INSIDE THIS ISSUE:|
Cambridge Junction Photo Album Presented to Senator
The Coburn Covered Bridge
Where's Fowler, Vermont?
Covered Bridge Community News Notes
Save-a-bridge Fund Benefit - CB Prints for sale
Cambridge Junction Photo Album Presented to Senator
By William L. McKone
The restored Cambridge Junction or Poland historic
covered bridge near Jeffersonville was reopened to vehicle traffic on
July 4, 2004, in an event organized by the local historical society and other groups, including
VCBS members. Funding for the restoration was earmarked for
the bridge by Senator Jeffords as part of his 1999 legislation supporting preservation of such
structures. In 2000, his efforts were recognized in a ceremony
at the bridge, which had been closed to vehicles for almost a decade. He was invited back for the
reopening this year, but was not able to attend.
receives Cambridge Junction|
Covered Bridge photo album September 20,
Photo by Bill McKone
A second event was therefore held on September 20
when the senator stopped by the bridge on his way back to Washington
that day. Mrs. Jeffords and Mr. Munger of the senator's staff accompanied him. The senator was
given a real "bridger's tour" of the restored structure by
VCBS President Joe Nelson. In his remarks to those assembled for the event, the senator
commented that this bridge was "where it all started" in his efforts
at legislation to preserve historic covered bridges throughout the country. It also represents the
origin of the VCBS, as efforts to restore the bridge had
led Bill McKone to invite Ed Barna and Joe Nelson -- recognized authorities and authors on
covered bridges in Vermont -- to join forces with him in creating
a grass-roots organization for preservation of historic covered bridges in this state.
Kathie Knight presented Senator Jeffords with a
handsome photo album -- a VCBS patch attached to the cover -- in which
she assembled images taken by Bill McKone of the bridge before, during, and after restoration.
The album also contained a set of photos of the 4th of July
reopening kindly provided by Pauline Prideaux. She also gave him her watercolor rendition of the
planned recreational park at the bridge that VCBS member
Zeke Zucker described to the senator and audience. This park will be part of the "rails to trails"
conversion of the rail line that expands on the existing
Cambridge Greenway and will take advantage of the multiple sidings at the old junction site. A
community action grant of $5,000 has been obtained for the
project and it may serve as a model for other such sites on the line from St. Johnsbury to Swanton
and elsewhere. The intention is to name it "Jeffords Park"
in appreciation of the senator's successful efforts at restoring the bridge.
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The Coburn Covered Bridge
|Drawing by Joan Gaboriault|
© David A. Coburn -
The Coburn covered bridge carries the Coburn Road
over the main stem of the Winooski River. The bridge was built in 1851
and constructed using Queen Post framing. The span is 69.5 feet long and 15 ± feet wide. It
provides 9 feet of clearance.
The bridge was built in 1851 by Larned Coburn and
given as a gift to the town. The only covered bridge left in East Montpelier,
it crosses the main stem of the Winooski River, just down stream from the confluence with the
Kingsbury Branch. It is of Queen post design and when built, was almost
entirely of wood. During the 150 years that have passed, the bridge has survived the ravages of
time, innumerable floods, and several encounters
with large vehicles.
Not much of the original bridge survives. A concrete
floor on steel beams replaced the wooden deck and supporting timbers in 1974.
Extensive reconstruction to the framing was done in 1997. The roof is new, as are many of the
The bridge is typical of the many small covered
structures that for many years carried the traffic of Vermont over the rivers. Only
70 feet long
|Location of the Bridge
and certainly not up to modern standards, it is nevertheless a source of local pride and a nice way
to get to the other side of the river.
Town of Montpelier
Sixty years later, a sizable village had grown up near
the confluence of the Winooski River and the North Branch. The good folks of
Montpelier Village had begun to pave their streets and install a water system. They tended to view
the larger rural portion of the town as a "black hole" for tax money
for roads, bridges, cemeteries and care of the indigent.
Town of East Montpelier
The citizens of Montpelier village petitioned the
Legislature to be allowed to form their own town. This was quickly granted and on
January 1, 1849, the voters of the new town of East Montpelier had to hold a meeting to elect a
complete slate of town officers. At the Town Meeting in March, the issue
of raising taxes and making repairs to the roads and bridges was taken up.
The bridge is built
One of the bridges that needed to be replaced was the
one that crossed the Kingsbury Branch near the farm of Isaac Cate. Considerable
debate and several votes ensued without any resolution. Finally to settle the issue, Larned Coburn
offered to build a bridge and give it to the Town with the proviso that
it be located near his house and a road built to pass through it. This was accepted; one might
presume, thankfully. Larned Coburn was born in Cabot in 1800 but came to live
with an Allen family in the town of (then) Montpelier when he was 12. He stayed on to marry the
Allen daughter, raise a large family and run a prosperous farm. He built the
house that is just east of the Coburn Bridge; at that time at the end of the road. The nearest bridge
was on the Cate Road -- about half-mile upstream -- but there was no
road from Larned's house along along the river to this crossing.
