We take you on a photo tour of 14 beautiful covered bridges in Alabama and tell the history behind them.
The Bridges of Madison County made something as simple as an architectural structure purely fascinating and even romantic. Yes, the best-selling novel by Robert James Waller and movie, starring Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep, added a romance to covered bridges.
First built in the 1790s, these structures did not become popular until after 1814. At one time, Kentucky alone boasted more than 400 of them. Today, however, they are few and far between. Some were destroyed during the Civil War, others just wasted away with the passage of time. They’ve been moved, burned down and rebuilt. So, when you do find one, it feels somewhat magical.
“The sound you hear while driving across a covered bridge makes you think you won't make it across. And on some, you might not,” says Gary Clark, former Southern Living Magazine travel photographer and photographer of the United States Postal Service 2014 Star-Spangled Banner Forever stamp. “This is how many bridges used to be built, particularly in the South. They are links to history, though, and photographically fun, since they are all different.”
Gary took to the back roads of Alabama, braving a few storms and arriving before sunrise and at sunset. He has captured, in photograph, the best of these covered bridges that Alabama has to offer, showing what true art lies in these architectural structures.
Many of them are located on private property, others are difficult to reach. But our extensive list offers a variety, even the somewhat hidden ones that Gary uncovered in his travels. Plan to visit these structures on your own, or if you can’t, enjoy what Gary has photographed for us.
1) Alamuchee-Bellamy Covered Bridge
2) Clarkson-Legg Covered Bridge
3) Coldwater Covered Bridge
4) Easley Covered Bridge, a.k.a. Rosa Covered Bridge
5) Gilliland's-Reese Covered Bridge
6) Horton Mill Covered Bridge
7) Kymulga Mill & Covered Bridge
8) Old Union Crossing Covered Bridge
9) Salem Shotwell Covered Bridge
10) Swann Covered Bridge
11) Waldo Covered Bridge (a.k.a. Riddle Mill Covered Bridge)
12) Bob Saunders Family Covered Bridge
13) Horace King Memorial Covered Bridge
14) Cambron Covered Bridge
The locations of the covered bridges in Alabama are marked on the official Alabama State Highway map and directions to each bridge are given. These maps are available at no cost by calling: 1-800-ALABAMA (1-800-252-2262).
All photography by Gary Clark, a former Southern Living Magazine travel photographer and photographer of the United States Postal Service 2014 Star-Spangled Banner Forever stamp. See more of Gary's work and contact him at www.thegaryclark.com.