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INSIDE THIS ISSUE:
VCBS 3RD ANNUAL MEETING HELD
Nominations Committee Report Bridge-watch Report On Fire Retardent
251 Club Twigg-Smith Bridge
Covered Bridge Museum
CAR BREAKS THROUGH SAYRES BRIDGE
ST. MICHAEL'S EXPLORES CBS
ARSONIST HITS NEWFIELD CB
RANDALL BRIDGE FEMA FUNDED
TWO CHARGED IN RYOT ARSON
CEDAR BRIDGE ARSONED
GREENBANKS HOLLOW BRIDGE FUNCTIONAL
UNION VILLAGE BRIDGE OPENED TO TRAFFIC
HISTORIC BRANDON SPAN DISMANTLED
CHARLIE ELFLEIN RESEARCHES VT CBs
LETTERS - KNAPP'S BRIDGE NEWS
MEMBERSHIP COMMITTEE COLUMN
THE PERFECT CHRISTMAS GIFT
POSTCARDS FOR SALE
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THE VCBS 3RD ANNUAL MEETING HELD
The Vermont Covered Bridge Society met October 26 at the Grange Hall in North Tunbridge for
its Third Annual Business Meeting. Despite an early snowfall and slippery roads, 23 die-hard
covered bridge enthusiasts attended the meeting.
The meeting was hosted by Euclid Farnham who
made the arrangements for the meeting place and for the scrumptious chicken and biscuit dinner
catered by the North Tunbridge General Store.
|Cilley Bridge at Tunbridge, Vt..(45-09-08)|
by David Guay, 10/26/02
A refreshment table with coffee, cider, crackers and
cheese was open during the meeting. Members brought covered bridge memorabilia and
contributed to a fun drawing run by Marge Converse. Several members brought their prized
covered bridge slides to share following the business meeting.
The meeting was called to order at 10:30 a.m. by
President Joe Nelson. The meeting began with the reports of the standing committees.
Nominations Committee Report Given by John Weaver
The committee sent out letters and e-mail in early
October asking for volunteers to staff the standing committees and to run for the positions of
President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer. There were some responses: Irene Barna
agreed to run again for Secretary. Terry Shaw has agreed to stand for the Legislative Watch
Chair, Bob Cassidy agreed to be Staff Writer for the Bridger newsletter, and Wilfred Thompson
agreed to extend his bridge watch duties into other areas. These were preliminary responses the
committee is hoping for more, "We'd like to get as many candidates as possible for the upcoming
elections, for the major offices and for the committee chairs. Many thanks to Trish Kane for
writing so many letters and for all of her efforts."
Treasurer's Report Given by Ruth Nelson: (This report available for any member in
good standing upon request.)
Membership Committee Report Given by Joe Nelson in the absence of Kathy
As of October 26 we've had 26 new members since
the last report on June 15. New memberships for the year to date is 30.
Fifty personal reminder letters were sent in August to
members in arrears on dues one year or more, and twenty did not respond. The memberships were
Memberships of record for the year to date is 148
versus last years 105. Of these memberships we have 74 Individual, 30 Family, 20 Life
memberships, five Honorary Life memberships, five Business memberships, four Associate
memberships, and 10 Others.
Of all of these memberships, 71 are out-of-state.
Bridge-watch Report Given by Bridge-watch Coordinator John Weaver:
John Weaver developed a nine-item Bridge-watch
check list, available on the website, or as printed copies here for people involved in bridge-watch
activities. The check lists should be filled out a minimum of twice a year. The nine items concern
maintenance and the well-being of the bridges such as removing small trees and shrubs from near
the abutments, the river channels underneath to be kept clear, the road signage in place, the roof
system watertight, excessive snow accumulation being removed, the roadway approaches being
well maintained, the drainage clear, the approach rails in place.
Mr. Weaver reminded meeting attendees that the
upcoming season is Halloween, the time to watch for vandalism, and for the coming season, to
make sure the town is cleaning off the roofs of accumulated snow loads.
