Chitwood Oregon is an unincorporated community between Corvallis (approximately 37 miles to the east) and Newport (15 miles to the west) on Highway 20. Once a rail stop and a small, thriving town, it now consists of a few houses and not much more… with the exception of a covered bridge (which you must cross to get to the community of Chitwood) and a barely visible wigwam burner.
The 96 foot long, Chitwood Covered Bridge was originally constructed in 1926 to replace a decaying, uncovered bridge. In the early part of the 20th century, bridges in western Oregon were covered to prevent the bridge decking from decay because of our wet, rainy weather. I found the Chitwood Covered Bridge to be a great example of why this was so successful. On the day we visited, the wood approaches on both sides of this covered bridge had several rotted and decaying areas, filled with water from a recent rain (visible in the photo below). The decking of the bridge itself was dry and seemingly in good shape.
For those of you more familiar with our Lane County Covered Bridges, the Chitwood Covered Bridge shows the differences between “our” bridges and those constructed in Lincoln County; notably, the flared sides and the red color.
Chitwood also contains another structure which readers of this blog know I am fond of – a wigwam burner. This feature is a bit more difficult to see. To the west of Chitwood on Highway 20, between the Chitwood Covered Bridge and Trapp Creek Road, on the south side of the highway is a decaying wigwam burner. It is missing its top, and some of the side panels are gone. Highway 20 through here is quite narrow and curvy. If you’d like to see it, I suggest the person who is NOT driving keep an eye in the trees along the south side of the road. You’ll find it tucked in there. A few intrepid Flickr users have walked along Highway 20 to take pictures (park at the bridge at Trapp Creek Road). We attempted this as well, but it was a rainy, overcast day when we visited with lots of traffic on Highway 20, and walking along the road didn’t actually feel like a very good idea at the time. To see a photo of this wigwam burner, click here and here.