Lake of the Woods Covered Bridge

Lake of the Woods Covered Bridge

Its Designer, Dr. German Gurfinkel

10/28/2021 | Mark Hanson, Curator

The iconic Lake of the Woods covered bridge has endured the Sangamon River, as well as a steady stream of traffic, for the last 56 years. The bridge continues to stand strong, even after the flooding this week.

Have you ever wondered who designed the bridge’s beauty and durability?

We recently had the honor of conducting an oral history interview with Dr. German Gurfinkel. In 1963, H.I. Galvin chose Gurfinkel to design a covered bridge at Lake of the Woods. Gurfinkel began his engineering career in Cuba where he was born. An alumnus and professor emeritus at the University of Illinois, he continues to teach engineering. Gurfinkel’s prolific career includes designing structures around the world, consulting, and tireless love for teaching.

Dr. Gurfinkel’s covered bridge design is unique. Built and dedicated in 1965, it has more in common with concrete construction than wood, and successfully tackles multiple engineering challenges and design requirements. Gurfinkel’s design stands the test of time, traffic, and the Sangamon River, as it will for generations to come.