Weaver informed the membership that there were
over 40 covered bridge projects in Vermont this year, many due to the Jeffords funding. Local
input matters, Weaver said, "It makes a difference, the money does get out there for projects to
the towns that are interested in getting something done with their covered bridges. The support of
groups like this does make a difference.
"The Jeffords money has been renewed this year,"
said Weaver. "The Transportation Agency is considering projects now, some comprehensive
rehabilitation projects as well as maintenance projects for roadway railings, drainage
improvements, shoring and bridge bearing replacement. There is a new round of spending coming
up this year, there will be new projects in 2003. If you've been around the state this year, I think
you'll notice that there were 38 new roof projects, a number of bridges with new roofs on them as
well as some of the boarding replaced. Those were the minimal projects, there were others that
were more comprehensive."
The floor was opened for questions and comment: John Weaver responded.
What is the status of the Poland Bridge? "That is a comprehensive rehabilitation project.
It was put out for bids in September and the first round of bids were rejected because some of the
prices were impossible to justify. It was re-bid this week and bids will be reopened in three weeks.
I doubt that work will begin this winter because of the foundation work involved and the
uncertainty of dealing with the Lamoille River in the winter time."
Who controls the funds for the bridges? "The Jeffords funds are administered as a grant.
That's 100 percent federal money. The state transportation department has its own funds it applies
to some other projects. Local funds are applied to other projects. The combinations are different
from area to area, place to place. The funding formulas are always different."
Can the Jeffords funds be lost in the changing political climate? "The Jeffords funds are
authorized every year by congress. That could happen. Right now there are new funds available
That was $10 million over a three year period? "Initially it was to be $10 million every
year, but that had to be applied across the country, and every state could compete for that $10
million. We've gotten a pretty good portion considering we are a small state."
Is any of that grant money for private bridges? "No, it has to have a public use."
Do the towns know the money is there? "They are aware, they get letters every year
asking for their interest."
Other reports - Joe Nelson reported on a phone call he received prior to the meeting
from Irene Barna concerning her conversations with the Town of Middlebury about the
maintenance of the Pulp Mill Bridge. She has been talking to the Middlebury Selectboard
about fire retardent and they had become interested enough to contact the NO-Char company,
and got no response.
Irene also reported that she has been complaining to
the town that it doesn't budget enough money for repairs to the Pulp Mill Bridge. They are
repairing the bridge a piece at a time without addressing all of its related problems. As a result,
the bridge is deteriorating.
Irene said that the Vermont Historical Society
Expo is going to be held again on June 21 and 22 in Tunbridge. She has volunteered to chair
the Expo committee again and she is looking for folks with ideas for the theme for our exhibit.
This will be our third presence at that exposition. An idea she offered was "Building Bridges,"
perhaps building some models of covered bridges in various stages of construction.
Irene reported that the Rutland Historical
Society is working on a 2003 calendar featuring Rutland covered bridges existing and in the
past. They are going to offer them to the VCBS at a dollar each for resale.
Bob Cassidy told the meeting that as a
member of the Rutland Historical Society he was asked to help with the calendar for covered
bridges for their winter quarterly. It will be about the fourteen covered bridges that were in Old
Rutland. It will have a captioned photo of each bridge. The calendar will be in the Historical
Society Quarterly and will be available before Christmas.
Terry Shaw Announced a Holiday Fair: Mr. Shaw is a member of the board of
directors of the Bryan Memorial Gallery in Jeffersonville. Historically the gallery is closed
October 31. This year the gallery will remain open weekends up to Christmas time. On the 30th of
November and the first of December a holiday type fair will be held offering non-profits tables to
be set up in the gallery. The intent is to provide such organizations as the Cambridge Historical
Society, and the Lamoille County Animal Rescue League a venue offer inexpensive gifts to the
public and maybe increase their memberships.. The VCBS is invited. [The VCBS participated -
John Dostal on Fire Retardent: None of the Bennington bridges, the Henry, the
Paper Mill, and the Silk Bridge were treated for arson. Mr. Dostal contacted the Selectboard to
put fire proofing in the budget this year. The town asked for information so Dostal found a
company called Flame Stop, Inc. on the Internet. They sent their brochures, including photos of a
bridge being treated in Parktown, Indiana, and a sample of their material. Dostal plans to get the
Bennington fire department to test the sample.
