Grave Creek Bridge  -- 113K

Grave Creek Bridge

World Guide Number: 37-17-01

In 1846, after witnessing too much death and tragedy among the Oregon Trail pioneers, Jesse and Lindsay Applegate felt that there had to be a better way, a southern route into Oregonís Willamette Valley. That year they forged the trail and the first wagon train rolled into the territory from the south. On that journey, 14 year old Martha Leland Crowley succumbed to illness at this crossing. After this, the stream came to be known as Grave Creek. The 105 ft. covered bridge was built at this crossing in 1920 using a Howe truss for its support. Interstate 5 is now the main North/South artery in the valley and the bridge only serves local traffic, but Josephine county officials are contemplating replacing the bridge with a concrete span.

You can actually see this bridge from Interstate 5. Go east under the freeway at the Sunny Valley exit, the head north for approximately one mile to the site.


Grave Creek Bridge Restored!

The Grave Creek bridge had deteriorated to the point that the highway department wanted to replace it with a concrete span, but this raised such an outcry that through the efforts of the local community the bridge was instead restored. The project was completed and the bridge reopened for traffic in February of 2001.

Update information and image of the restored bridge are courtesy of Twila Meister.