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Notes from VANPO’s Non Profit Visibility Day at the
By Terry Shaw
Joe Nelson and I attended our second VANPO Non
Profit Visibility Day at the Vermont Statehouse
on February 23rd. We arrived at 8:00 AM and shared coffee and pastries with several legislators
and other VANPO members. At 9:00 AM
we joined others and Governor Jim Douglas to recognize winners of the 2004 Vermont
Centennial Nonprofit Awards.
After the Governor’s briefing we attended a meeting
hosted by Rep Floyd Nease, Assistant Majority
Leader and Senator John Cambell, Senate Majority Leader. The two legislators spent the better
part of an hour discussing issues affecting
nonprofit organizations from both the federal standpoint as well as the state. Much of their
discussion focused on the lack of money
forthcoming from both Washington as well as Montpelier to help support nonprofit activities.
At 11:15 we attended a caucus of the Vermont Arts
Council. There we discussed the effort to increase
the Art’s funding cap from $50,000 to $200,000. VCBS inclusion in the caucus was a result of
our position as a group that helps define the
Vermont Quality of Life (as do all the visual and performing arts). And according to Alex Aldrich,
VAC director, this would include any
activity or organization, which assists in Historic Preservation of our state treasures. It should
also be noted that Andrea Stander,
Communications Director for VAC, was helpful to Joe and I by suggesting that VCBS may use
VAC as a resource to help educate the general
population of the VCBS mission.
We had previously made arrangements to take
Representative, Richard Westman, chairman of the House
Transportation Committee, to lunch. This we did and we talked about where we were regarding
the three primary initiatives we have been
working on with the Secretary of Transportation, Dawn Terrill: 1) Changes in penalties involving
damage to structures on the National
Historic Register, 2) Our position on Historic Covered Bridge Preservation Plan for towns and 3)
The installation of signs directing
interested travelers to our covered bridges. We provided Representative Westman with all the
correspondence that we had received back
from the Secretary along with some thoughts on how to approach each initiative. We expect to
get together with Representative Westman
prior to our May meeting to get a final read on an approach our proposals.
After lunch, Joe and I spent some time observing a
general session of the Legislature where the budget
and budget amendments were being discussed. At 2:30 we attended a meeting of the
Transportation Committee where they too were discussing budget issues.
As follow up to our day in Montpelier, we will be in
touch with the Vermont Arts Council folks to see where they
may be of help as a resource. And we also will be in touch with Representative Westman for his
suggestions on our three initiatives.
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Waterbury's Winooski Street Bridge|
Known today as "Vermont's Recreational Crossroads,"
Waterbury provides fast access to an unlimited variety of
diversions during all seasons of the year. It was in this part of Vermont that American skiing
started at nearby Stowe in the 1930s. Today, within
a fifteen-mile radius of Waterbury are four major ski areas, plus great hiking, mountain biking,
swimming, canoeing, and fishing.
|Winooski St. Bridge Waterbury,
Far more than just outdoor pursuits, this little
community possesses an interesting history, as well. Back in 1763,
King George III of England granted a charter through Governor Benning Wentworth of New
Hampshire for land in the Winooski River Valley. The subjects,
mostly from Waterbury, Connecticut, received the charter and named the new township after their
hometown. Then in 1783, James Marsh became the first
Waterbury's early industries included lumber, baskets,
children's carriages, leather products, scythe handles, and
agriculture. With the winding Winooski River flowing through town, bridges had to be
constructed to get these locally-made goods to market, plus people
needed safe transportation to travel from point A to point B. That's where the covered bridges
Just west of Waterbury village was the Winooski
Street Bridge. Unfortunately, very little seems to be known about
the history of this former covered span. According to the Waterbury Historical Society, it was
located near a creamery and provided access to Duxbury
across the river. Like so many other Vermont bridges, it was destroyed on November 3, 1927 in
the flood that created havoc throughout the Green Mountain
The real photo card shown here gives us a good
glimpse of the bridge. This was taken from the Duxbury side looking
north into Waterbury, with the Worcester Range in the background. The Winooski Street Bridge
was a single span Howe truss, with large diagonal portals
and vertical siding. You'll also note that there's a large advertising sign pasted onto the bridge's
weatherboarding. What better place to catch the
attention of the person entering by buggy, auto, bicycle, or on foot? Since the river is quite wide
at this location, the bridge must have been impressive
to cross or observe from a nearby vantage point.