John Weaver commented on fire retardent: No-Char [fire retardent] has been used on at
least two bridge-sites in Vermont, the West Dummerston Bridge and the Black River Bridge in
Irasburg, Weaver said. On the West Dummerston it was applied to new and existing wood. It's
basically a salt that sits on the surface of the wood and acts as a flame retardent, it doesn't seal the
wood. It is a water-born ammonia salt that sits on the surface giving it a slight silky look. It has a
class B flame resistance, which is a little bit better than Flame Stop, which is class A. Flame Stop
is a sealant as well as a fire retardent. The sealant properties may give it some advantage in
John Dostal spoke about the 251 Club: There are 251 communities in the State of
Vermont and an organization called the 251 Club. If you visit each one of these communities
you're entitled to a pin. The club has two meetings each year in the spring and in the fall. The
meetings are held where 300 people can be seated for dinner. Dostal was told that the club has a
membership of 4,000 in thirty-nine states. [Ed Barna has been researching the 251 Club and is
organizing the concept for the VCBS.]
John Dostal on the Twigg-Smith Bridge: Years ago the covered bridge in Garfield,
Vt. was discontinued and a man from Elmore bought it. He ultimately sold it to a real estate
company [Twigg-Smith] developing land in West Windsor and in Pomfret. The bridge was cut in
two and set up in the two locations.
This year, the half in West Windsor was destroyed by
wind. "John [Weaver] called me and asked if I wanted some of this old timber. I went over a
couple of times taking pictures," Dostal said. Ultimately, Dostal got a call from the Town of
warning that if the wreckage was not moved it would be burned, giving him one week.
"Meantime," said Dostal, "There was a man named
John Parker who lives over there. John is an instructor at [Mount Abraham High School]. He
offered to move the material up to a new location six or eight miles away, rebuild the bridge and
make it available for tourists to come and see. Old bridges never die, they just fade away or get
Parker moved it to the new location and put it under
cover to keep it dry, and then a couple of weeks ago he sent wrote: Dear Mr. Dostal. A short
update on the progress we are making on the Garfield/Twigg-Smith Bridge. As you know, we
were able to salvage much of the material and trusses. We moved it to a new location in Reading.
We have had new timbers sawn to replace the rotting/damaged sections of the trusses. I'm going
to pick up these timbers this weekend at a mill in Ludlow. It took a while to find a mill that could
cut timber of this size in this area. Each piece is twenty feet long, three inches thick and eleven
inches wide, and we had fifty pieces milled to get us started. We are currently in the process of
designing a course that will go along with a covered bridge course that is taught in our school by
Mr. Paul Stetson. This new expanded course will involve students in the reconstruction of this
bridge. The plan is to spend a week or maybe two at the site, reassemble the trusses, and
hopefully, erect the trusses in preparation for a new roof. The plan is to do this as an independent
study the week after the school gets out in June. We already have some interested students.
Hopefully, the Garfield/Twigg-Smith Bridge will have a new roof too. Thank you for all your
support. We have needed all the help we could get.. PS. I still need a source to get, one and
five-eights turned tree-nails.
John Dostal reported that the Covered Bridge Museum in Bennington is scheduled
to open in April of 2003. The museum is housed in a wing of the Bennington Center for the Arts
building. The wing is designed to resemble a covered bridge.
The building as it exists today is 250 feet long, 27 feet
wide, Dostal said.. It will be heated, it will be air conditioned.
