Jefferson County embarked on a building program following the American Civil War and paid John H. Morse $2000 for the construction of Sandy Creek Covered Bridge in 1872. Morse built Sandy Creek Covered Bridge using the Howe-truss design, named for William Howe. Howe patented his design in 1840, which featured the use of vertical rods to draw wooden members tight against the top and bottom of the bridge. Three of the four remaining covered bridges in Missouri were built using the Howe-truss design, including Sandy Creek, Burfordville and Locust Creek covered bridges.
Sandy Creek Covered Bridge remained intact until the spring flood of 1886 destroyed it. In August of the same year, Henry Steffin rebuilt the bridge to the original specifications and approximate configurations, using some of the original timbers and abutments. The project cost the county $899.
The main purpose behind covering bridges is to protect the intricate structural network of iron and timber trusses from the weather. The coverings also added strength, which reduced sagging and listing. Riders in uncovered buggies and carriages often used the bridges as shelters from the wind, snow and rain.
In 1967, the Missouri Legislature passed a bill authorizing the Missouri State Park Board to take possession of, repair, and preserve the five remaining covered bridges in the state.
The bridge is 74.5 feet high and 18 feet 10 inches wide and has a height of 13 feet.
The site, a 205-acre day use facility complete with picnic tables, toilet facilities, and interpretive display is open 8 a.m. to one-half hour after sunset and is closed in January each year. Map at http://tinyurl.com/qf998ul
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