INSIDE THIS ISSUE:
Coming up in early May at the Spring Annual Meeting of VCBS will be an update on Sanborn Bridge. This is a very important bridge, as it is about the only remaining 19th century Paddleford truss bridge in the state. (Lords Creek Bridge, also privately owned, is so deteriorated that it may already have collapsed, and Orne Bridge is late 20th century. Also in June will be the Vermont History Expo in Tunbridge. It is important to have a good presence there as it is one of our major opportunities for outreach.
Bill Carroll, President VCBS
Annual Spring Meeting
May 10, 2014
The Spring Meeting will be held at the Nickwackett Fire House (Rutland Historical Society), 96 Center Street, Rutland. The meeting begins at 10am.
After the business meeting, Tim Andrews, a Director of the National Society for the Preservation of Covered Bridges and owner of Barns & Bridges of New England, will present an update on Lyndonville's Sanborn Covered Bridge.
From the north or east, the Fire House is located less than 1/4 mile south of the intersection of routes 7 (Main St.) and 4 (Woodstock Ave.), then 0.1 miles right on Center Street.
From the south and west: Center Street is 2 miles north of the intersection of Routes 4 and 7 south of downtown Rutland at the Diamond Run Mall, then 0.1 miles left on Center Street.
VCBS To Exhibit at Vermont Historical Society Expo 2014, June 21 and 22 to be held at the Fairgrounds in Tunbridge, VT. The theme of the expo is "Artists and Artisans: Vermont's Creative Heritage".
Volunteers will be sought to collect, set up, and sit with our exhibit. Set-up day is Friday, June 20. The exhibit will be open Saturday and Sunday, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Annual Board of Directors Meeting Meeting
The Annual Board of Directors Meeting was warned on February 7, 2014 to begin on February 10, convened by Board Chairman William Carroll in accordance with VCBS Constitution and Bylaws Article 3, Part 2. Also in accordance with Article 3, Part two, the meeting was conducted by email, fax, telephone and surface mail as appropriate. The Target date to end the meeting was set to be February 21.
There were three proposals in the agenda. If a director had a proposal to add to the list or wanted to amend a proposal, it was to be forwarded to the chair by whatever means was convenient. There were no additions or changes requested. The votes were sent Joe Nelson for recording.
The Board of Directors are: Ed Barna, Irene Barna, Secretary, William Carroll, President, Neil H Daniels, Treasurer, Suzanne Daniels, Johnny Esau, Donna Freeland - Advisory Director, William McKone, Joseph Nelson, Vice President, Ray Hitchcock, Richard Roy - Advisory Director, Terry Shaw, John Weaver, and Ellen Everitz
Proposal 1 was the budget for the current year. It passed with 12 votes, 2 members not voting.
Proposal 2 was to move amounts received in the year 2013 by the VCBS in donations and sales into the Save-A-Bridge Fund: $472.00 (member donations) + $53.88 (sales & drawings) = $525.88. It passed with 12 votes, 2 members not voting.
Proposal 3 was to approve or disapprove posting in the covered bridges located in the State of Vermont a gummed label 3" x 3.75" showing the VCBS seal, the society's website address, and a QR code for iPhones to give the viewer historical and physical information about the bridge in which they were standing. It passed with 12 votes, 2 members not voting.
Joe Nelson moved to adjourn, seconded by Neil Daniels. Chairman William Carroll adjourned the meeting on February 18, at 12: 27 pm.
The Vermont Covered Bridge Society has set up a lending library available to all society members-in-good standing through media mail.
Librarian Warren Tripp has created a detailed book list complete with a description and critique of each book. Copies of the index are available by mail, or you may contact Joe Nelson for an electronic copy at email@example.com.
A borrower can contact Warren Tripp who will send the book by Postal Service Media Mail. Books are returned the same way.
Send Warren the complete title of the book(s) you wish to borrow. He will respond with the mailing cost and mail the order when the fee is received. The borrower is then responsible to return the item(s) in a reasonable time, preferably not more than two months.
Contact Warren Tripp, P. O. Box 236, Groton, VT 05046, firstname.lastname@example.org, Phone (802) 584-3545.
Because of the passing of David Wright, President of the National Society for the Preservation of Covered Bridges, William Caswell, Vice President of the NSPCB, has moved into the late president's chair. Bill will continue as editor of the Bridger newsletter until a replacement is found.
Steve Miyamoto, VCBS website editor, has designed and is completing the coding of what he has dubbed the "Branding Project". The code, residing in the VCBS website, www.vermontbridges.com, will respond to a patch placed in each Vermont covered bridge, giving the story and vital statistics of that bridge, the viewer using an iPhone or a laptop.