"But that's only the beginning," said Dostal. "Once
you've got the structure started, what do you do to make it attractive to visitors to it . . . . What
are people looking for in a covered bridge museum?" "So what we are planning to do is use
Richard Sanders Allen's concept in pictures in his Covered Bridges of the Northeast to tell where
they were built, why they were built, the process of building, the tools that were used . . ."
"We will probably have invested before we open in
April of next year somewhere close to $200,000. Before the opening we are planning to have an
open house for you folks, people who are dedicated bridgers. You can look at it and make
suggestions. This is a work in progress, it's not final, it probably will never be final."
The meeting concluded about 1 p.m. with a very
interesting tour of the nine covered bridges in the towns of Tunbridge and Randolph conducted by
Mr. Farnham. As an author and Tunbridge town historian, and as he has conducted many tours of
the local covered bridges, he knows his subject well.
CAR BREAKS THROUGH SIDE OF SAYRES COVERED
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Thetford, Vt. 11-26-02 - Monday morning a car went through the side of the Sayres
Bridge when the driver lost control. The vehicle landed in the Oompompanusuc River upside
down, submerging the woman driver and two 11-year-old boys.
The boys got out of the car alright, but the woman,
tangled in her seatbelt, was extracted by two passers by and successfully resuscitated on the
upturned bottom of the car.
The driver blamed new "treadways" ( running planks)
for the accident. The town had recently widened the treadways and added asphalt ramps at the
bridge portals to allow cars to enter the bridge smoothly.
Another driver had complained that she had lost
control in the bridge a week earlier, complaining that the ramps were too high. Residents say that
the bridge was not considered dangerous prior to the change in the treadways.
The driver of the car that entered the river claimed
that she had not been speeding. Her rescuers, who were driving behind her, verified her
For details on this story, go to the Valley News
website, www.vnews.com, and check out news posted on 11/27 and 11/28.
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ST. MICHAEL'S ONLINE MAGAZINE EXPLORES COVERED
Three St. Michael's College Juniors took on a special project writing about the covered bridges of
Vermont for the ECHO, the college's on-line magazine. The magazine serves the campus and the
On Saturday, November 9, Michael O'Brien, Nathan
Formalarie, and Zachary Cook "took a road trip acquiring footage of bridges in Tunbridge,
Waitsfield, and some other areas around north central VT." They also did their homework,
interviewing John Weaver, Vermont Covered Bridge Society vice president, and by e-mail, Joe
Nelson, author of Spanning Time, Vermont's Covered Bridges. They recorded their experiences in
their own unique way.
Says Michael O'Brien (firstname.lastname@example.org): "We are
proud of our finished product. . . . It was tough because we only got to cover a small portion of
the state, and we could have had much more info., but our goal was to focus on the technology
and make the site mainly visual. We did the best we could condensing the info. We have, in the
end, gained a great appreciation for covered bridges and rural Vermont."
To view the ECHO Magazine article, go to the Link
Page on www.vermontbridges.com
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ARSONIST HITS NEWFIELD COVERED BRIDGE (32-55-01)
Newfield, NY, Nov. 2 - The Tompkins County Sheriffs Office and the Newfield Fire
Department responded to a fire on the floor of the Newfield Covered Bridge 1:30 a.m.
Someone had stacked wooden pallets and set them on
fire. Firemen dragged the burning pallets off the bridge. The bridge floor sustained damage to a
depth of half an inch.
The bridge remained closed Friday while arson
investigators from the sheriffs office and the highway department assessed the damage.
[From an Ithaca Journal clipping contributed br Dick Wilson -Ed.]
