Photos by Cheryl Landes
Rock O’ the Range Bridge is the only covered bridge east of the Oregon Cascades. It was built in 1963, when William Bowen needed an access road across Swalley Canal, north of Bend, to the property he was developing. He decided that the bridge crossing the canal should be covered.
Bowen hired Maurice Olson, a local contractor, to build the bridge based on a picture of a covered bridge he found on a calendar.
The construction consists of Douglas fir timbers placed on concrete pilings to support the weight of the bridge and the vehicles crossing the bridge. Small timbers were added later to strengthen the span. Cedar siding, a shingled roof, and windows add character to the design.
The bridge’s nine-foot one-inch clearance is lower than most bridges with coverings. Its maintenance costs are covered by the landowners who use the bridge to access their property.
Rock O’ the Range Bridge isn’t considered a true covered bridge, because it isn’t supported by a truss.
The bridge is located on Bowery Lane two miles north of Bend, Oregon, and west of U.S. Highway 97.