When the project is ready, our membership will be asked for volunteers to place the patches.
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In the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, situated between two of the state's most beautiful lakes (Willoughby and Memphremagog), lies the Town of Charleston. Settled in 1803, this remote corner of Orleans County was first called "Navy" in honor of Commodore Whipple who was the grantee. He fought in the navy at a battle in Charleston, South Carolina, and in 1825, the town name was changed in his honor.
Charleston once had its share of covered bridges. The late Barbara Brainerd, a well-known writer who contributed many articles to our bridge publications, described Vermont's old spans eloquently. Referring to this area's bridges she stated that, "These structures are of a type which lends itself especially well to pictorial study, small in size and with their graceful masses well proportioned."
Probably the most famous covered spans in town were the Twin Bridges spanning Clyde River in East Charleston. Situated near the village store and post office, these two were constructed with steeply pitched roofs to accommodate the frequent North Country snowstorms.
About 1.5 miles west of East Charleston was the small Haystack Corners Bridge, a low queenpost truss also spanning the Clyde River With its unpainted siding, dirt road, surrounding trees and schoolhouse, this little bridge was typical of the many rural spans in Orleans County.
Continuing westward on Route 105, we pass Pensioner Pond, Lubber Lake, then arrive in West Charleston. Nothing more than a small crossroads today, here we find the site of the former Power Plant Bridge. This covered span was located just a stone's throw east of the main highway on Durgin Road.
This post card identifies it as Clyde River Bridge, but the Charleston Historical Society said the most common name is Power Plant. In this view looking west, Route 105 would be to the left of the picture. This scene truly has "rural Vermont" written all over it. I love the old wooden guard rails leading up the bridge, the weathered vertical siding, shingled roof, granite abutments, tranquil river, winding dirt road, and open pasture in the background. How we bridgers wish more places like this were still around to capture on film!
In this early view, a penstock is visible to the right of the bridge. There is still a dam here, and the penstock goes to the electric plant of Citizens Utilities. In the days of the picture, it went to the mills below. Many years ago, West Charleston had a shingle mill, saw mill, and probably others.
Power Plant Bridge was a four-panel combination queenpost and kingpost truss. Approximately 50 feet in length, it had square portals and unusual siding. The east side was boarded up 2/3rds of the way, whereas the west side only had vertical siding below the horizontal beam of the queenpost. This was done, no doubt, for greater visibility and more light inside the bridge.
The Charleston Historical Society does not have a builder's name or record of when Power Plant Bridge was constructed, but a new span was built at this location in 1926. They assume the covered one was removed or destroyed at the time.
While Orleans County remains one of the most rural regions of Vermont, most of its covered spans have met a fate similar to West Charleston's Power Plant Bridge. Let's hope that the two remaining old structures in Irasburg and Troy will be with us for many more years as a reminder of early bridge building in the region.
Please join me in welcoming a new member to our group: Dell Hoch of Williamsport, MD, a warm welcome to you!
And now, our Early Renewal Drawing. Many thanks to each of you who mailed your membership dues on time. As in years past, Ruth Nelson's first grade reading group at the Jericho Elementary school drew the winners. (The little rascals have fun doing it.)
Here are the prizes for this year's contest: A two year free membership to the VCBS or a signed copy of Spanning Time, Vermont's Covered Bridges by Joe Nelson, or the cost of the book to the VCBS ($30). The winners are:
Howard Rogers of Taylors, SC, and James Crouse of Fort Wayne, IN.
Congratulations and thank you for your membership.
Happy Birthday and Anniversary to:
Josif Bicja, P.E., was selected by a jury of his peers from New Hampshire's engineering societies as the 2014 New Hampshire Young Engineer of the Year. The award was presented Thursday, Feb. 20, at the annual Engineers' Week banquet in Bedford.
Structural Engineers of New Hampshire nominated Bicja based on his record of professional accomplishments, his service to the profession and promoting engineering, his activity in the community and dedication to his family.
Bicja is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire, where he received his bachelor of science in 2003 and master of science in 2006 in civil engineering. He is active in a number of professional associations including the Structural Engineers of New Hampshire, National Society for the Preservation of Covered Bridges and Vermont Covered Bridge Society.
While Bicja has extensive experience with all typical bridge types, he has become a leading technical authority on covered bridges, having provided inspection, design, analysis or construction inspection for 13 covered bridges. He has shared this knowledge with the engineering community and general public through five presentations to date on the subject at local and national conferences.[Editors note: see the complete article written about Josif Bicja at www.seacoastonline.com February 16, 2014 edition
Received from Joe Nelson and others many additional clippings about Sanborn Bridge, as well as clippings of other bridges in the state, including some information about lost bridges in Chester from Ray Hitchcock.
