For a short time during its long life, the Antelope Creek Bridge was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Then for several years, it was removed from that list because windows had been cut in the sides to bring in light. That was enough to have it removed from the historic list, and it has been off the list since 1988.
Subsequent restoration work has returned it to its historical and original condition and when the work was completed, the bridge again was considered for nomination to the Register. The city of Eagle Point, with the help of the state advisory commission, has re-applied for that historic status and it was approved through the State Parks commission. However, that is the first step to having it accepted and relisted on the National Register. That application went to the state on Oct. 11, and will now be forwarded to the National Register.
The history of the bridge is that it was taken down, reassembled by volunteers in 1987 to cross a different creek. This queenpost truss bridge was erected about 10 miles south of Eagle Point in 1922. Its 58 ft. span crossed Antelope Creek. In 1987, years after the structure had been closed to traffic, there was talk of tearing it down. The townsfolk of Eagle Point came the old bridge’s rescue. In August of that same year, the portals, roof and siding were carefully removed, the truss was loaded onto a make-shift trailer, and the entire structure was relocated to the middle of Eagle Point, Oregon to span Little Butte Creek as a pedestrian crossing. Volunteers struggled through the autumn to renovate the bridge and add the new approaches. Large windows were cut into the sides to provide light and visibility for the school children who would be using the span. This alteration, however, caused the bridge to be removed from the National Register of Historic Places.
In spite of this, the town of Eagle Point has transformed this deteriorated relic into a place of pride for the community. With its attractive new approach and the attention to landscaping, Antelope Creek Bridge would certainly be on anyone’s “must see” list for Oregon’s covered bridges.
Now, its return to the historic list is a relative certainty. It will mean that Eagle Point will again be on the map, so to speak, and will bring visitors from around the country to walk the wooden planks, drink in the musty smells and enjoy the ambiance of a nearly century-old bridge while walking across the huge beams to the sound of the rushing waters beneath. This is a part of history, but also a huge piece of the present and future of this community.