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INSIDE THIS ISSUE:
Richard Donovan Gorham Bridge Moved Back Over Otter Coverd Bridge Presentation In Lunenburg, Vt
Where's Fowler, Vermont? Buskirk and Salisbury Center Bridge Repair Progress Cambridge Jct Bridge Open
Canyon Bridge Rehab Jay Bridge Restoration Progress Union Village Covered Bridge Rehab Revisited
Covered Bridge Community News Notes Membership Column President's Column
The VCBS Fifth Annual All-member Meeting will be held Saturday, October 30 in Marshfield, Vermont, hosted by the Marshfield Historical Society, and open to the public as well as the membership.
Nathan Phillips, PE, will speak about the restoration of Marshfield's Martin, or Orton Farm covered bridge. John Weaver will speak about Bridge-watch.
The meeting agenda with directions to the meeting place, ballots for the annual election of officers, dining arrangements, and a list of motel accommodations will be mailed and emailed to the membership shortly.
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The Martin Bridge is the only covered bridge remaining in Marshfield and is the only original covered "farm" bridge left in Vermont. A "farm" bridge was a bridge built solely for agricultural use. The Martin Bridge and surrounding land was acquired by the Town of Marshfield in November, 2003.
Despite it's sporadic maintenance, overall the bridge is in good condition for it's 114 years. However, due to extensive rotting at the ends of the bottom chords and shifting of the abutments, the bridge had tilted significantly and was in danger of complete collapse.
In order to ensure it's continued existence, on May 18, 2004, the Martin Bridge was lifted off it's abutments and placed on temporary concrete supports in an adjacent field. With the bridge out of immediate peril, local volunteers have shifted their attention to designing the necessary repairs and fundraising. Although much of the restoration work will be done by local volunteers, we still need to raise approximately $50,000 for the portion of the work to be contracted.
Donations to help restore this agricultural landmark may be sent to:
Martin Bridge Restoration Project
c/o Town of Marshfield
122 School Street
Marshfield, VT 05658
For additional information, please call Nathan Phillips at (802) 454-1349
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News arrived that Dick was released from the hospital and went home August 9, 2004. Looks like Nurse Jeanette will be kept pretty busy for quite awhile.
Dick Wilson is President of the New York State Covered Bridge Society and a member of the Vermont Covered Bridge Society, serving on the Board of Directors.
[This item is based on Member News, NYSCBS Newsletter, Sept., 2004 and various emails -- Ed.]
Dick Roy was taken to the hospital during the night Monday, August 9. He had a seizure that awakened June. She called 911 and at the hospital they admitted him for observation and to run some neurological tests. He was in good spirits and doesn't remember the seizure, just waking up in the hospital.
Says Dick in an email dated August 12: "Had a seizure Monday evening. Spent three days in the hospital. Returned from the Hospital today. Will have to cooperate for several months, Not suppose to drive car for six months. Other than that everything is going OK. Am recuperating at a slow pace. Glad to hear that Dick Wilson is doing well. His was a quadruple bypass."
We all wish him well and hope to see him back in harness doing for the covered bridge community what he does so well.
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Richard was a U.S. Army veteran serving from 1945 to 1946 and a U.S. Coast Guard veteran serving for over four years. He was a communicant of Sacred Heart of Jesus in Lewisburg, PA and the Holy Family Parish in Wayland, NY. For several years, he was a rural mail carrier.
He was a member of the Theodore Burr Covered Burr Society of PA as well as many other covered bridge organizations. He was the Editor of the 1980 World Guide to Covered Bridges.
He is survived by two sisters, Kay (DeMerle) Hoag of Dansville, and Ruth (Arthur) Croston of Mount Morris; a brother, Robert (Michele) Donovan also of Mount Morris and many nieces and nephews.
Calling hours were held at the Hindle Funeral Home in Dansville, NY. A mass of Christian burial was celebrated at St. Maryís Church in Dansville. Interment will be in St. Patrickís Cemetery in Mount Morris. Contributions in his memory may be made to Vincent House, 310 Second Ave., Wayland, NY 14572
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by Dick Wilson
Pittsford-Proctor, June 20, 2004 - The Gorham bridge has been moved back over the river. It was done either Thursday or Friday June 17th or 18th. I was up to the bridge yesterday, the 19th, and found it like this with no one around to talk to. The big cranes and heavy equipment was still at the site. The roof has to be put on, and roadway built. Otherwise, it looks great.
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The Lunenburg Historical Society of Lunenburg, VT is pleased to announce a presentation on covered bridges by Mr. Kenneth Olson on Saturday, September 18, 2004.
