Gallon House Bridge – Marion County

Bridge Over Troubled Waters Tuesday – Week Eleven!  Gallon House Bridge was the first bridge I’d decided to visit on a Saturday in early September.  Gallon House Bridge is located in Marion County east of interstate five and is in the middle of some spectacularly beautiful country.   I planned to take the Bronco and had everything all packed up.  It was pretty hot out which I only found out about much later.  Left the house around seven in the morning and took about an hour to get to the Gallon House Bridge.

Finding Gallon House Bridge

Many of the roads that led to the Gallon House bridge are beautiful – just magnificent in the morning, and I really enjoyed the drive there.  On the route I’d picked – just before the bridge itself I noticed a large sunflower field.  I suppose I knew sunflowers were grown in large fields, but I’ve never seen one, and never figured they might be located in Oregon.

Beautiful fields of sunflowers
Fields of sunflowers on the route to Gallon House Bridge

Arriving at the Bridge

I parked the Bronco and made my way to the bridge – there are some farms around the bridge so be careful and respectful to find a good area to park.  Also, the road goes from one lane in either direction to a single lane through the bridge, so be mindful of that as well.

Bronco at Gallon House Bridge
I carefully packed the Bronco the night before expecting warm weather and poor quality air.

The Farmer with the Stories

There are times when visiting different places when something extraordinary happens.  Odd circumstances that inspire me to continue with this project – in this case it wasn’t necessarily the bridge that was so odd and extraordinary (the bridge was amazing!) it was a curious farmer who drove up while I was looking at the bridge.  He drove up in a super dusty older green car – it was filthy and I could see parts of the dashboard that were removed and repaired unsuccessfully.  I spent the next five minutes being regained of tales of him buying his farm, who’d sold it to him, and how much he’d paid (not much) for the entire thing.  He had some problem remembering at certain points and frequently needed to pause to remember certain critical plot points.  It was a fascinating five minutes but them without even finishing his last story he sped away through the bridge to parts unknown.  One of those moments that made me regret not having anyone else along to enjoy the moment.

Farmers dirty car
This farmer stopped while I was visiting the bridge and talked for about five minutes straight…
Gallon_House_Br_41
… before suddenly leaving and driving away. Very curious moment.

Inside Gallon House Bridge

I finally got a good look at the bridge and noticed it was celebrating it’s hundred year anniversary.  Fantastic!!  Gallon House Bridge was built in nineteen sixteen, which makes it one of the oldest bridges I’ve visited.  The bridge transverses a small shallow creek which can be seen looking down past the outside edge.

Abiqua creek seen through bridge
Abiqua Creek is very shallow this time of year and dry rocks on the bottom can be seen.

The interior of the Gallon House Bridge is typical of this kind of bridge and featured no windows, though light can ben seen through the gap between the roof and top of the exterior walls.

Looking through gallon house bridge
Looking through the Gallon House Bridge some of the intricate architecture can be seen.
Gallon House Bridge inside
The eighty-two foot long timbers holding the roof up can be seen, as well as light entering between the roof and walls.

This bridge is still being used so it’s doubly impressive the deck is in such good shape, though there were some scotch marks from a car driving irresponsibly on the bridge and skidding their tires.

Gallon House Bridge decking
The decking is in surprisingly good shape for being a hundred years old.

Through the Bridge

Northeast entrance of Gallon House Bridge
Entrance to the Gallon House Bridge from the northeast. The centennial sign can also be seen.

On the other side of the bridge is a fantastic monument celebrating the centennial anniversary of the Gallon House Bridge.  Having these informative signs near these historic stores adds an additional layer of understanding for me regarding its historical significance.  Marion County and all of Oregon (particularly the Willamette Valley should definitely be celebrated for it’s maintenance of these historical sites.

Centennial sign at Gallon House Bridge
Having a sign near the bridge explaining it’s historical significance is a fantastic

As I was wandering around I also noticed there are paths that lead below the bridge – might be a nice spot to dip your feet into the water when it gets too warm outside.  I didn’t venture down as I wasn’t sure how easy it would be to get out once I’d ventured below.  Still, its nice there are means to get closer tot he water.

Path to river
There is a path that leads down to the river next to the bridge.

Summary and Rating

I really enjoyed visiting Gallon House Bridge – it’s celebrating it’s hundred year anniversary of being built and while I was visiting I was stopped by a curious local.  The bridge itself is typical in it’s construction but unlike many others it’s still being used daily and has a fantastic sign explaining some of the past history of the bridge.  Overall I quite enjoyed visiting, it is surrounded by beautiful roads and sunflower fields.  I recommend anyone who has an opportunity to visit as many of these historical covered bridges as they can – this one is definitely worthy of the five Heywillamettes it earned.

Heywillamettevalley five out of five rating

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