Bradley's Covered Bridge - Long Cane Covered Bridge, Troy South Carolina
Long Cane Covered Bridge was one of three remaining covered bridges in South Carolina.
One of the foremost enemies of wooden bridges in the 19th Century was weather. Bridges therefore began to be covered largely to protect their main structural timbers and to insure greater stability. The Long Cane Bridge was a covered bridge built in the Howe style -- a type of construction which introduced iron rods into the bridge trusses. This design proved to be both popular and influential and served as a means of transition from wooden bridges to those built of iron and steel.
Long Cane Covered Bridge was constructed in the summer of 1892 by Y. P. Reagan to replace an earlier bridge that had been washed away in January of that same year. (Long Cane was also known as Bradley's Bridge because it was built in close proximity to John Bradley's mill.)
In 1964 the South Carolina Highway Department was authorized by an act of the General Assembly to maintain and preserve three covered bridges in the state: Long Cane Covered Bridge, Prathers Bridge, Chapman Bridge (destroyed by fire). Since that time the Long Cane Bridge had been closed to vehicular traffic but accessible to pedestrians.
Long Cane Covered Bridge in McCormick County remained virtually unchanged since its construction in 1892. The bridge, built in the Howe style, was 30 feet high and spans 163 feet over Long Cane Creek. It rested on two stone abutments with four supporting piers in the creekbed.
The bridge consisted of a series of 13 boxed "X" panel trusses in which iron turn-buckles were added for stability. The vertical board and batten siding used to cover these panel trusses was unpainted and irregularly cut. The portals were covered with unpainted wooden clapboard; a tin roof covered the bridge. A single roadway laid on the lower chords was once utilized for through traffic.
After it took over the maintenance of the bridge, the South Carolina Highway Department replaced the tin roof and a few boards in the portal. Two small barriers were placed on either end of the bridge to limit traffic to pedestrians only. The approach to the bridge was also reconstructed to approximately half its original width to discourage vehicular traffic.
The bridge was completely detroyed be fire on July 8th, 1979.