The Sanborn Bridge suffered more damage from bouts of flooding during the winter. Tim Andrews of Barns and Bridges of New England and his crew are actively working on repairing the bridge. This phase of the project will strengthen the bridge so that it can support its own weight until money can be raised for a complete restoration. The crew has been working in the bitterly cold weather to complete this phase of the project by the end of March.
The picture above shows a small section of the lower chord on the upstream side. The exposed treenail shows how badly that timber has been damaged. The steel rod is bolted to stronger sections of the lower chord and provides support for the damaged section. Most of the vertical posts in this area are damaged and will eventually need to be repaired or replaced. New timbers have been added to repair the broken lower chord on the downstream side.
The very cold temperatures have allowed the crew to place cribbing and jacks on the frozen river for additional support while working on repairs. The cribbing is only a temporary measure and must be removed as soon as possible. Ice broken up by spring flood waters could possibly dislodge or destabilize it. If the cribbing were to fail before repairs are completed, the bridge could be lost.
The most severely damaged vertical post has had a section replaced with new wood. Other damaged vertical posts have been supplemented with steel rods to help carry the load until they can be repaired or replaced during a future restoration project.
Broken roof braces have been supplemented with new beams. These interim repairs will be more adequately addressed during a future restoration project.
On January 9th, a crew from Yahoo! visited the bridge and prepared a video about the repair work. The video includes interviews
with bridge owners Arthur and Jeanne Elliot and Tim Andrews. The video was aired on January 29th. At press time, the video was still
available on Yahoo's website:
Several Vermont covered bridge rehabilitation projects are actively under design development at this time. They are located in Guilford, Shrewsbury, and Warren.
One of the projects under design is the rehabilitation of the Brown covered bridge (45-11-09) over the Cold River. This bridge was built in 1880 built by Nichols Powers when he was 63 years old. It was his last covered bridge. The bridge was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on January 21, 1974.
Please try to visit existing bridge sites during the early Spring months ahead. This is a good time to observe and note present covered bridge conditions.
On February 8th, the Rutland Herald reported that Rockingham residents have made a deal with officials to buy the remnants of the Bartonsville Covered Bridge destroyed by Tropical Storm Irene in 2011.
Municipal Manager Willis "Chip" Stearns told the Eagle Times that the town has offered to pay up to $16,000 to the Vermont League of Cities and Towns, the municipality's insurance agent, for use of the materials to build a kiosk from salvageable bridge pieces.
The Bartonsville Covered Bridge was built in 1870. Its foundation washed out and it floated down the Williams River during the Aug. 28, 2011 storm. A new bridge opened in January 2013.
The Maxwell Crossing covered bridge (55-03-04) near St. Stephen, New Brunswick, has undergone a $350,000 restoration. The bridge, built in 1910, was badly damaged in January 2013 when a car slammed through one of its side walls. Due to the cost of repairs, the Department of Transportation had considered demolishing the bridge and replacing it with a modern, less-expensive span. But the department reached an agreement with the vehicle owner's insurance company in early November. The insurance company was to pay $310,000 for damages caused by the accident, and the provincial government added another $40,000 to further strengthen the bridge.
[Report & photos from Patrick Toth, Moores Mills, NB]
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On February 27th, the Brattleboro Reformer reported that the new Bartonsville Covered Bridge has been named the recipient of a merit award from a competition of the American Council of Engineering Companies.
Dale Gozalkowski, the market segment vice president of Clough Harbour & Associates (CHA), which designed the new bridge, sent his fellow employees and local officials an e-mail to inform them of the news:
"Please join me in congratulating [Project Engineer] Phil Pierce for his passion and yeoman's effort leading us through the technical intricacies of this wonderful structure. However, I would be remiss if I didn't recognize what a wonderful experience it was to work with everyone involved with this project in all capacities," he said in the e-mail. "I feel very fortunate to have been surrounded by such first class people in this very difficult time."[Editors note: For the full story follow this link to the February 27th edition of the Brattleboro Reformer:
Bridge Over Troubled Waters - Brattleboro Reformer - February 27, 2014]
While you are in Rutland attending the VCBS meeting on May 10th, be sure to visit a few covered bridges in the area.
A short distance south of Rutland is the Brown Bridge in Shrewsbury which is scheduled for rehabilitation.
