Stretching 282 feet in three 94 foot spans across the St. Joseph River the Langley Bridge
is the longest of Michigan's few remaining covered bridges, and among the longest in the
country. Located three miles north of Centreville in St. Joseph County, the bridge was
built in the fall of 1887 by Pierce Bodner of nearby Parkville. Bodner utilized the Howe
truss system and best quality white pine for the frame timbers. The bridge's name honors a
pioneer Centreville family.
The Langley Bridge was raised eight feet during
the construction of the Sturgis Dam in 1910. Despite its longevity, the Langley Bridge
still sits unusually low to the water for a river crossing. The concrete caps on the
original masonry abutments and piers served for forty years, but scouring action made them
suspect and in 1950-51 extensive repairs were carried out by the St. Joseph County Road
Commission. During an inspection of the repairs, Superintendent of Roads Paul Pashby fell
from the bridge into 28 feet of water. He was fortunately able to latch onto a dangling
rope, and was pulled to safety.
While impressive in its great length, the Langley Bridge would have been dwarfed by the "Grand Rapids Giants" of the mid-1800s. The eight spans of the ornately decorated Leonard Street Bridge once majestically stretched across the Grand River at a length of 832 feet. Three times longer than the Langley Bridge, it was the longest covered bridge ever built in the state of Michigan.