So, the next time you're in Waterbury, turn south in
the center of town on Winooski Street and check out the location
of this former covered bridge. It's only a short jaunt south of today's Route 2 and provides access
to Duxbury's River Road. This unpaved route meanders
along the south bank of the Winooski in true Vermont fashion. It's just the type of road we
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VCBS 6th Annual Spring Meeting - May 7,
The Sixth Annual Spring Meeting will be held at the
Grange Hall in York Street, Lyndon, Vermont. There will be a
short business meeting beginning at 10 a.m. followed by a presentation by our speaker William
Caswell, Jr. about Long Gone Bridges. Dinner will be
served at 12:30. After dinner, attendees are invited to tour the area's covered bridges on
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Covered Bridge Weekend in Virginia |
Bridge Society of Virginia and Patrick
County Board of Supervisors
The first "Covered Bridge Weekend in Virginia" event
is to promote and preserve our historic timber covered bridges
and to promote tourism in Patrick County and the Commonwealth. We also want to educate our
children and adults as to the historic part these timber
structures played in the history of our country. Also to a start chapter and promote membership in
the Covered Bridge Society of Virginia.
Dates and times of event: Sat. 06/18/05 to
Sun. 06/19/05, 9 a.m. till 5 p.m.
Where? Bob White Bridge on Rte. #618 and
Jack's Creek Bridge on Rte. #615.
Contact: Leola Pierce, Phone:
[Interested readers may contact the Covered Bridge Society of Virginia through email address
The CBSV web site is
http://hometown.aol.com/vabridgelady/myhomepage/index.html - Ed.]
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Covered Bridge Community News
More Money For Buskirk Bridge
Cambridge, NY February 24, 2005 - The Washington County Board of Supervisors
voted to amend the contract for ongoing repairs to the Buskirk Covered
Bridge adding $102,000. The increase was said to be due to construction delays and additional
inspections. To date the cost of the reconstruction of
the historic bridge spanning the Hoosic River is $2.5 million, nearly twice the original estimate of
Area residents are reported frustrated with the costs
and delays. The bridge has been closed for two-and-a-half
years and is not expected to open until late May, 2005. The delays were caused by efforts to
preserve the bridge rather than replace it with a modern
span. Also, instead of a projected carrying capacity of 17 tons, the renewed bridge will be limited
to 7 tons despite the replacement of 90 percent
of the bridge's original fabric with new material.
The bridge repairs were funded by federal and state
grants meant to repair all three of the Washington County
covered bridges, the Rexleigh, Eagleville, and the Buskirk. However the funds were exhausted on
the Buskirk Bridge, it being most in need of work
[Our thanks to Dick Wilson for forwarding the clipping from the Feb. 24 edition of The Eagle on
which, in part, this report is based -Ed.]
Groton Street Bridge Reconstruction Slate
Pepperell, Ma., February 25, 2005 - Quotes writer Paul MacDonald in his Pepperell
Press article: "Construction is expected to be completed
within 18 months of commencement," was the word from Mass Highway project manager
Michael O'Dowd as the length of time required to replace the covered
bridge over the Nashua River on Groton Street." The cost of the reconstruction is estimated to be
Writes MacDonald: "O'Dowd was speaking at the
Design Public Hearing for the bridge replacement project held
Feb. 17 at Town Hall. With the design anticipated to be completed by this fall and bids going out
shortly thereafter, construction could begin in
March 2006 with completion in the fall of 2007."
Popularly known as the Groton Street Bridge, the
108-foot Chester H. Waterous Bridge [WGN 21-09-01#2] was built
in 1963 using a Pratt Truss variation. It replaced two earlier bridges, the first built in 1742, the
second, the Nehemiah Jewett Bridge, built in 1818.
For the complete article, go to
[Our thanks to Patricia Kane for forwarding this article - Ed.]