The program will be a slide presentation and highlight the Mt Orne Covered Bridge which spans the Connecticut River between Lunenburg, VT and Lancaster, NH, along with scenic views of other bridges in the area. We will hear an explanation of the historical and cultural value of covered bridges, along with information about efforts to preserve and maintain these treasures. Mr. Olson was head of the NH Department of Transportation Bridge Maintenance Bureau when the Mt Orne Covered Bridge was rehabilitated and the floor replaced back in 1983.
Postcards and photographs of other New England bridges, including those that are no longer standing, will be available for viewing before and after the program.
Mr. Olson is one of New England's foremost covered bridge authorities. He is one of those fortunate people who is able to enjoy his profession and, following retirement, continues to pursue his interest in covered bridges as a hobby. After receiving his Civil Engineering degree from New England College, he worked for 15 years for the state of New Hampshire Public Works and Highways Department, Construction Division participating in many major highway and bridge projects, including interstates 89 and 93. In 1973, he accepted a posting in the Bureau of Bridge Maintenance which would last 17 years and culminate with his selection to serve as Bridge Maintenance Engineer.
Mr. Olson is an active member of the National Society for the Preservation of Covered Bridges. He has done private consulting work for many NH towns seeking to preserve their town- owned covered bridges. He lives in Penacook, NH with his wife Joye.
The presentation will take place at 1:00 pm at the Gilman School located in Gilman, VT. Gilman is a village of Lunenburg. The Lunenburg Historical Society is currently raising funds to restore the old Town Hall. This presentation is open to the public at no charge. Donations will be accepted and applied to the restoration fund.
Lunenburg is located in the beautiful Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. Come to hear the presentation and stay for the weekend! Tour the Mt Orne covered bridge as well as many others in the area. The fall foliage begins early in northern New England and is always spectacular.
Registration is not required, however it is recommended. Seats will be limited. For more information, directions, and to register, please call Mr. Charley Tatro of the Lunenburg Historical Society at 802-892-6687 by September 4, 2004.
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by Charlie Elflein
Besides old cards where the covered bridge cannot be identified by location, there are those which occupy only a small portion of the scene. Without a magnifying glass or keen eye, the casual observer would not even see the former span on the card. Maybe only the roof or small portion of the siding is visible, but it's there.
While glancing at my Vermont cards recently, I came across one which falls into the two categories above--not sure of its location, and the covered bridge is barely visible on the post card. I thought this rare view was worth sharing with the VCBS membership, and hopefully, someone will be able to identify where this spot is.
This is a very old photo card, probably taken around the turn of the century. The photographer stood on the railroad tracks and captured a close view of the iron truss bridge. The year "1900" is inscribed on the top, and number 219 is on the right side of the structure. Just below is the caption, "R.R. Bridge, Fowler, VT." Looking up the river, there's a covered bridge just barely visible amongst the summer greenery. While I cannot make out the truss type, it's beautifully reflected in the placid water below.
I have searched my maps and atlas but cannot find where Fowler, Vermont is. Many train stops and crossroads had their own unique names in days-gone-by, but like everything, time marches on and places change over the years.
Taking a wild guess, this looks like either the Lamoille or Missisquoi river. In fact, the area greatly resembles the village of Wolcott in Lamoille County. My atlas shows a railroad crossing just south of Wolcott, and there were bridges over the Lamoille both north and south of the iron truss structure. Of course, I have no proof that this is the correct location.
While it's difficult seeing the former covered span on the post card, I am sure Joe Nelson will put this on the VCBS website for all bridgers to view. Then, we should be able to answer the question, "Where's Fowler, Vermont?" Return to Top
By Dick Wilson
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by Joe Nelson
The ceremony to celebrate the completion of the rehabilitation of the Junction Bridge, also known as the Poland Bridge, was opened by town resident William McKone, active in town affairs and member of the Cambridge Historical Society.
A team of horses pulling a carriage loaded with celebrants was first to cross the bridge, preceded by a color guard of local two Scouts. The horses were followed by two antique cars and a motor cycle, all spaced out so that only one vehicle loaded the bridge at a time.
Kicking off the ceremony, McKone said: "The Cambridge Junction Covered Bridge has been rehabilitated and it's a beautiful job . . . its's been out of service for some ten years, now we have restored it and we hope it will be preserved for the future, its always the question of respecting the bridge and reading the signs . . . so there isn't any damage to the bridge in the future. I hope every body will enjoy it."
