||(5 miles west of Paris on U.S.
24 and 4 miles south on Hwy. C in Monroe County)
This covered bridge is the
only surviving Missouri example of the Burr-arch truss system.
Built in 1871 to span the Elk Fork of the Salt River, the bridge
served travelers on the Paris-to-Fayette Road through Monroe
County for 99 years. Located near Paris, the bridge is 120 feet
long, 17 feet 6 inches wide, and has an entrance 12 feet
high--just high enough to admit a wagon load of hay.
Covered truss bridges are composed of a roadway, braced on each
side by a wooden truss and a roof. The purpose of the siding and
roofing was to shield the truss work from the weather to ensure a
longer lifetime, not to protect travelers from the weather.
Union Covered Bridge, built
in 1871 by Joseph C. Elliott, is one of four standing covered
bridges in Missouri and the only one left representing the
"Burr-arch" construction. Elliott chose the Burr-arch
truss design, using oak timbers, clapboard siding, and a roof of
wooden shingles. This structure was the first covered bridge
structure on the site; two earlier, uncovered spans succumbed to
after the nearby Union Church, the bridge served travelers in
Monroe County for 99 years and remains an important structure in
the area's history. It served not only as a bridge but also as a
local landmark, emergency shelter, and signboard. In 1968, the
bridge was partially restored using materials from the Mexico
Covered Bridge, which had been destroyed by floods in 1967. Two
years later, the bridge was closed to all but pedestrian traffic
after overweight trucks damaged its structural timbers; that same
year it was officially listed on the National Register of Historic
Places. In 1988, total restoration of the bridge was undertaken in
order to return it to its original condition.