Charlemont Massachusetts Embracing its Covered
Charlemont, Ma. , February 27, 2005 - Writes Trudy Tynan, Associated Press: "Folks
here hold an abiding fondness for the old interlocked timbers -- so much
so that for the second time in a century, they banded together to beat back attempts to replace it
with steel and concrete.
"Only a handful of covered bridges remain in
Massachusetts. But after generations of trying to replace them, state
engineers are now pondering ways to save the most threatened of the state's historic
"The standoff in Charlemont – the state owns the
bridge, but the town controls the river crossing -- lasted for 14
years before state engineers agreed this winter that it could be repaired using wood and a few
steel strengthening bars.
"Although it is one of the state's newest -- built in
1950 after a brisk round of skirmishing between earlier
residents and state engineers to replace an 1880 homemade covered bridge -- the unique design of
the Bissell Bridge's truss work has earned it a place
on the National Register of Historic Places."
The 92-foot Bissell Bridge [WGN 21-06-04#2]
crosses Mill Brook using a Long Truss variation. The bridge is found on
Rte. MA8A north of the junction with Rte. MA2
For the complete article, go to
For more information on the covered bridges of
Massachusettes, go to http://www.masscoveredbridges.com.
[Our thanks to Patricia Kane for forwarding this article
Town Ratifies Bucks County Plan For Mood's
East Rockhill, Pa., Jan. 26, 2005 - The Township Supervisors at their Jan. 18
ratified an agreement with Bucks County for the Town to
take over Mood's Covered Bridge, allowing PennDot to rebuild. The state-owned wooden bridge
was destroyed by arson June 22, 2004.
Last fall, county and township officials met and agreed
the covered bridge should be rebuilt because of its
historic significance in Bucks County. PennDOT said it would only replace the span as a covered
bridge if another entity would take it over.
The State will replace the covered bridge then transfer
it to the county. The county will assume all major
maintenance and repair while the township will handle regular upkeep. The town will form a
nonprofit corporation for fund-raising to defray cost
of maintenance and an annual insurance premium.
The design and engineering phase will take about a
year in preparation before the work is put out for bids.
The construction work is expected to take six months. The cost is estimated to be not less than
The burned Mood's Bridge, [WGN 39-09-07] was
built in 1873 using the Town Truss to cross the East Branch of
Perkiomen Creek. It was 126 feet long in a single span.
[Our thanks to Doris Taylor for sharing the News-Herald clipping upon which, in
part, this report is based - Ed.]
Former Beauséjour Bridge(61-58-01) Moved
February 13, 2005 - Hi; The former Beauséjour Bridge (61-58-01) has been moved to
Amqui. Located in a park, crossing the Matapedia River,
the bridge is now opened for foot traffic (14/02/05).
|Beauséjour Bridge [61-58-01]|
Photo by André
Boulianne, Sept. 2, 2005
I have not visited the bridge yet, but I saw the bridge
before it was moved. The structure was cut with
a chainsaw at two points, not dismantled.
Have a nice day.
Canyon Bridge Damaged
Jeffersonville, February 5, 2005 - Dear Joe,
|Canyon Bridge Damaged [WGN45-08-01]|
by John Borthwick Feb 5, 2005
Don't know if you would want this but I visited the
Canyon bridge today and noted damage to the NE end. Appears
that a truck might have caught the corner. Photo is attached.
Dear John; Thank you very much for the photo and
report. I passed it on to the Vermont Covered Bridge Society
Bridge-watch folk. When anyone sees damage done to a covered bridge they should please report
it. The VCBS will contact the authorities. The licence
plate of the perpetrator would be very much appreciated by the Town, the owner of the bridge.
Someone will need to pay for the repairs and it shouldn't
be the town taxpayers. Your report got the response below.
Hi all; Thanks for the info and the photo. I saw the
damage when I was running through the bridge yesterday. I was
distressed because it shows gross negligence and lack of any good judgement on the part of a
truck driver, and because I'm the bridge watch for this
structure, I shall speak with the Cambridge Select Board regarding getting the damage
Covered Bridge Weekend in Virginia Planned
Covered Bridge Weekend in Virginia will be held on
Saturday, June 18, and Sunday, June 19, 2005. It will be held
at the Bob White Covered Bridge and at the Jack's Creek Covered Bridge in Patrick County,
Virginia. On your map it is either Woolwine, Virginia or
Both of these bridges are historic timber covered
bridges. Details to follow.