McKone went on to describe plans for the environs of the bridge. The town's green way is adjacent to the portal of the bridge, following the old railroad right-of-way. "The green way is intersecting with the bridge and it's going to be extended so there will be quite a recreation complex . . ." McKone said. "our intention is to use the sidings from the old Cambridge Junction railroad station to create a park, which we hope to name for Senator Jeffords who got us the money to restore this bridge as part of his national historic covered bridge preservation bill of some years ago.
"The state was kind enough to put together a sign for us commemorating this [bridge] and giving some information. I'm going to ask Stub Wells, who has been a long time resident to unveil the sign and say a few words about the bridge." In the gathering of about 100 people were Senator Bartlett and Representative Rich Westman of the Vermont Legislature, town selectmen Dana Sweet, Frank Hutchins and Brad Blaisdell, and VTrans site engineer for the bridge William Flanders.
Said Kate Westberg: "The last time I was here, this isn't what the bridge looked like, so it's beautiful to finally see [it in this condition]. Stub Wells invited me, a stranger into his home and shared his knowledge and stories and history with me. This is one of the last copies [of the booklet] and I am giving it to you for keeping the Cambridge Junction [history alive]."
Stub received the booklet with thanks. The historic site sign was unveiled with some difficulty, as the masking blanket had been secured with duct tape against the breezes. Said Stub Wells, "Bill has asked me to say a few words here, but I'm going to go back quite a ways, I'm going to turn the pages back on the old calendar eighty-five years. That is when I was brought up in Belvidere . . ." Belvidere and Waterville are situated along the North Branch of the Lamoille River and because of this, travelers didn't have to go far before crossing a bridge. When stub passed through an "arch" bridge he would wonder "What is that round thing along the side of the bridge?"
Stub was told, "Well, that is half of a wheel that holds up the bridge." "I asked why isn't it underneath to hold up the bridge [and only] on top? He never explained to me why."
Stub described his travel through the bridges: "Then we came down to Belvidere Junction. We lived right at the end of the covered bridge and there, when the horses went through there, you could hear clippity-clop, clippity-clop, and I heard the same sound today with these horses. It was a wonderful feeling.
"Then you come down to Waterville and you entered another covered bridge. From Waterville then you came to the Town of Cambridge [and] the Marsh, what was called the George Marsh Bridge, I have traveled through many of these, many, many times.
"From the Marsh bridge we always came to Junction Bridge, better known as the Poland Bridge. Lots of times we had to stop when we came out here because back in those days they had three passenger trains that came up from Burlington. They had freight trains, they had milk trains. Then you had your trains from St. Johnsbury and Swanton. It was just fun to set here and watch these trains.
In 1885 Mr. Poland was retired from Washington as the congressman and then he owned land in Waterville and Belvidere, he owned the piece of land on the right as you cross the bridge. The selectmen of Belvidere and Waterville hired him, he was a lawyer, and he sued the Town of Cambridge and won the suite. But the Town of Cambridge didn't build the bridge until 1887. "But Mr. Poland never lived to see this built, because he died right here of a heart attack in this little field.
"And then there were the years I started working for the McGovern store and I delivered feed to all the farmers up through here and I crossed this bridge about four or five times in a week. I always liked to see the design of them. "I don't think there's anything else I can tell you about these bridges, but I always loved them in the olden days when I first started courting the girls."
Mr. Wells agreed, yes, he may have very well have started the tradition that covered bridges are kissing bridges. Return to Top
by Joe Nelson
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[Jim Ligon is construction foreman for Alpine Construction of Stillwater, N.Y. He and his team have recently completed work on the Poland Covered Bridge in Cambridge, Vermont. The Jay Covered Bridge is located in Essex County, N.Y. The 175-foot bridge was built in 1857 using the Howe Truss to cross the Ausable River near Jay , N.Y. - Ed.]
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For additional photos showing the progress on the Union Village go to the Vermont Covered Bridge Society website: http://www.vermont bridges.com/unionv charkes.htm
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Baker Brook, New Brunswick, Aug. 25 - A new $1.6 million bridge to replace the Baker Brook River covered bridge on Joseph Morneault Road, near Baker Brook will be opened to traffic by the end of October of this year, Transportation Minister Paul Robichaud announced today.
"The new structure will be wider than the current bridge while allowing for increased safety and capacity," Robichaud said. "It will also help the wood-trucking industry get their loads quicker to the local mills."
