Herns Mill Covered Bridge
Herns Mill Covered Bridge
Interior view of the bridge
Backstory and Context
In 1884, the Greenbrier County Commission requested that Lewisburg District road commissioners examine a bridge that spanned “Millicans” (now Milligans) Creek. This bridge was important because it allowed homesteaders living on the west side of the creek to access the S. S. Herns Mill. Harvey Handly and J. W. Johnston returned a report to the court that recommended the creation of a new bridge. The same day, the court appointed the two men along with John D. Arbuckle as commissioners of the construction of the Herns Mill Covered Bridge. Unnamed contractors were drafted for a total of 800 dollars – approximately 20,000 dollars in today’s money. The bridge was finished later in 1884.
The Herns Mill Covered Bridge measures just shy of fifty-four feet long and eleven feet wide. It features queen post trusses, which use two vertical beams rather than the single beam found in king post trusses. The original structure exhibited red board-and-batten siding, though this has been replaced. A galvanized metal sheeting roof has also been replaced since the initial construction of the bridge. In the mid-1930s, the Herns Mill Covered Bridge was reinforced with steel stringers that run under the bridge. This makes it the oldest bridge in West Virginia to utilize a steel stringer design.
The Herns Mill Covered Bridge has remained operational since its opening in 1884. In 2000, major renovations were completed by Grandview Construction, Inc. for 543,932 dollars. These renovations included the installation of steel I-beams, repair of timber in the trusses, and replacement of the roof and siding. Following these changes, a local farmer realized the bridge no longer accommodated a piece of his farming equipment. The farmer used a chainsaw to remove parts of the bridge and was subsequently charged with destruction of property. The Herns Mill Covered Bridge is significant as both a historic and contemporary piece of infrastructure.
Hanson, Todd A. Covered Bridges, The West Virginia Encyclopedia. May 28th 2019. Accessed August 13th 2020. https://www.wvencyclopedia.org/articles/1660.
Herns Mill Covered Bridge, Greenbrier Valley West Virginia. Accessed August 14th 2020. https://greenbrierwv.com/places/169/herns-mill-covered-bridge.
Herns Mill, West Virginia Department of Transportation. Accessed August 14th 2020. https://transportation.wv.gov/highways/bridge_facts/covered-bridges/Pages/HernsMill.aspx.
KCI Technologies, Inc and Mead & Hunt, Inc. West Virginia Statewide Historic Bridge Survey: Final Survey Report, Highways Through History. April 1st 2015. Accessed August 14th 2020. https://www.highwaysthroughhistory.com/Content/bridges/WVSHBSFinalSurveyReport.pdf.
Kemp, E. L.. Herns Mill Covered Bridge, National Register of Historic Places. June 4th 1981. Accessed August 14th 2020. http://www.wvculture.org/shpo/nr/pdf/greenbrier/81000598.pdf.
West Virginia Department of Transportation