-Steve Pierce For Leola B. Pierce, Covered Bridge
Society of Virginia
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January 8, 2005
I have read in the newsletter of your agenda to get
roadside signs to direct visitors to Vermont's covered bridges.
In Bennington, such signs have already been put in
place by the Town. They seem to be successful. However, I have also
seen signs by the property owners who live near by stating that their land is not to be used for
parking. It seems the occasional parker has become more
numerous and a nuisance.
Perhaps the legislation Committee could advocate for
parking signs too. We need those neighbors to welcome the
visitors and watch out for our bridges, happily, not begrudgingly.
Similarly, I would suggest that letters to the editor of
the local newspaper, slide shows in schools, talking about
the value of the bridges as historic artifacts, and remarkable technological innovation, as tourist
magnets which bring needed dollars to our communities
(people staying overnight, eating, shopping, etc - you know the rest!) will do as much to protect
the bridges as increasing penalties for damaging
Thank you for your good work making our bridges
more present in the minds of our Vermont legislative and executive
branches. I am sure having a committee that the VAOT can respond to will make a concrete
Jane Griswold Radocchia
A Letter From Switzerland
February 5, 2005
I thought that you would like these pictures of Swiss
covered bridges taken by my friend, Gregor Wenda. He has given
permission for you to publish them on your website, provided you give him credit for the pictures.
I have attached his commentary from two separate messages.
|An historical picture of the Neubrücke by the woods of
Bremgarten near Bern taken in 1913|
The first two scans are an historical picture of the
Neubrücke by the woods of Bremgarten near Bern taken in 1913.
The bridge crossing the river Aare is 91 meters long, 3.4 meters high, over 6 meters wide and said
to have been built in 1466.
If you go to Switzerland, you must not miss the City
of Luzern in the central part of the country. It has two of the
world's most famous wooden covered bridges. The bigger one ("Kappellbrücke") was completely
destroyed in a blaze in 1993 but later rebuilt in the original
The smaller sister ("Spreuerbrücke") is a few hundred
meters down the river and also extremely nice. I visited Luzern
last December (2004) and saw both bridges so I know that you got to go there! Attached are a
few snapshots from my visit.
I also heard about a very nice 400 hundred old Swiss
bridge called "Neubrücke" crossing the river Aare on the way
from Bern to Bremgarten.
[See the rest of the pictures at the VCBS website:
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by Trish Kane, Membership Coordinator|
The wrath of Mother Nature certainly arrived
January and February leaving us with a lot of snow, and no place
to put it! But for those of us who enjoy photographing our snowy covered bridges, it was
paradise. I’m sure this wasn’t the case for those who have to
shovel, snow blow or plow 20-22 inches of snow. But spring is not far away and I certainly look
forward to getting out of the house and doing some bridging.
Please join me in welcoming the following new
members to our Society: Marshfield Historical Society, Marshfield, VT; and
Virginia Brackett, Gardner, MA. A special thanks to Joe and Linda Bills for converting to a life
Membership Renewal Contest
Now, some exciting news…the winners of our
Membership Renewal Contest! Congratulations to the following members whose
names were entered into the contest by paying their renewal membership fee before the December
31, 2004 deadline. And the winners are…Eva & Andy Behrens of Thetford Center,
VT who won an I Love Covered Bridges bag filled with covered
bridge stationery, pins, notecards, an I Love Covered Bridges Bumper sticker as well as some
other neat covered bridge items.
Carleton and Janet Corby of Oriskany, NY won a beautiful hand painted covered
bridge plaque. And, Ben and June Evans of Coopersburg, PA won a one year free
membership to the VCBS. Congratulations to our winners along with a BIG thank
you for renewing their membership before December 31, 2004.
A special thanks to Ruth Nelson for organizing the
drawing. She graciously took the ballots to the school where
she is employed and had three second grade boys from her class do the drawing. Thank you Toby,
Jason and Nathan.
