The Lost Villages of Lost Creek Lake

The Lost Villages of Lost Creek Lake

The Mysteries of the Peyton Covered Bridge – Part One

Dennis Ellingson

covered bridge

The next portion of our journey up old Crater Lake Highway takes us past Laurelhurst State Park. Here we have a decision to make. Either continue on the highway or take what was commonly called the Laurelhurst Loop. This takes us down a steep grade to the river below. Here we spot what must have been one of the most iconic pieces of these lost villages, the Peyton Covered Bridge.

Pictured here is an image of the old Peyton Covered Bridge.  The photograph appears to have been taken in the early 1960’s. It is a great photograph that really shows not only what the bridge looked like but the surrounding area along the Upper Rogue. This area, of course, is now underwater most of the time.

But there is a mystery here with this photograph. Maybe you can help solve it. Beth Ness, who has been mentioned before, has been holding the photo for decades. She, and her husband Doug first operated the Marina at Lost Creek in the 1980‘s. The photo was given to her at the marina and to be picked up by someone who never showed. She has dutifully held on to that photo for decades now. The photo is a 3”X5” and is taped on to a “Frodsham Foto Finishing” envelope. The company once had shops in the Rogue Valley and beyond.

Inside the envelope are three negatives of the bridge as well. Written on the envelope are these words, “Save for Peyton”. Peyton, of course, is an old family name associated with the Lost Villages and also the name of the current bridge that now spans where approximately the old bridge was. Also, on the back of the photo is a name, Lewis Hornsby and a phone number. I called the number, hope against hope, that it might still be the Hornsby residence. But, sadly it was not.

So, here is the mystery, who took the photo and whom was the photo intended for and why did they never come and pick up from Beth at the marina?

I was able to get the negatives developed in Grants Pass. I am afraid it was a little anti-climatic. The photo technician believes that the black and white negatives were made when someone tried to photograph the original color photo. The three negatives are just three different exposures of the same picture. Evidently this was someone’s effort to make some copies of the original photo for posterity.

But the question remains. Who took the photo and who was the copy intended for and will we ever know?