One may think that a state known for its endless bodies of water would have several covered bridges. While at one point, there were dozens of these beautiful pieces of architecture throughout Minnesota, only a few remain.
Today we’re going to go over everything there is to know about the last covered bridges in Minnesota. Our main focus is on the Zumbrota bridge, which is the most popular on this list. Thanks to our engaging readers, there are a couple of other bridges we’ll be highlighting as well.
1. The Zumbrota Covered Bridge
The red, wooden bridge is in a small town that goes by the name Zumbrota. It’s roughly 65 miles from Minneapolis. The bridge was initially built toward the end of 1869. At the time, it cost $5,800 to build which is roughly $131,212 today.
Before this covered bridge, the town had a standard bridge in the same area that was washed away by a flood in the spring of 1869. The bridge didn’t have a cover until 1871. People built the bridge to make it easier for pedestrians to make their way across the river.
Lattice wooden trusses make up the majority of the structure. This bridge is intentionally designed to look like a classic farm barn. The Zombrota bridge is 116 feet long and 15 feet wide. An uncovered bridge will last roughly 20 years, while a covered structure can last about 100 years.
Where Is the Zumbrota Bridge?
Residents in the small town and Minnesotans passing through used this iconic bridge until 1932. This is when that the entire structure was moved to the county fairgrounds near the Northern part of town. While this is a smaller fair than others in the state, the locals still were in awe of the beautiful craftsmanship of the bridge.
If you’re interested in seeing the second version of the Zumbrota-covered bridge, it may shock you to hear that it’s no longer there. In 1997 the Zumbrota Bridge was moved to an aptly named park called Covered Bridge Park.
This is roughly 100 yards from the structure’s original location. It’s not far from where the bridge first stood, but the history behind it is too interesting to skip. The park consists of 80 acres and is a tribute to the local region. The bridge is now on the National Historic Register.
2. The Holdingford Bridge
Thanks to our amazing readers, we learned about the Holdingford Bridge. This is right along the Lake Wobegon Trail. This trail has a 13-mile-long extension from Albany to Onamia that the bridge runs alongside.
It’s the longest bridge with a cover in the state, standing roughly 186 feet across. As the name suggests, this bridge is located in Holdingford, MN. It’s roughly 90 miles northwest of the Twin Cities. Locals have nicknamed this bridge the “Lake Wobegon Covered Bridge.”
The stunning brick-colored wood bridge has a large arched opening for travelers to use. There is no way to miss this beautiful piece of craftsmanship. The Holdingford Lions Club constructed the bridge in 2008, despite its ancient appearance.
It is undoubtedly one of Minnesota’s most enchanted locations, and biking or walking through it is always enjoyable. The numerous windows on the bridge provide a pleasant view of the creek below. It’s very lovely in the summertime.
Additionally, you are free to linger and take in the scenery without having to rush since there is not any motor traffic on the bridge.
3. The Sturgeon Island Covered Bridge
Lastly, let’s take a look at the Sturgeon Island Covered Bridge. This bridge is about 108 miles from Minneapolis in the popular vacation town of Sturgeon Lake. At one point, the iron supports under the bridge began to deteriorate, leading to the failing structure needing to be replaced.
The town simply couldn’t afford the project that was going to cost over $600,000. They banded together and replaced several of the thick, white oak planks. They cut down trees and worked with a local mill to have them properly sized.
The bright red bridge now stands with a light on each side of the entrance. There is a small area off to the side where you can stand and look over the water. Sturgeon Lake is a sight to behold in and of itself. This makes a great day trip in the summer and autumn months.
While it’s a beautiful piece of art, it also shows just how much people care about these covered bridges in Minnesota.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Mark Herreid/iStock via Getty Images
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