“WELCOME” SIGN ON COVERED BRIDGE
The Covered Bridge was the first structure built in the City of Coral Springs. It was designed by George Hodapp and constructed in early 1964 by Lewie Mullins, and George Porter, all Coral Ridge Properties employees. The 40-foot bridge has a single steel span that crosses N.W. 95th Avenue just south of Wiles Road. Its roof is composed of 25 truss rafters, cross braces and stringers and is covered with shingles. Originally painted barn red, James S. Hunt, president of Coral Ridge Properties, wanted to convey a sense of the Old South on the otherwise barren landscape. His vision for Coral Springs was of a totally planned City in the Country with brick colonial-style public buildings, boulevards planted with flowers and the Covered Bridge as its centerpiece.
SWEET AS A PEACH MURAL
Hunt contacted the American Snuff Company in Winston-Salem, NC for chewing tobacco designs to make the bridge appear more seasoned. They supplied two designs plus an artist to paint the murals. The Bull of the Woods logo on the east side of the bridge was first used in 1876. The Peach Snuff logo on the west side was created in 1950 to appeal to the ladies. When the eye wall of Hurricane Cleo passed over Coral Springs in August of 1984, the bridge was left undamaged.
It played a starring role the following March when 10,000 people drove through the bridge to attend the “Largest Land-Rush Discount Land Sale and Barbecue” in then desolate Coral Springs. Johnny Carson was the Master of Ceremonies and 1,100 lots were sold for $5 million, including the 54.6 acres he bought (and later sold) along Royal Palm Boulevard. Three tons of barbecue were consumed.
“HURRY BACK TO CORAL SPRINGS”
Over the years, the bridge and murals have been restored but are difficult to see as trees have grown along the sides of the road and canal. This leads many people to suspect that the “Bridge Clearance” signs on Wiles Road are misplaced. But they mark the location of the only covered bridge in the state of Florida in the public right-of-way.
Now the Bridge has the distinction of a Florida Heritage Site Marker in recognition of its architecture and historical significance to the state. Stop by and see where the history of Coral Springs began.