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NEWS FROM NORTHEAST KINGDOM BRIDGE-WATCH
We have today completed a $16,000 FEMA funded repair on the west abutment of the Randall
Bridge. The work was done by Aquateck from Maine. Engineering studies are being prepared to
complete the abutment work next summer. The Lyndon Historical Society has contributed 10
percent of the cost and will contribute again next summer when the entire work is complete. The
Society expects to be able to replace the roof on the Randall Bridge (45-03-07) with funding from
the Freeman Foundation through the Preservation Trust of Vermont.
|Randall Bridge at Lyndon, Vt.. (45-03-07)|
by Joe Nelson, 1997
The Chamberlin Mill Bridge (45-03-04) on the South
Branch of the Passumpsic received a new steel roof this summer as a part of the roof replacement
program of VTrans.
We are still looking for ways to do abutment work on
the Sanborn Bridge (45-03-05) damaged during the spring flood. This is of course privately
owned although Mr. Elliott [owner of the Lynburke Motel and the Sanborn Bridge] may be
interested in selling or giving the bridge to improve the situation. He certainly doesn't want to
spend money on the bridge since he is still accounting for motel damages from the [spring]
- Jim and
Mary Fearon at Cattail Corners
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TWO MORE CHARGED IN RYOT BRIDGE FIRE (38-05-17)
Two additional arrests were made Tuesday evening for the Aug. fire that destroyed a
historical covered bridge in Bedford Co.
State police said Joshua Bartholomew, 19 of
Schellsburgh and a 16 year-old of Lancaster, PA. were each charged Tues. with arson,
conspiracy, burglary, theft and causing or risking a catastrophe.
|Ryot Bridge, Bedford County, Pa. (38-05-
Photo by Joe Nelson, 10/16/02
The 16 yr. old was taken to the Cambria County
Juvenile Detention Home to await his hearing in Bedford Co. Juvenile court. Bartholomew was
placed in Bedford Co. prison in lieu of $100,000 straight bond. He must pay the entire $100,000
before being released. . . . . Commissioners have vowed to rebuild the historic bridge, despite a
cost of about $300,000.
Police charged that the three stole a container of
gasoline from a shed Aug. 14 and drove around looking for something to burn. Bartholomew and
the 16 yr. old poured the gasoline on the bridge, and Sanders lit the fire, police said.
In another related item in the Altoona Mirror dated
9/28/02, Kauffman Metals Inc. and Bedford Materials, have agreed to donate materials to help
rebuild the Ryot covered bridge. Kauffman Metals will provide the roofing, and Bedford Materials
will donate the decking.
[This article forwarded by David Guay. It appeared in the Altoona Mirror 9/25/02. - Ed.]
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CEDAR BRIDGE ARSONED (15-61-03)
Winterset, Ia. - The Cedar Bridge, made famous in "The Bridges of Madison County,"
was destroyed by fire Tuesday, September 3, 2002. The state fire marshal's office has confirmed
that this was an arson fire.
A passer-by called 911 at 8:28 p.m. to report the fire.
Firefighters arrived in15 minutes, however, the wooden structure burned so quickly it couldn't be
The Cedar Bridge was built in 1883 by Benton Jones
using the Town Truss. Seventy-seven feet long it crossed Cedar Creek serving U.S. Route 169
two miles northeast of Winterset. It was one of six covered bridges surviving in Madison County
and the last in that county still carrying traffic. It was renovated in 1998 at a cost of
Ten covered bridges still stand in Iowa in four
counties. All of them are on the National Register of Historic Places. The last Madison County
covered bridge destroyed by fire was the McBride Bridge, which was torched by an arsonist in
The Cedar Bridge became internationally famous after
it appeared in the movie The Bridges of Madison County, based on the novel by Robert Waller.
The author has offered a reward of $10,000 for information leading to the arrest of the
A meeting is planned for Monday, September 9, to
decide what should be done and how much reconstruction would cost. Such a project could cost
between $750,000 and $1 million, it was thought. The bridge was insured for $285,000.
[This article is based on reports published in the Des Moines Register and other
references. Bridgers can follow the developing story on www.dmregister.com - Ed.]