Also nearby is the Kingsley Bridge (45-11-03) in Clarendon. The current World Guide listing has this bridge at 121' and built in 1870. It was probably rebuilt at that time. It was previously listed as being built in 1836 at 135'.
In Rutland is the survivor of the twin bridges (45-11-10) that used to cross East Creek. This bridge was built after the East Creek changed course taking out an abutment of the bridge built the previous year. Both bridges were washed off their abutments by the 15 foot wall of water released when the East Pittsford Dam failed on June 4, 1947. The other twin was destroyed at that time. The remaining twin was slightly damaged and relocated alongside East Pittsford Road where it is used as a storage shed by the Town of Rutland.
To the north in Pittsford are the Gorham, Cooley, Depot and Hammond Bridges. The Gorham Bridge (45-11-04) was washed off its abutments in the flood of 1927 but was in good enough condition to be hauled out of the water in 1928 and repaired. Major repairs were made in 1956 and again in 1979. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on February 12, 1974. The bridge was closed to traffic and removed from the creek to be renovated. The renovations were completed in 2004.
The Cooley Bridge (45-11-07) was named for a family, descended from Gideon Cooley, a veteran of the French and Indian Wars, who owned land around it. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on January 24, 1974.
The Depot Bridge (45-11-06) was named for the former Pittsford Railroad Station up the road from the bridge, which, interestingly, was not built until sometime after the bridge was constructed Lateral stabilization is provided by a railroad rail at both portals on the upstream side which were added when the bridge was renovated 1974. The bridge was closed to traffic in June 2005 after an oversized truck became stuck inside causing severe structural and roof damage. Repairs were made to the bridge, including installation of a new slate roof, and it was reopened on December 21, 2005. This is one of four Vermont covered bridges that still has a slate roof. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on January 21, 1974.
The Hammond Bridge (45-11-05) was built by Asa Nourse in 1843, it was lifted off its abutments during the 1927 flood and floated about a mile and a half downstream. Empty oil barrels were used to bouy it up so it could be towed back upstream and reset on higher abutments.
On January 29, 1964, the Times-Argus reported that the railroad covered bridge in East Montpelier was being dismantled and moved to New Hampshire.
The bridge was built in 1904 by the Montpelier and Wells River Railroad, which later became the Barre & Chelsea, and then Montpelier & Barre. It went out of use in 1960 and was sold to Paul B. Dutton who, in turn, sold it to Ed and Murray Clark. The Clark brothers dismantled it, transported it to North Woodstock, NH, and reconstructed it at Clark's Trading Post. The bridge now stands as the only covered railroad bridge still in active service.
This photo of the bridge at its original location is in Dick Roy's collection.
This fifty-six foot long Queenpost truss bridge over Millers Run north of Lyndon Center was the last covered bridge on a State Highway in Vermont. Built in 1878, the bridge saw increased traffic during the 20th century as the road through it was designated Vermont State Highway 122, including an increase of truck traffic. As built, the bridge was one-lane with no provisions for pedestrians.
By the 1980s there was much consideration of the future of the bridge by the Town of Lyndon and the State. By 1986 plans were put forward to reroute the southern terminus of VT 122 away from the bridge and Lyndon Center, and to rehabilitate the bridge and turn it over to the Town. However it was the mid-1990s before the project was completed. The bridge was raised from the abutments and steel girders placed beneath it; the original light truss was strengthened, and a pedestrian walkway was added to the easterly side of the bridge.
The bridge as it is today is very attractive, but it is not really the original 1878 bridge. It is located in a residential/rural area just to the north of Lyndon Center.
Sanborn Bridge has been much in the news lately and at this point its future is not certain. Back about 1867 a new road was built through the Sanborn property connecting Lyndonville to Lyndon Center. This road later became the southeastern end of VT 122. To cross the Passumpsic River a new covered bridge was built, 117 feet long using the Paddleford truss. It is said that the bridge was built by Peter Paddleford.
By 1960 the bridge was no longer adequate, and it was voted to replace it with a modern bridge. Residents of Lyndon, not wishing to lose this landmark, finally after much discussion let the bridge be purchased privately. The owners of Lynburke Motel, a mile north of the bridge site, moved the bridge to the rear of the motel property where is served for over 50 years as a pedestrian and snowmobile bridge over the Passumpsic River.