Since more than half of his land was on the side of the
river opposite his buildings, it meant a long round-about trip to get to these
Approach from the North
|Coburn Bridge approach from the
The bridge sits very high over the water, so much so
that the road enters and leaves at a very steep angle. This lofty perch is what has
enabled it to survive the many floods, including the one in 1927 that removed the vast majority of
the other bridges in Vermont.
There is even a ledgend that during one particularly
high spring run-off, the Cate Bridge -- then also a wooden, covered structure -- was
washed downstream and passed under the Coburn Bridge. It was found high and dry on the
riverbank some distance downstream. The thrifty town folk pulled it back into the river,
floated it upstream to the Cate Road and reset it on its foundation. (That Cate Bridge is long
since gone, replaced several times, most recently by one of steel and
|Coburn Bridge south
This view shows the new siding that was added as part
of the reconstruction in 1997. Broken boards in the top of the entry caused by
large trucks using Coburn Road as a shortcut between US-2 and
Old Coburn Bridge Post Card with
|Coburn Bridge post
|Coburn Bridge history from back of post
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Where's Fowler, Vermont?
That is the question Charlie Elflein posed in his article
under that title in our Fall 2004 newsletter.
|Fowler, Vermont railroad & covered
VCBS members Rae Laitres and Ann Ovitt both came
up with the answer, and both cited the same source: Esther Swift's Book "Vermont Place
Names". The community of Pittsford Quarry's post office opened in 1882 named after the
local quarry owner's daughter, Florence. In 1902, the quarry was bought by Charles N.
Fowler and he wanted a post office of his own. The Fowler P.O. was established in 1902 and
most of the business in the area was handled in Fowler instead of the Florence
post office. The Florence P.O. was closed in 1903. The quarry was sold again in 1912 and the
townspeople requested the old name of Florence back. The change was made in
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Covered Bridge Community News
Missouri Community Replicates Bridge Burned in 1966
October 11, 2004 - Hello . . . . My name is Jack Clark, and I represent a non-profit
organization entitled, "The Friends of the Covered Bridge",
as both the Vice-Chairman and Publicity Chair, located here in Sedalia, Missouri. Please take a
look at our website: http://www.nolandfiftyninerdiner.
com (Click on bridge). The site is dedicated to the construction of a replica covered bridge,
which was constructed to commemorate an original covered
bridge near this city, burned by vandals in May of 1966. We are very proud of our
Sincerely, Jack Clark,
New York's Newest Covered Bridge NY [32-33-03]
November 19, 2004, Boonville, NY - On this day a new covered bridge was placed over
the Black River Canal, connecting the historic
Black River Towpath with Erwin Park. The bridge will serve pedestrians, bikes and snowmobiles
accessing a Black River Canal museum planned
for Erwin Park. The bridge spans 70 feet using a Town lattice truss. The deck, 24 feet wide, will
accommodate a 14 foot driving area and a 6
The 12-member Erwin Park Covered Bridge
Committee planned and promoted the project. The estimated cost of the
bridge was $150,000. The construction is being funded by a $100,000 grant from the New York
State Parks Department and a donation of $20,000 from
the Iroquois Pipeline Co. The Oneida, N.Y. span will be listed by the National Society for the
Preservation of Covered Bridges as World Guide Number
New Covered Bridge Book
For those covered bridge enthusiasts who are
interested in some of Vermont's current and former bridges, Joseph
Conwill has compiled a collection of pictures with commentary called IMAGES of America --
Vermont Covered Bridges (ISBN 0-7385-3598-2). Mr. Conwill,
editor of the National Society for the Preservation of Covered Bridges quarterly magazine Topics,
takes us on a county by county tour of some of Vermont's
historic bridges. Thru 128 pages of the black and white photos of Richard Sanders Allen,
Raymond Brainerd, Henry Gibson, Herbert Richter, and others we
are presented with images of covered bridges from the early 20th century, many of which no
longer exist. The book is published by Arcadia Publishing and
is available in bookstores or thru the internet at:
Buskirk and Salisbury Center Bridges Repair Progress.
By Dick Wilson
November 22, 2004 - Joe, I will give you the latest on both the Salisbury Center and
Buskirk Covered Bridges
The Salisbury Center Bridge was finished in August
and reopened that month. The pictures I am sending were taken on
labor Day Weekend. You can see how nice and straight the bridge is. The one picture shows the
laminated wooden beams the bridge is resting on.
The pictures of the Buskirk Bridge were taken the
same weekend, but on a visit on October 10th, the bridge still
looked like this, with work being done on one abutment. Work was being held up as they had to
get new iron rods for the Howe Truss. The bridge is
gone as you can see.