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GREENBANKS HOLLOW BRIDGE TO BE FULLY
November 15, 2002 - Unlike many rehabilitated covered bridges, the Greenbanks Hollow
Bridge is being restored as a fully functioning bridge in which the new floor is not self supporting,
but is supported by the trusses as the original builders intended. And good riddance to the ugly
old "temporary" piers.
|Greenbanks Hollow Bridge, Danville. Vt.|
Photo by Mert Leonard, 11-15-02
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UNION VILLAGE BRIDGE OPENED TO TRAFFIC ( 45-09-01)
Thetford, Vt. - The Union Village Covered Bridge reopened Wednesday, November 13,
|Union Village Bridge (45-09-02)|
Photo by Tom Chase, 11-13-02
The project was described as the rehabilitation of the
existing Union Village Covered Bridge and the addition of new glulam floor support beams on
reinforced concrete foundations.
Original member replacement include portions of the
bottom chord on both the north and south trusses and replacement of some vertical members in
each truss. The roof rafters were replaced and a new glulam deck installed on glulam stringers and
floor beams. A new copper roof and interior lighting was installed as well.
The low bid price was $609,213 and was submitted
by Alpine Construction. The resident engineer was Tom Chase and the VTrans project manager
was Warren Tripp.
Project completion was targeted for mid-November.
Special funding for 100% of the project construction costs was received through Senator James
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HISTORIC BRANDON SPAN IS DISMANTLED FOR REPAIR
October 20, 2002 (from the Rutland Herald, County section)
By Ed Barna Herald Correspondent
Brandon - The Sanderson covered bridge is no longer covered. In fact, at least
temporarily, it isn't even a bridge any more.
As the first step in an $830,000 repair job, the Blow
& Cote construction company of Morrisville has used cranes to systematically remove the
160-year-old wooden structure from its Otter Creek crossing on Pearl Street.
According to Brandon Public Works director Bruce
Rounds, the work that began Aug. 19 has this month brought the dismantling of the 132-foot
bridge's roof, then the siding, then the floor, then the cross-timbers linking the two sides. The
sides, known as trusses, are what hold up a covered bridge. The Sanderson Bridge's two trusses
known as Town lattices after their inventor, Ithiel Town now lie on their sides by the river where
they can be further dismantled.
The bridge was closed in 1987 after a state bridge
inspection found serious deficiencies in the timber-framed structure. Among other problems, its
metal roofing had ended at the edge of the roof, without any eaves, so that water kept running
down the sides and ultimately rotting out key timbers at the bottom of the bridge. Also, the Select
Board realized that trucks using the bridge-- even the town's loaded dump trucks doing road
maintenance-- were exceeding the statutory 8-ton limit for wooden bridges. The contract for the
bridge restoration specifies that it should safely carry 20 tons.
At first, voters decided to save the old bridge as a
pedestrian and bicycle crossing, and create a concrete and steel bridge at a new crossing north of
the present site. But during a preliminary investigation of the proposed crossing route,
state-contracted archaeologists discovered a wealth of Native American remains, which they said
should be researched before any road is built. When it became clear that the scientific
investigation might add as much as $200,000 to the cost--meaning a $20,000 local share at that
time--there was a petitioned re-vote.
The second town meeting chose to rebuild and
reinforce the old bridge. The importance of the archaeological site can be seen in the way the
Division for Historic Preservation has ordered Blow & Cote to keep their operations out of the
cornfield on the north side of Pearl Street, Rounds said.
Artifacts from the first digs were supposed to come
to Brandon for a historic exhibit, but are still somewhere in New Jersey, he said.
Among covered bridge preservationists, the idea of
beefing up covered bridges to carry 20-ton loads has become controversial. Typically, many of the
original timbers are replaced by synthetic materials like glue-laminated boards, or glulam. Rounds
said every effort will be made to retain original wood, though most of it will have to be replaced
due to extensive damage. There will have to be some glulam, but it will be hidden below the
bridge, rather than changing the historic appearance of the structure, he said.