We still have a few members who have not renewed
their memberships and if you are not sure if you are one of them,
check your mailing label. You will find a red dot next to your name on the label.
Often times it might be necessary to convey late
breaking news to our membership. The easiest and least expensive
way to do this is, of course, via email. If you have an email address you would be willing to share
with us, we certainly would appreciate having it
on file for you. Or, if you have recently changed your email address or have a new email address,
please let us know that as well. Email is an effective
way to communicate with our membership and saves the society money on postage. Rest assured,
your email address will not be shared with anyone and will
only be used for official VCBS business. So please, if you don’t mind sharing your email address
with us, send me an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please be sure to put VCBS in the subject line so I don’t delete it thinking it is a virus.
A word of thanks from the nominating
The nominating committee would like to thank each of
you who returned your ballots for our election of officers for
the 2005 term. It makes our jobs so much easier when information is returned to us quickly. To
date, we have received a total of 31 ballots back from our
members. If you haven’t returned your ballot yet, please do so as soon as possible.
Yours in Bridging,
Upcoming Birthdays and Anniversaries:
Hank & Sally Messing
Mary Ann Waller
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Five years ago, The Vermont Covered Bridge Society
had its very first All-Member Meeting in Lyndonville.
Our 6th Annual All-member Meeting will be
held in Lyndon this year. Our hostess, Kathryn Ramsey, Director of the
Lyndonville Bridge-watch, has arranged with the Lyndon Grange for a meeting place and catered
dinner at the Grange Hall in York Street, on Saturday,
May 7, 2005.
The dinner will be chicken and biscuits with vegetable,
coffee or tea, with sheet cake dessert for $8. The Grange Hall
will be open beginning 10 a.m. We will begin, as usual, with a brief business meeting followed by
our featured speaker.
Bill Caswell has agreed to speak to us about
lost bridges. He is part of a group, "Covered Bridges of Yesteryear,"
researching long-gone covered bridges and recording their history. Much of their material comes
from the NSPCB archives and from participating covered
bridge historians among the CB societies. Bill and the group host an excellent website
www.lostbridges.com. His presentation should be of great
interest to all of us.
Look for the dinner registration form and a map of
Lyndon in this newsletter issue.
When we met in September of 2000, Our host was Jim
Fearon, Director of the VCBS Lyndonville Bridge-watch Area.
Jim realized the value of his town's covered bridges
and as a member of the Lyndonville Chamber of Commerce he chaired
a committee to see that the bridges received the maintenance they needed. He recruited volunteers
to do the work, sweeping, painting and clearing brush
and landscaping. His campaign made the town's covered bridges a centerpiece for many of the
town's celebrations and activities, declaring Lyndon to be
the "Covered Bridge Capitol of the Northeast Kingdom." Jim joined the VCBS having already
created a Bridge-watch area in the best sense of the word. Jim
passed on in June, 2003.
The 2004 Annual VCBS Directors meeting adopted
the proposition that the Society establish a fund in which moneys may
be deposited to grow for the purpose of making contributions to groups who are actively
preserving their covered bridge. At that time the membership was
asked to suggest a name for the fund referred to by the working title "Save-a-bridge Fund."
This year, the Annual Directors Meeting voted that the
Save-a bridge Fund be named in honor of the late Director of
the VCBS Northeast Kingdom Chapter: "The Jim Fearon Save-a-bridge Fund".
To kick-start the fund, the oil painting "Cambridge
Junction Covered Bridge," by artist Eric Tobin Eric has donated
the painting to the VCBS to help us promote the preservation of our covered bridges. It is on
exhibit at the Bryan Memorial Gallery in Jeffersonville,
and on www.bryanmemorialgallery.org for sale for $2400.
Eric has authorized the VCBS to sell prints of his
painting. We are offering these prints for sale on our web
page www.vermontbridges.com, at our meetings, and in this issue of the
Bridger. The proceeds of the print sales will go
to "The Jim Fearon Save-a-bridge Fund"
I am looking forward to seeing you all in Lyndon on
I am yours in Bridging
Joe Nelson, President, VCBS
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Joe Nelson, P.O Box 267, Jericho, VT 05465-0267
This file posted March 23, 2005