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McKee Covered Bridge 37-15-06

Photos 

McKee Bridge

From Southwest

Photo taken by Michael Goff on November 26, 2008

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BH Photo #128752

Map 

Street View 

Description 

The rustic, well-known covered bridge spanning the Applegate River, just eight miles from the California border, was built in 1917 by contractor Jason Hartman and his son Wesley on land donated by Aldelbert "Deb" McKee. The bridge was used from 1917 to 1956, originally serving the mining and logging traffic.

In 1956, the bridge was declared unsafe for vehicular traffic. The combined efforts, in 1965, of the Talisman Lodge, Knights of Pythias, Upper Applegate Grange, and the Jackson County Court restored the roof, thereby keeping the aging structure open for pedestrian use. Little upkeep followed, and by the early 1980s County officials were worried about the strength of the bridge. During the summer of 1985, more than $40,000 in labor and materials were dedicated to repair the bridge and keep it open for pedestrians. Jackson County officials then announced that future County investment in the bridge would be impractical, and has looked to private efforts for ongoing preservation of the McKee span.

The McKee Committee was formed in January 1989 with the goal of raising $25,000 for preservation and maintenance of the span. By mid summer, a major portion of the funds, or volunteer labor, had been generated. Included in the final fund-raising was the sale of memorabilia and the production of an historic quilt featuring a bridge motif.

Features of the Mckee Bridge include a Howe truss design, flying buttresses, open daylighting windows at the roofline, and a shingle roof. Lindsay Applegate, for whom the stream is named, prospected the area on the way to the mines in California. The discovery of prosperous mines caused a north-south route to be developed in the area, and the covered bridge was used as a rest stop, until 1919, because it was halfway between Jacksonville and the Blue Ledge Cooper Mine to the south.

The McKee Picnic Ground, a Rogue National Forest facility, is at the west end of the bridge along the Applegate River.

(Reference: Roofs Over Rivers, by Bill and Nick Cockrell)

Facts 

Overview
Howe through truss bridge over Applegate River on Old Applegate Wagon Road
Location
Jackson County, Oregon
Status
Open to pedestrians
History
Built 1917, Closed to Vehicular Traffic 1956
Builders
- Jason Hartman (Contractor)
- Wesley Hartman (Builder)
Design
The McKee Bridge was built on land donated by Aldelbert "Deb" McKee at the approximate halfway point between Jacksonville, Oregon and the Blue Ledge Copper Mine. The community near the bridge served as a rest stop for the journey up the Applegate River into the Siskiyou Mountains. Local volunteers have maintained the bridge since being closed by the county in 1956.
The 122-foot covered Howe truss features truncated rectangular portal arches, ribbon openings at the eaves, and five irregularly spaced windows on the south side.
(Historical Highway Bridge of Oregon - 1989)
Dimensions
Length of largest span: 122.0 ft.
Recognition
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on December 29, 2000
Also called
Applegate River Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+42.12583, -123.07256   (decimal degrees)
42°07'33" N, 123°04'21" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
10/494002/4663750 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Ruch
Inventory numbers
NRHP 00000516 (National Register of Historic Places reference number)
BH 38240 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • May 24, 2018: New photos from Mike Garland
  • April 10, 2018: New photos from Richard Doody
  • March 9, 2014: Updated by Dave King: Added NRHP info, street view & imported photo
  • February 16, 2011: New photo from Michael Goff
  • December 1, 2008: Added by Michael Goff

Sources 

  • Mike Goff - michael [dot] goff [at] hotmail [dot] com
  • McKee Bridge - Oregon Covered Bridge Guide
  • Southern Oregon.com - McKee Bridge Vistior Information
  • Historic Highway Bridges of Oregon - Dwight A. Smith, James B. Norman & Pieter T. Dykman, Oregon Historical Society Press, 1989
  • Dave King - DKinghawkfan [at] hotmail [dot] com
  • Richard Doody
  • Mike Garland - Rapier342 [at] comcast [dot] net