The Elizabethton Covered Bridge was constructed in 1882 and connects 3rd Street and Hattie Avenue in the Carter County Tennessee town.
The bridge spans 134 feet across the Doe River, a tributary of the Watauga River.
As the county seat, Elizabethton grew throughout the 19th century. However, Lynn Mountain hemmed it in to the east and the Watauga River lay to the north. The Doe River flooded often and limited growth to the south. To span westward, to the site of the current downtown, the city would need a bridge over the Doe River. After extensive debate, in 1882 the Carter County Court approved $3,000 for the bridge and $300 for approaches. The court appointed a committee to select a site for the bridge. However, the committee encountered an unexpected problem — the men could not find a qualified contractor to erect the bridge.
After county officials were unable to find a bridge contractor, a local doctor, E.E. Hunter, accepted the contract and hired experienced people to work on the bridge. Hunter selected Thomas Matson, who had been an engineer for the narrow gauge Tweetsie Railroad as an engineer and architect. Hunter referred to the bridge as his “five dollar bridge” since he made a profit of $5 as contractor.
Although logs from a lumber operation and a barn were thrown against the covered bridge and its supports during a disastrous flood in 1901, this was the only major bridge in the area to survive.
The bridge and immediate area were added to the National Register of Historic Places as the Historic Elizabethton District on March 14, 1973.
Today the bridge is closed to all motor vehicle traffic but pedestrians and bike riders are welcome. In recent months the bridge and neighboring river front park has been a popular Pokestop for Pokemon Go players.