Suzanne from Huntington Bch, California, United States

Terrific shot and thank you for sharing the history.

8 Apr 2009 6:39pm

Diane Schuller from Hythe, Canada

I'm glad you saw it and captured it too. The tangle of shrubs really adds to the sense of abandonment and being reclaimed by the forest.

8 Apr 2009 7:02pm

Stef67 from in my head, France

j adore ce genre de cliché à l ancienne, superbe ^^

8 Apr 2009 7:24pm

PATRICK from miramas, France

great b&w

8 Apr 2009 7:26pm

Ronnie 2¢ from London, United Kingdom

Firstly, a very fine photograph beautifully presented. The toned b&w feels very respectful of the history. And, what a history . . love these only covered bridges and the story that so often goes with them. 5* stuff.

8 Apr 2009 9:20pm

from France

I thought at once of the magnificent film " On the road of Madison " with this bridge, this meeting... Very beautiful cliché,sepia drawing gives him a proud speed Bravo!

8 Apr 2009 9:57pm

ZoomLNZ from Los Angeles Area, United States

I like your series of bridge images, and flowers too. The duotone of this photo really captures the feel of the period. Well done.

8 Apr 2009 9:58pm

JJ from Jersey City, United States

I am glad you got it and shared with us while it was still there, superb capture, this must have been quite amazing to see in its prime

But what I can never fathom is what kicks arsonists get out of trying to burn a part of history like this

9 Apr 2009 1:27am

Ben from Lyon, France

I really like this one better than the next...
It reminds me "Down by Law" ...

9 Apr 2009 6:32am

dogilicious from Millerstown, PA, United States

Nice processing. Thanks for the history.

9 Apr 2009 11:20am

xavier cardell from menorca-barcelona, Spain

Nice. I bet you had doubts wether to present it in color or BW

11 Apr 2009 8:59am

Ryan from creswell,OR, United States

I am working on the restoration of this bridge

10 Mar 2011 4:23am

@Ryan: That is great news! I wish you well and hope to see it when restored or during restoration. Maybe, i could get a few shots of work in progress.