National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior

HDP banner
find a parknatureworking with communitiesget involvedteacherskidsabout us

Black and white photograph of the interior of a covered bridge (cover of the book, Covered Bridges and the Birth of American Engineering)

The Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) is pleased to announce the publication of Covered Bridges and the Birth of American Engineering (2015), edited by HAER Historian Justine Christianson and HAER Architect Christopher H. Marston.

The book represents the culmination of research under the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)-sponsored National Historic Covered Bridge Preservation (NHCBP) Program. HAER and the FHWA's Office of Infrastructure Research and Development have maintained a joint research and technology program for historic covered bridges since 2002. This partnership has also included a variety of initiatives including documentation, engineering studies, National Historic Landmark designations, conferences, and a traveling exhibition.

This book examines the development of wood trusses and covered bridge construction, profiles the pioneering craftsmen and engineers involved, explores the function of trusses in covered bridges, and looks at the preservation and future of these distinctly American bridges. The editors have collaborated with some of the leading historians and engineers of historic covered bridges in the country to produce this volume. Contributors include Jim Barker, Lola Bennett, Joseph Conwill, Dario Gasparini, Matthew Reckard, and Rachel Sangree. Richard O'Connor and Sheila Rimal Duwadi supplied overviews of the HAER and NHCBP programs, and Michael Harrison and David Simmons provided invaluable editorial assistance.


Download the Book

HAER is distributing this publication to members of the covered bridge community nationwide. Paper copies may be requested while supplies last, by contacting Christopher H. Marston at

The book is also available for download. Due to the number of images included in the book, both of these files are large:


Book Review

Covered Bridges and the Birth of American Engineering was reviewed in the Society for History in the Federal Government's newsletter, The Federalist. The review is reprinted here courtesy of the Society for History in the Federal Government.