Round said reconstruction of the bridge itself might
be completed by January. With other work on foundations and the site, the entire project has a
tentative completion date of June 2003.
Adding all the previous expenses to the contract
with Blow & Cote, it will cost about $1.2 million to put the Sanderson bridge back in place and
remove the temporary steel girder bridge that has connected Brandon and Sudbury for 15 years,
Federal covered-bridge money obtained by Sen.
James Jeffords, I-Vt., had been targeted for the work, but due to scheduling, that money will
actually help with other bridges on the Agency of Transportation repair list.
Waiting for 15 years has had one positive effect,
Rounds noted. The local share has swung between 10 percent and 5 percent, but now is pegged
to be only 5 percent, or $41,500 for this year's work. The Select Board has already allocated
money for the project in regular budgets.
[Ed Barna is Author of "Covered Bridges of Vermont," Countryman Press, and is on the
Board of Directors of the Vermont Covered Bridge Society - Ed.]
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RESEARCHING VERMONT'S BRIDGES
by Charlie Elflein
Back in the late '80s, the National Society for the
Preservation of Covered Bridges, Inc. formed a committee to discuss which bridges should be
included in the 1989 edition of the World Guide to Covered Bridges. Some
wanted everything listed; others favored only authentic wooden spans. The latter option won out,
and only bridges with a true truss were featured in this guidebook used by bridgers
At a NSPCB meeting in Foxboro, MA, the committee
wanted volunteers to select a state and do further research to make the text as accurate as
possible. While I am interested in covered bridges everywhere, Vermont's old spans have always
held the greatest appeal to me. It was in the Green Mountain State where I first became "hooked"
on them, and I still feel no place has prettier settings for its timbered tunnels. Because of this, I
gladly volunteered to do further research on Vermont's covered bridges for the World
The next question was: How will I find out
information on the state's bridges? To me, the easiest method was to draft a short questionnaire
and send a copy to every town in Vermont that had a covered bridge. It was short and easy to
complete. The survey basically asked the following questions: Most common name of bridge;
name of road the span was on; and mostly importantly, what year the structure was built. To in
sure a reply, a self-addressed, stamped envelope was included with each letter.
This research project turned out much better than
expected. The response from town clerks and historical societies was great! Many included little
"tidbits" about the bridges and expressed local pride in them. It's always reassuring to know that
others feel sympathetic to our cause of historic preservation.
Being solely interested in old, historic covered spans,
I was determined to find up-to-date information on construction dates. Here are some of the
results from my survey:
(* Gifford and Blaisdell bridges were covered in 1904)
owner of nearby antique shop
Guilford Town Clerk
Randolph Hist. Society
Randolph Hist. Society
Randolph Hist. Society
Stowe Town Clerk
Troy Town Clerk
Tunbridge Town Clerk
Weathersfield Hist. Society
These "year built" dates are different from what has
been published in the past in various sources. Since this information was received over a decade
ago, I cannot guarantee it is still accurate. In recent years, many people have researched local
history and may have found "new" old information.
Two of the most interesting responses were from
Cambridge and Randolph. It always bothered me not having a year of construction for the Burr
arch bridge spanning Brewster River south of Jeffersonville. At the time, I remember an antique
shop in a mill (with a waterwheel) on Rte. 108 near the covered span. I sent a survey to the
owner, and he responded with: "We have always called it Scott Bridge, and it was built in
Mr. Wes Herwig, president of the Randolph
Historical Society, was one of the most helpful. He did extensive research on the town's bridges,
especially the Second Branch of the White River. According to Mr. Herwig, Kingsbury Bridge
was completed in the fall of 1902, making it probably the last historic covered span constructed
on a public highway in Vermont. This date was verified by a local farmer who clearly remembered
seeing the multiple-kingpost truss bridge being built at the time.
Mr. Herwig also stated that Gifford and Blaisdell
bridges were constructed in 1883 as half-height, multiple-kingpost pony trusses. Each truss was
enclosed but there was no roof over the entire structure. Both of these spans were completely
covered in 1904.