The existing covered bridge has been relocated downstream and will be kept as a tourist attraction. It made way for the new, single-pane, prestressed concrete beam bridge. Media Contact: Alain Bryar, communications, Transportation, 506-453-5634. [This article submitted by Gerald Arbour - Ed.]
by Ben and June Evans September 1, 2004 - Last evening, about 8:15, we received a phone call from one of our local bridging friends who told us he had just received a call telling him that "some kids had set fire to Knecht's Covered Bridge." Knecht's Bridge is just outside of the village of Pleasant Valley in Bucks County, PA. Since we live just over the county line in Lehigh, we drove over to the bridge immediately to see how extensive the damage was. Fortunately, we saw the bridge standing completely intact, but since it was quite dark, we could not see the extent of the damage.
We returned this morning and were able to see that one of the secondary bottom chords had been burned completely through, another chord had been burned about one- third, and the two adjacent diagonals of the Town truss have been partially charred. Obviously, the bridge has been closed.
A local maintenance person told us that he thinks the fire had been started sometime yesterday morning. There are smoke detectors in the bridge and may have been the reason it was discovered quickly. We have no further details, but will report on the incident more fully in the fall issue of Pennsylvania Crossings.
Salisbury, NY, August 19, 2004 - The restoration work on the Salisbury Bridge was recently completed with an infusion of $153,000 in federal funds.
The fifty-foot bridge, built in 1875 by Alvah Hopson, crosses Spruce Creek using a multiple kingpost truss with Burr Arch.
The bridge roadway has been replaced as well as parts of the truss. The roof system has been renewed with new steel sheathing.
[From an article from the Evening Times, Little Falls, NY, clipping sent by Patricia Kane. Thank you - Ed.]
Bucks County, PA, Aug. 19, 2004 - Bucks County authorities have arrested six college men as a result of tips inspired by a $5000 reward. For the full story See: http://www.phillyburbs.com/pb- dyn/news/111-08192004-350932.html
A Rally of support to Rebuild Mood's Covered Bridge will be held September 11, 2004 from 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM at the park by the Mood's Covered Bridge site on Blooming Glen Road, East Rockhill PA.
Please spread the word to others that support the rebuilding of Mood's Covered Bridge.
In order to insure the covered bridge is rebuilt the township of East Rockhill or Bucks County must take possession of the bridge. If they do not do so a referendum may be added to the fall ballot. This decision will be made at the September 14th township meeting. The fate of Mood's Covered Bridge will be decided by September 14, 2004.
Hi Everyone, Some good news this time ! I just learned today that the Ryot Covered Bridge in Bedford County, Pa will be dedicated on Tuesday, August 24th at 1:00 pm. It was just two years ago that the bridge was destroyed by arson. Last week on my way home from our Theo Burr Meeting, I stopped at the bridge and saw that it was coming along nicely. At that time most of the siding was on and work was progressing on the interior. I imagine it will be painted soon as well. I telephoned the County Commissioners Office and was told the time and date by Dick Rice, one of the Commissioners. The dedication will take place at the bridge - of course!
Tom Walczak, 8/10/04
Enfield, NH, Aug. 10, 2004 - The New Hampshire Department of Transportation held a public hearing at the Shaker Inn today to discuss the replacement of the replica Shaker Bridge. See the Valley News Article written prior to the meeting: http://www.vnews.com/08092004/1905216.htm
Lyndon, July 29, 2004 - The Lyndon Selectboard has decided to repair Randall Bridge abutments with sheet piling. Both abutments of the bridge were damaged by the 2002 summer flood. Two methods of repair were recommended by engineering consultants Infrastructures Inc.: To install "sheet piling" around the abutments; or to line the abutments and the river channel under the bridge with stone. The cost of the sheet piling method is estimated to be $236,000, the stone lining, $139,000. The work will be funded in part by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Town of Lyndon to ante 10 percent of the cost.
The sixty-six-foot Randall Bridge, also known as the Burrington Road Bridge, was built in 1865 using the queen post truss to cross the East Branch of the Passumpsic River. The bridge serves only pedestrians, cycles, and snowmobiles.
[Thanks to Kathy Ramsey, chair of the Northeast Kingdom Chapter of the Vermont Covered Bridge Society for contributing this news item - Ed.]
June 22, 2004 - I just received a telephone call from a reporter from the Philadelphia Inquirer telling me the sad news of the loss due to fire of Mood's Bridge, PA-09-07, in Bucks County this morning about 3:30 am. She did not have many details but said she heard the bridge was a complete loss. Sad news indeed. I assume it was an arson. I'm sure there will be articles posted on the web in the near future. I don't have any further details at this time either. - Tom Walczak
June 21, 2004 - Leola Pierce, author of Covered Bridges in Virginia has ended her business relationship with Upstream Press. If you want books or information, please contact Leola B. Pierce, 4114 Forresthills Dr., Portsmouth, Virginia 23703, Phone 757-484-4404, Email VaBridgeLady@aol.com
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