Covered Bridge Park

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About the Park


More than 40 covered bridges once dotted the Wisconsin countryside. Today the sole survivor is the Cedarburg Bridge, originally known as the "Red Bridge", located 3 miles north of the City of Cedarburg and 20 miles north of Milwaukee near the junction of Highways 60 and 143 on the Covered Bridge Road.

Reason for Cover


Many reasons are given why such bridges were covered. Some say it was to shelter travelers in storms. There are 2 more reasonable conclusions, to preserve the truss structure and the fact that the teams of oxen used by the area farmers had a fear of crossing the water on an open bridge and frequently balked. One old legend states that the covered bridge leveled off the farmers' hayloads as they passed through.

Amenities & Recreational Features


Recreational features currently available at Covered Bridge Park include:
  • Bird Watching
  • Fishing
  • Off Road Parking Areas
  • Picnicking and Grilling
  • River Canoe Access Area
Picnic tables, grills, drinking water and accessible portable toilets are available at the park. Currently many people are using this park for nature walks, fishing and photo shoots. 

Reservations


Park reservations must be made for any group events. Covered Bridge Park is not far from Pleasant Valley Nature Park, making its location ideal for all kinds of activity. For questions regarding the park contact the Planning and Parks Department. Reservations can be made for almost every area in the park by clicking here. Call 262-284-8257 for questions or issues with online booking.

Covered Bridge Park Brochure 

Covered Bridge Map

The Ozaukee County Planning and Parks Department is constructing a new open-air shelter at Covered Bridge Park. Please see the link below for detailed information on the project.

The Department and its consultant completed the design, engineering, and public bidding for a new multi-purpose building at Covered Bridge Park, which will include bathrooms, a picnic shelter, and a storage area for equipment and supplies. The new building, currently under construction by a private contractor, is located at the southwest corner of the Park near Covered Bridge Road and Cedar Creek Road. The building design and exterior colors have been selected to complement the architecture and colors of the historic Covered Bridge. Covered Bridge Park is a highly visited site in the Ozaukee Park system and routinely is the location for large groups and events, including weddings. This project will improve Park user experience and alleviate the need for staff to bring in equipment and supplies for Parks maintenance from offsite. Construction activities are scheduled to be complete by January 2022.

Directions 
Building of Bridge
This bridge was built by the Town of Cedarburg on petition of neighboring farmers to replace periodically washed out bridges. Built in 1876, the original span measured 120 feet long and 12 feet wide. The source of building materials was pine logs, cut and milled near Baraboo, Wisconsin. 

The squared timber and planks were then hauled to the proposed site on Cedar Creek where all pieces were fitted and set in place. The lattice truss construction consisted of 3-inch-by-10-inch planks secured by 2-inch hardwood pins, eliminating the use of nails or bolts, and floored by 3-inch planking. It is now very rare. 

In 1927, a center abutment was placed to carry the heavier traffic of automobiles and trucks. There were many prominent farmers living in the vicinity of this covered bridge, whose descendants are still living in this area. The names of some of these early settlers were the Kaehlers, Krohns, Ernsts, Hickeys, Corrigans, Mintzlaffs, Schellenbergs and Pollows. 
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Retirement & Historical Landmark
After 85 years of continuous service, the old landmark began a life of semi-retirement. A modern span was built beside the old bridge, which is not used exclusively for pedestrian traffic. 

In 1940, the Ozaukee County Board voted to preserve this structure as a historic monument. On October 1, 1955, the Port Washington Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, added to the bridge its one modern embellishment, a plaque which reads:

"This marker was approved by the State Historical Society. However, at that time, there was no County Historical Society. The present Ozaukee County Historical Society, established in 1960, dedicated a State Historical Society Official Marker on May 23, 1965."
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