Sandy Creek covered bridge: end view

Selected for Google Maps and Google Earth

Comments (20)

Lilypon on October 9, 2007

The perfect bridge for the Headless Horseman! :D

Ryan Calhoun on October 9, 2007

The Headless Horseman should ride out here and night and behead all the kids that deface the inside of the bridge! Or at least scare them enough so they don't come back!

I looked up Missouri's covered bridges after looking at some of the photos from New England and Europe. There are four left, all from just after the Civil War, all state parks. I was absolutely shocked when I drove out here and saw the state it was in. There are at least 500 names written inside. There were beer cans (and Pam, I did throw all of them away before I took any photos here), and trash, etc. On the far side, blocked by the wall, is a big trash can, the kind that's covered with tiny rocks and cemented to the ground. The short fence here ends at the bottom of the frame, at attached to that was one of those ugly orange plastic mesh fences blocking off the bushes for twenty feet or so. No pictures close up, none farther back, none looking through (trash can and more orange fence).

So it's an example of what happens to things when they're left unsupervised. People just don't care about preserving the past, or appreciating beauty, or considering the people who might follow them and want to look at it later. But even worse, it's an example of how trashy these bits of history can be made to look when the management that is done is done so poorly and tastelessly. Who could imagine that someone might want to take a photo of an old covered bridge?! Would could think that maybe the ugly orange fence and trash cans ought not to block the view of the bridge?!

So I was very disappointed, and I'm really hoping the other three bridges are in better shape.

Ryan (who has strong opinions about everything)

Lilypon on October 9, 2007

I don't blame you. Those bridges are such a treasure and are such a big part of American history. I felt the same as you the last time we went down to Yellowstone (1999). So many people have thrown garbage in the pools that some of the geysers didn't work and some of the ponds had lost the brilliant colouring I had admired as a child (some of the garbage had become stuck in the vents and couldn't be cleared so the temperature of those ponds has dropped).

The one bridge I posted a pic of recently also had graffiti under it. Some was dated back to 1929 so it seems every generation has had these problems. Unfortunately now though the population has risen so high and the bad apples have grown proportionately with it.

Margrit M. Berger (S… on October 10, 2007

That's a beautiful covered bridge, Ryan and well composed. It looks lovely in its happy colour framed with the green of the trees. It doesn't look as if it was used by cars.

Greetings, May

Ryan Calhoun on October 10, 2007

Pam, I think since 1999 there has been some effort at cleaning the vents out, using ultra-sterilized equipment. Yellowstone is constantly changing, and even some of the hotsprings which had dried considerably in 2004 have started to overflow again. I think the park rangers have admirably redoubled their efforts to educate the public about the fragility and intricacy of the park's balance, and it seems to be working.

There are some kinds of graffiti I don't mind, like the names of stone masons cut into quarry rocks, or of early cave explorers (I think usually the explorers carved into plain walls, and tried not to damage any formations), or of cave or cliff paintings done during the stone age. Sometimes even modern graffiti can beautiful, the kind that is artistic and pictorial, as long as it doesn't damage anything.

But the mindless "Bob was here" graffiti is always an eyesore. I've never understood that compulsion, since it's not interesting by any definition, and it usually covers up something that is interesting. Who cares if Bob was here?! He's nobody! He didn't explore or create anything, and has no association or ownership of the thing he's defacing. So he stood what. So I don't understand why they do it, and I don't understand why the park lets them do it. I wanted to take some pictures of the inside structure, but every surface was completely covered. It's just beyond me.

Ryan Calhoun on October 10, 2007

Thanks, May!

The bridge itself is still in really good shape, and I thought it was really beautiful just sitting in the woods as it is. I'm glad you think it's well composed!

Yes, it was in fact used by cars. There are historical photos which show the bridge used by a pair of Ford Model As. It was only one lane, so the opposite direction had to wait, and take turns. The wooden fence was there in the old photos as well, but the original road surface is gone, and this orange gravel is put there to keep grass from growing up.

Greetings, Ryan

Tamás Borbély on October 10, 2007

This is a very interesting bridge and beautiful photo, Ryan !The bridge has a strange story. Greetings, Tamás

Ryan Calhoun on October 10, 2007

Thanks, Tamás! Yes, it was a very interesting place to visit. Greetings, Ryan

Ryan Calhoun on October 12, 2007

Thanks, Nicolas. I originally thought the same thing, until I looked it up and found there are four still remaining. At the height of covered bridge building, there were over 30 spanning the Missouri River alone. Now with so few left, they are all state parks.