It is interesting to note that only Bennington,
Lamoille, Windham and Windsor counties have had booklets published describing covered bridges
within their boundaries. With the formation of the VCBS, interest in our bridges is growing
stronger day by day. I would like to encourage every member to continue this project of finding
out more information on our old bridges. Visit your town clerk, talk to the local historical society,
and chat with folks who live near the bridges. Like a "treasure chest," there's a wealth of historical
data out there just waiting to be discovered!
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|Knapps Covered Bridge, (38-08-01)|
Photo by C. Knapp, 11-19-02
On October 2, when we were visiting Knapp's
Covered Bridge we saw workers hard at work scraping lead paint. There was a man from the
D.E.C. there making sure it was taken care of properly, also checking Brown's Creek.
We made another trip back on November 19 and
found them roofing. It was a hard job as it was so very windy, cold and there were snow showers.
The foreman we talked to said barring any more delays completion date of early January was
expected. He said they were about a month and a half behind.
Chuck visited the bridge on November 19 and found
the roof completed and work had started on the floor and sides.
We will keep you posted on the progress of Knapp's
Covered Bridge. Take care and God bless.
It was a pleasure, and an honor for me to have been asked to serve as Membership Chair for the
Vermont Covered Bridge Society. I look forward to working with the officers and Kathy
Knight, who has faithfully and diligently been serving alone as the Membership Committee. She
has done a fabulous job! Thank you, Kathy.
I have been charged by our President to promote
membership in the society, and in so doing, foster an appreciation and love for our bridges. The
first part will take some effort on my part, but the second part will truly be a labor of love for
There is strength in numbers! We gained 30 new
members this year. This brings the total membership roster to 148. Yes, we are definitely
growing, thanks to your encouragement and support, but there is still much to be done. We
appreciate those who have renewed their membership with us, and we invite you to tell others
about our group.
The year 2002 has not been kind to our covered
bridges. To date, we have lost a total of five bridges, and almost lost five others. Fortunately,
none in Vermont, but none-the-less, we share the loss of these historic structures with our
neighboring states just as much as if it had been one of our own. How could this have been
prevented? We wish we had an answer to that question. But we do know that the more we
promote our bridges, and make the public aware that these historic structures should be
preserved, at all cost, the better their chances for survival. How can we promote them? One
good way is to become a member and play an active roll in a covered bridge society. Each society
needs more members, and more dedicated workers to continue the work that needs to be done.
So please, don't hesitate to get involved. Only as a team, working together, can we do the
challenging work that lies before us. Preserving our bridges! There are many ways in which to
help the Vermont Covered Bridge Society, even if you don't live in Vermont, so please, get
involved. Call and volunteer to help in anyway you can.
Yours in Bridging,
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LOOKING FOR 'THE PERFECT' CHRISTMAS GIFT?
Christmas will soon be here but it is never too late to
give the gift that keeps on giving...a membership to the Vermont Covered Bridge Society. If you
would like to give a gift certificate to a friend or loved one to our Society, please fill out the form
on the "JOIN THE VCBS" page, enclose the proper membership fee, and mail. We will gladly
send them a certificate notifying them of your gift.
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COVERED BRIDGE POSTCARDS FOR SALE!
||3by5 modern covered bridges all in USA|
3by5 Somerset County, PA
long-gone of PA
4by6 of Ontario Canada
views of PA 4by6
5by7 of Breezewood, Bedford County, PA
5by7 of Cornwall, CT
The postcard list
Plastic place mat list
Plus postage and handling. No stamps accepted as payment please. Make check or
money order payable to Robert L. Damery, 2000 Burma Road, New Smyrna Beach, FL 32168-
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Joe Nelson, P.O Box 267, Jericho, VT 05465-0267
No part of this web site may be reproduced without the written permission of Joseph C.
This file posted December 7, 2002