In 2013 the bridge was found to have broken chords and was declared unsafe and blocked to any use. Late in 2013 some emergency work was done to add temporary supports to prevent collapse into the river. The bridge is still privately owned which basically prohibits it from grants that could be used for repair/restoration. For the time being the bridge is stabilized, but its future is uncertain.[From the Archives and Library of VCBS]
Spanning Time: Vermont's Covered Bridges by Joseph C. Nelson
Spanning Time: Vermont's Covered Bridges features 102 color photographs of Vermont's covered bridges in fifteen chapters, each a guided tour. The tours are complete with maps, commentary on the uniqueness of each bridge, and historic highlights about the towns and villages in which the bridges stand.
An appendix provides: A Summary of Vermont's Covered Bridges, listing information on each; A Covered Bridge Glossary, describing the details of a covered bridge; A Bridge Truss section, explaining how trusses work with drawings of the trusses used in Vermont; The Bridge Builders, providing thumbnail biographies of people who designed and built the bridges; A Covered Bridge Reading List, for bridge and history buffs; A detailed Index. Spanning Time: Vermont's Covered Bridges: 7" x 10", 288 pages. Published by New England Press at P.O. Box 575, Shelburne, VT 05482. Spanning Time is available directly from the author for $39.00, free shipping. (Vermont residents add 6% sales tax)
World Guide to Covered Bridges - 2009 Edition
New York State Covered Bridge Driving Tour Now Available! - Would you like to see all of New York State's Covered Bridges at your leisure in the comfort of your own vehicle? Well now you can! The New York State Covered Bridge Driving Tour is a spiral bound, full color tour which includes turn by turn directions and color photographs of each of New York's authentic and historic covered bridges. Included are the statistics on each bridge and an interesting history of the bridge and the surrounding town, and old postcards of how the bridges looked during an earlier time.
To obtain a copy of the tour, contact:Bob and Trish Kane
167 Williams Rd.
Sherburne, NY 13460
Covered Bridges of New England - DVD
Connecticut and Rhode Island Covered Bridges
To order your signed copy, send $25.00 to:Bill Caswell
535 Second NH Turnpike
Hillsboro, NH 03244.
Vermont Magazine Covered Bridge Notecard Sets
Covered Bridges of Vermont Print - The Covered Bridges of Vermont features 19 photographs of covered bridges taken throughout the state by photographer, and VCBS member, Ray Arsenault. The print is beautifully printed on professional high quality 100lb paper, and measures 18" x 26.5". Order now at: www.coveredbridgesofvermont.com.
It is with deep sadness that we begin the New Year by announcing the sudden and untimely passing of David Warren Wright of Westminster, Vermont, President of the National Society for the Preservation of Covered Bridges. David passed away at his home on December 29th. David had served as the Society's president since the fall of 1989, after two previous years as a member of the board of directors.
As a young man, David studied piano and traveled to Paris, France to advance his skills. At one point, he had the privilege of studying under renowned pianist Nadia Boulanger who taught many of the 20th century's leading composers such as Aaron Copeland and Quincy Jones. He remained in France for nearly two decades until returning home to care for an ill parent.
Prior to joining the board, David had established a reputation as an outspoken proponent of covered bridge preservation using only traditional methods and materials. As chairman of the Committee for an Authentic Restoration of the Cornish-Windsor Covered Bridge connecting New Hampshire and Vermont, he had worked closely with the late Milton Graton to develop a method of strengthening that internationally significant Connecticut River span to meet required traffic loading.
The committee's plan, detailed in a published proposal of 1984, called for sistering the lower portions of the timber lattice trusses of the bridge and adding nail-laminated wooden arches outside the trusses. David was deeply aggrieved when the New Hampshire and Vermont departments of transportation chose instead to rehabilitate the bridge in 1988 by replacing the lower chords, the central sections of the upper chords, and the floor beams with glued-laminated timber. David thereafter often used his "President's Message" in the Society's newsletter to argue at length for traditional approaches to covered bridge rehabilitation."
David was gratified by the growth of the Society's Eastman-Thomas-Merritt Fund during his term of office. He urged the Society to use its financial resources to participate actively in covered bridge projects.
He was proud of the Society's partnership with the National Park Service and Case Western Reserve University in rehabilitating a rare Howe pony truss railroad bridge from Gorham, New Hampshire, damaged by arson in 2004. The bridge was removed, rehabilitated, and reassembled in Ohio in 2010 for structural testing and classroom instruction by engineering professor Dario Gasparini.
Under David's leadership, the Society provided emergency shoring for the imperiled Sanborn Bridge, a Paddleford truss span in Lyndonville, Vermont, previously relocated and stabilized by Milton Graton in 1959. The future of the Sanborn Bridge remained unresolved at David's unexpected death.
David Wright was 73 years old. There was no public funeral. A memorial service will be held in the Spring.