But in this case, the park is Mastodon State Park which oversees this bride, and their building and personnel are 20 miles from this site. There aren't any rangers out here, and probably maintenance people only make occasional checkups. So it becomes a place where kids hang out and get into trouble at night.

Most state parks (in any state) are just rocks and trees, and don't need much upkeep except for a few trails. I think states don't provide much money to the parks, because there's proportionally not much interest in them. But in the case of this bridge, I've never seen a state park managed this badly. I never would have known it existed except for a random search on the internet. It's location isn't given anywhere except on a map they keep in the bottom drawer at the Mastodon museum. I think they don't spend money to fix it because there's so little interest, and there's so little interest because they haven't spent the money to fix it (or tell people it's there). As I said above, I only hope the other three bridges are kept in better shape.

Greetings, Ryan

marnox1 on October 17, 2007

Ryan - I, too think this is a great shot. The light and shadows draw the eye into wanting to see more. Part of the reason I started posting photos on Panoramio was because I could point out exactly on a map where the the target was either located -or- photographed from. Hopefully, I make it easier for others to find things that I searched a long time for -or- just happened to stumble across. Maxine

Ryan Calhoun on October 17, 2007

Thanks, Maxine.

When I first looked at Google Earth, I looked closely at the places where I live or used to live, and most of those places were completely bare (of photos). So I decided I'd have to illustrate all those places myself to fill the gaps and put them on the map, so to speak. There must be very few users from this area now, but someday I hope there are more, and maybe someone will decide to visit a place and photograph it for themselves after seeing one of mine. Maybe eventually more websites will start putting their own location on google maps, or linking to a panoramio photo that someone has taken.

Greetings, Ryan

Ryan Calhoun on February 21, 2008
  • As a follow-up to my above comments above regarding the other state park covered bridge sites, I thought I should add a link to the Bollinger Mill site, which includes Missouri's oldest remaining covered bridge.
MaryAlice on February 22, 2008

Ryan, even with the graffiti, this is still a strikingly beautiful bridge with a lot of character. Incidentally, I think all of your strong opinions are fabulous! Keep spitting 'em out!

Ryan Calhoun on February 23, 2008

Thanks Mary Alice! This is my example of the "shooting around" technique I mentioned on your covered bridge photo, blocking most of the offensive aspects of the site out of sight. But maybe sometime this spring I'll take the "solvent and sandpaper" approach myself to try to at least clean up the inside of the structure (can't do anything about the orange mesh or trash cans). Now watch me get arrested for "defacing" a state park. :S


Marilyn Whiteley on February 23, 2008

How did I miss this shot, Ryan?? By going to Australia, I guess. There was to much to catch up on afterwards. Anyway your carefully planned shot, avoiding the eyesores, is very successful. Really handsome!


Ryan Calhoun on February 24, 2008

Thank you Marilyn! I was happy to be able to get this shot after a little thought. However, given the choice, I'd rather have gone to Australia! :)


Der SIGGY on March 26, 2008

Hello from Germany! What a wonderful Shot of a wonderful coverd bridge! So colorful! Could you be so kind, please, and build the TAG 'coverd bridges'? May be, sometimes, when maintence is alredy done by Panoramio, we can see all these beauties worldwide! Thank you, and if you wannt, take a look at this one! Greetings, DerSIGGY

Ryan Calhoun on March 26, 2008

Thanks DerSiggy! Yes, it is fascinating to see these beautifully constructed bridges from all over the world. Greetings, Ryan

em_mar_10 on January 27, 2009

You were right, Ryan, this Sandy Creek covered bridge does look a lot like the Sugar Creek bridge in Illinois. Have you seen the one down in Randolph County, IL? I have no pictures of it, but there are several on Panoramio including this one.

em_mar_10 on January 27, 2009

I thought I would also mention the third and final covered bridge that I have visited in Illinois (I believe there are some I haven't seen). It is near Greenup, IL on the Historic National Road. Unfortunately the original covered bridge was washed away long, long ago... but this bridge, presented here by another Panoramio user, is a very fine example of recent historical reconstruction work! The brief history of the site can be found here.

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Photo details

  • Uploaded on October 9, 2007
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by Ryan Calhoun
    • Camera: Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XT
    • Taken on 2007/09/27 09:53:26
    • Exposure: 0.008s (1/125)
    • Focal Length: 24.00mm
    • F/Stop: f/8.000
    • ISO Speed: ISO200
    • Exposure Bias: -2.00 EV
    • No flash