Covered Bridge — a link to Elizabethton’s past

Published 8:38 am Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Not too many towns have a river that runs through it, and even fewer have a covered bridge. That is one of many things that makes Elizabethton unique. The Covered Bridge has long been one of Elizabethton’s most historic landmarks and it is this landmark that this weekend’s festival will celebrate.

The 53rd Annual Covered Bridge Festival will be a two-day event this year and will be held Friday and Saturday. The festival will feature music, crafts, food, and lots of other fun events. The festival not only celebrates the Covered Bridge, built in 1882, but is one of many events that showcases the City of Elizabethton and Carter County.

In the past the festival has drawn as many as eight and nine thousand festival-goers. Some come for the music, others for the arts and crafts, and some just come because they wouldn’t miss the fun for anything.

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The music is always good, so is the food, and the arts and crafts are a once-a-year event, but the main attraction is the historic Covered Bridge, which spans 234 feet across the Doe River. No other local landmark is more photographed than the age-old bridge, which has weathered both time and Mother Nature. For children, it is a thrill to walk through the bridge, which for adults, it is an awesome piece of history.

Lately, the bridge has caused some concern, because of the slight lean it has developed. City officials say the lean may have been caused by a summer storm in 2018. However, the lean has been assessed by engineers and is being monitored by appropriate city personnel. The estimated cost to repair the bridge has been put at $1 million.

At the time the bridge was built, it cost $3,300, a large sum back then. The old bridge was a link to the future when it was built. In 2019 it is our link to the past. It stands as a reminder of the men and women who came before us; as a symbol of their strength and courage; and as a testimony of their vision to build a town.

This weekend, we celebrate more than just the 137-year-old Covered Bridge. We celebrate our city’s heritage and the men and women who came before us and built a town along the banks of the Doe River.