To find a covered bridge in North Carolina is extremely rare. To find one that has been around since the early 20th century is even more rare. The Pisgah Covered Bridge in Randolph County is both. Built in 1911, the three span covered bridge crosses over the sleepy West Fork of the Little River within the boundaries of Uwharrie National Forest. (1) The bridge is a survivor as it has withstood years of vandalism and in 2003 a devastating flood.
Decades ago, Randolph County had over 60 covered bridges.(2) As the state's transportation demands grew, many of the covered bridges would be replaced by more modern crossings. The Pisgah Covered Bridge was no exception as a new bridge was built parallel to it in the 1950s. However, the bridge would remain standing. For nearly forty years as the bridge stood idle, the bridge would be the subject to a high amount of vandalism. In 1998, the North Carolina Zoo Society began an effort to maintain, repair and improve the area surrounding the bridge. Over time, they built a 1/4 mile hiking trail that complimented the bridge, a gate was installed that greatly reduced the amount of vandalism, and a parking and picnic area was built.
A flash flood in August 2003 destroyed the bridge. However, the local community, the NC Zoological Society, and NCDOT quickly rebuilt the bridge the following year. Fortunately, for the restoration efforts, 90 percent of the original building materials for the bridge were salvageable. The bridge now has a wood shingle roof, which returns the bridge to its original specifications. It had a tin roof for nearly 70 years. Photos by author - June 2007.