860 Covered Bridge Road
Rogue River, OR 97537
The following information is provided by the Covered Bridge Society of Oregon / Photo by Bill Cockrell
Note: Map navigation point is an approximation of the bridge's actual location.
Wimer Bridge: It was the only Jackson County covered bridge open to vehicle traffic, but collapsed due to traffic in July 2003. It was rebuilt and opened to the public in February 2008.
On a hot summer afternoon, in the quiet community of Wimer, Oregon, local residents were startled to hear a giant crashing sound coming from the vicinity of their covered bridge. Customers at the Wimer Market, only a dozen paces away, rushed out to witness the unthinkable. The historic Wimer Covered Bridge in Southern Oregon had spontaneously collapsed into Evans Creek. Those who were the closest also heard shouts for help coming from inside the rubble and scampered down the bank, over the shattered shingled roof and lifted broken wooden beams to rescue a man and his two young grandsons. They were the last persons to stroll through the old covered bridge on that fateful Sunday.
The July 6, 2003 incident shocked and saddened a community. The weekly Rogue River Press expressed what many residents felt with the simple headline in its next issue: “It’s Gone!”
Ironically, the covered bridge was scheduled for a major overhaul. Engineers had completed blueprints just two months earlier and the construction project was to go out for bid in September that year. Jackson County had acquired grants for over a half million dollars for the renovation that was due to begin in 2004. But the tired old structure couldn’t wait and gave way in midstream. Obviously, there has been a change in plans.
The original bridge
The original Wimer Covered Bridge was built in 1892 by J. W. Osbourne but, in 1927, was totally replaced by Jason Hartman, then Jackson County bridge superintendent. Over the years the Evans Creek crossing received numerous repairs, but time and use took its toll on the aging span. In 1962 attentive residents saved the bridge from destruction when a citizens effort rebuilt the weakening structure. Load limits were set at 3 tons with no heavy truck traffic allowed.
The New Covered Bridge
In 2008, with the help of federal funds and local labor, the bridge was replaced with a look-alike using trusses reinforced with metal braces, laminated beams that look like timber, concrete approaches, and industrial roofing made to resemble wooden shakes. The one-way bridge, still 17 feet wide, as was the original, has a load limit of 10 tons. This version of the bridge opened to traffic in February 2008.
HOW TO GET THERE: 7 miles northeast of Rogue River on East Evans Creek Road (turn right on Covered Bridge Road in community of Wimer).