Felton Covered Bridge, the historic treasure in our backyard, is getting a new roof. Crews have been working for the past several weeks removing the damaged and old hand-split redwood barn shakes and replacing them with new shakes. The work is being done by Andy’s Roofing Company of San Leandro with grant money for historical projects from CalTrans.
The work will be substantially completed by May 24, which means the new roof will be completed in time for the Felton Remembers Parade and Memorial Day celebration.
At 33 feet high, the Felton Covered Bridge over the San Lorenzo River is considered the tallest covered bridge in the United States. It was built in 1892-93 at a cost of $4,677. The bridge was registered as a California State Historical Landmark in 1957 and was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. When it was nominated to the National Register in 1973 it was one of only 11 covered bridges remaining in California. In 1988 the Felton Covered Bridge was one of 10 projects to receive a National Historic Preservation Award.
Until 1937, the bridge provided the only access to the San Lorenzo Valley area. This changed when an iron bridge on nearby Graham Hill Road was constructed.
One end of the roof was damaged several years ago when a tree limb fell through. The remainder of the shakes needed to be replaced as they had worn thin, and many had holes. All work had to be done in accordance with federal historical rehabilitation standards and with County building codes. That meant that 9,000 shakes had to be hand-split to be historically correct. However, we hit a snag. The redwood could not be treated to meet fire codes. Hence, treated shakes of cedar (which ages to look like redwood) were used instead.
Many, many residents contributed to the completion of the new roof. The late Bill Burton of Ben Lomond, John MacDonald, Judy Anderson, Bill Holl, Lud McCrary were among those who spearheaded the effort. We will be celebrating the new roof in the new future. I will let you know what’s planned.