Wisconsin’s Culture - Red Covered Bridge

Glacial River Trail Bridge

I met a fellow named Craig "Rooster" Roost through Facebook. He introduced me to a barn-raising project he led near Edgerton on property owned by Dan and Connie Bussey. I’ve published a story about barn-raising.

Rooster built the Glacial River Trail Covered Bridge off Hwy 26 just outside Ft. Atkinson in Jefferson County.

This is a map of the location of the trail.

Here's another look at the Covered Bridge. As you can see from the map, it does step over a small stream. The trail itself used to be part of a railroad bed.

This is a view of the trail, which is asphalt in this section, from Hammer Lane looking to the southwest. Look carefully, and you can see the bridge way out there.

I zoomed in and lost a bit of resolution, but you can see the bridge's form on the trail quite well.

As an aside, I could have walked down the trail from here to the bridge, but was too lazy, which was a mistake.

I first parked on Old Hwy 26 alongside the bridge and tried to get to it. The foliage was too thick, and I was not appropriately dressed to mess with it.

Then I parked on Hwy 26 alongside the Covered Bridge and climbed up what turned out to be a steep and slippery slope, much harder than I thought it would be.

After climbing up the slope and sweating like a "Polish hog," I made it to the southwest end of the bridge. You are looking to the northeast toward Hammer Lane. You can already get a sense for the real treat of this bridge --- the timber from which she was made. So let's walk inside.

"The Rooster" had a plan for the resources he would use for the bridge --- he would find lumber that could be reclaimed from old dairy barns. He wanted the bridge "to have a nostalgic look to it ... (He) did not want to be cutting down trees to build this bridge."

In his story, "Covered Bridge Project." , Craig "The Rooster" Roost says this:

"So I went barn hunting. And as luck would have it I found one just around the corner from the bridge site. There were a couple of guys who were dismantling a very large barn. And as I later found out, they were just discussing how, and to whom they were going to sell the lumber to, just before I approached them. It felt like fate had brought me to them.

"I told them about my idea and they were as shocked at the timing as well. The man who had purchased the barn was willing to supply me with all of the needed materials for the project. I was very excited about the possibilities. I was one step closer to my goal."

Let's take some closer looks at this timber --- it's phenomenal. While I am not an expert on this kind of construction, I am taken with the notches and cuts used for beams to attach to and support others. Most professional in my book. My dad was a self-made aeronautical and mechanical engineer, and also a terrific carpenter --- he would love to see this bridge --- better yet, he would have loved to help The Rooster build her.

Look at this stuff.

There are two plaques inside. One said this:

"Built in the summer of 2000 and taking 3 months to build, this Glacial River Trail Covered Bridge was made of recovered wood from a barn built in the year 1906.

"Labor to build this bridge was provided by Craig Roost, his family, friends and the Jefferson County Parks department.

"The project was funded by the: State of Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources grants, donations by local civic groups, corporate organizations, private individuals and Jefferson County."

The plaque goes on to list all those individuals and organizations who contributed, some 74 by my count.