Lemuel Chenoweth

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Philippi Covered Bridge

Lemuel Chenoweth (1811–1887) was a carpenter, legislator and self-taught architect. He is best known as one of 19th century America's master covered bridge builders.

Chenoweth and his brother Eli constructed 20 bridges during the 1840s and 1850s, most of them covered, on four western Virginia turnpikes, notably on the Staunton-Parkersburg Turnpike system in what is now West Virginia.


Chenoweth was born, lived and died in Randolph County, Virginia (later West Virginia). He was an associate of Claudius Crozet, a noted civil engineer who oversaw the design and construction of Virginia's transportation infrastructure of turnpikes, canals, and roads with funding by the Virginia Board of Public Works and the General Assembly of Virginia prior to the American Civil War (1860-1865).

One of Chenoweth's best known surviving bridges is the Philippi Covered Bridge (1852) spanning the Tygart Valley River and carrying U.S. Route 250 in Philippi. The bridge is an outstanding example of a modified Burr truss bridge with two spans totaling 308 feet (94 m).[1] It is also the only covered bridge in the United States currently incorporated into the national primary highway system, although it has been extensively reinforced and reconstructed.

Another of Chenoweth's surviving covered bridges is located at Barrackville in Marion County.[2]

Several homes and the Huttonsville Presbyterian Church in Huttonsville are also among Chenoweth's extant creations.

Chenoweth was buried in the Beverly Cemetery.


The Lemuel Chenoweth House Museum operates in the post and beam house that Chenoweth built for himself in Beverly in 1856.

Barrackville Covered Bridge

List of Chenoweth bridges[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ann Post (September 30, 1971), National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: Philippi Covered Bridge (pdf), National Park Service 
  2. ^ E.L. Kemp (December 21, 1980), National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: Barrackville Covered Bridge (pdf), National Park Service 

External links[edit]