In the 19th century when horse and buggy were the common mode of transportation, many covered bridges dotted the landscape. There were a couple theories behind the idea of enclosing a bridge with a roof and high sides. Horse travel was treacherous in the winter; a cover on a bridge decelerated the process of ice formation, making it safer for horses to cross a bridge. Also, high water levels during spring runoff would spook a horse that sees the fast flowing river beneath. The high wooden sides on a bridge conceal the water from a horse’s view.
One remaining covered bridge in Ontario, Canada is located deep in the heart of Mennonite and Amish country and is still used by local horse and buggy traffic. Built in 1881, the initial structure was made only of wood. It has undergone several transformations over the years to strengthen and preserve its integrity using stone, asphalt, concrete, and steel.
Legend has it that when courting, young couples would take the opportunity to steal a kiss in private, away from watchful eyes, under cover of the dimly lit bridge. It became fondly known as the “Kissing Bridge”.
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