Time will tell what the new Buskirk Bridge will look
like. If I get up that way soon, I will update you on the
|Salisbury Center Bridge NY-22-01|
photo by Dick
Wilson August 2004
|Buskirk Bridge, NY-42-01|
photo by Dick Wilson,
Canyon Bridge Open to Traffic
Jeffersonville, October 13, 2004 - The barriers were removed last week, opening the
renewed bridge to traffic. The final inspection will be
conducted during the first week of November. It is expected that no problems will be
|Canyon Bridge 45-08-01|
Photo by Joe Nelson,
October 13, 2004
New Covered Bridge in Slatington, PA
by Ben and June
Just this afternoon, we were informed by Don
Heintzelman, the member of TBCBSP who discovered the 1988, Henry's Farm
Bridge in Monroe County, that a new covered bridge has been built in Slatington, PA. Since it is
scheduled for dedication on Saturday, October 2, and
since Slatington is the place of Ben's birth and our home is not too far from it, we decided to
check it out this afternoon so that we could report to
those of you who are especially interested in romantic/modern shelters.
It is a "stringer," built on at least two substantial metal
"I" beams approximately 24" high, it has a concrete
deck/floor, and the supporting super-structure for the sides and the roof is typical "barn-type,"
post and beam construction. It is very substantially
built. From a newspaper article which we found in the on-line edition of the Morning Call, Sept.
26, the dedication is part of the Slate Heritage Trail
cleanup. Slate Heritage Trail cleanup/celebration: The Northern Lehigh Historical Society, the
Slatington Lions Club, and the Delaware & Lehigh Trail
Tenders group will hold a cleanup and hike along the 1.1-mile Slatington Heritage Trail near
Slatington on Saturday. The new trail follows Trout Creek
from Slatington. The hike and cleanup begin at 9 a.m. and continue until noon. Here is a quote
from that article:
"The meeting place will be the trail head at Main and
Railroad streets across from Boyer's Hardware in Slatington.
During the afternoon, there also will be a gathering along the trail. Two bands are scheduled to
play and between 4 and 5 p.m., a formal dedication of
the covered bridge along the trail takes place. All events are free. There also will be arts and crafts
tables and a fireworks display at 8 p.m. For more
information, call Jodi Nestor at 610-767-8452."
To find the bridge: Approaching Slatington from the
south, follow PA 309 north from the Allentown area to the fork
with PA 873 north to Slatington. PA 873 becomes Main Street. Follow it to the Turkey Hill
Minimart on the left side of the street, across from the post
office (this is just before Main Street makes a 90 degree turn to the right), turn left at the
Minimart and follow it past the Fire Company to Seventh
Street (this is a relatively new development of condominiums), turn right into the development
and follow the road to the covered bridge, approx. .25 mi.
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Cambridge Junction Covered Bridge
By the time you receive this issue of The
Bridger, we will be well into the holiday season but you still have
time to order a gift certificate for a membership to the Vermont Covered Bridge Society. It is the
perfect gift for those who are not able to travel but
really enjoy hearing and learning about our covered bridges.
The holiday season also brings a reminder that your
membership dues are due by December 31st. And for those of you who
pay your dues before the December 31st deadline, your name will automatically be entered
in the Membership Renewal Contest drawing. You could be the lucky
winner of a lovely Covered Bridge welcome sign, a gift bag with Covered Bridge goodies or a
one-year free membership to the VCBS. All very nice prizes but
in order to qualify, we must receive your membership dues before December 31st. Since our last
newsletter, we have already received over 30 renewals so
don’t miss out and get yours in the mail before you get so busy with the holiday season you
forget. This is also a great time to considering changing your
present membership to a Life membership or giving a special gift this year by joining one of our
other giving societies. Your support is crucial to the
success of the Vermont Covered Bridge Society. For more information, see the membership form
included in this newsletter.
The Vermont Covered Bridge Society welcomes the
following new members: George Longenecker and Charles and Barbara Bohn
from Marshfield, VT, Robert and Kathleen Wilson, Laconia, NH and Greg and Sue Komeshok
from Passaic, NJ. A warm Vermont welcome to each of you.
Yours in Bridging,
Upcoming Birthdays and Anniversaries:
nbsp;David & Marikka Guay
nbsp;Steve & Sue Miyamoto
nbsp;Frances & Marge Converse
bsp; Don Prideaux
nbsp;George and Tina Conn
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As the old year stumbles on toward the history pages,
this may be a good time to add up the score for the VCBS.
All-in-all, it hasn't been too bad a year.
Our Nominations Committee, chaired by our VP, John
Weaver, canvassed our membership looking for candidates. I will
stand again for one more year as president. John will run again for vice president, and Irene Barna
will continue as secretary. Neil Daniels will serve
Neil is a retired businessman (Neil Daniels
Construction), has sat on the boards of non-profit organizations, and
that of a bank, and has served on the Weathersfield Board of Selectmen. With all of this
experience, he will be key in helping us set up the fund with
which we will grow our Save-a bridge Fund.
Our regret is that once again, we have failed to find
members to compete for the four offices. Contest or not, our
by-laws call for an annual election to the four offices. The ballot for this year's election is inserted
in this newsletter in postcard form. Please
fill it out and send it in if only in appreciation of the people who are giving of their time to make
the VCBS and its mission possible. There is room
for a write-in. If any one would like to serve, please fill in that space and our Nominations
Committee will contact you. This is also a good time to
let us know about your birthdays and anniversaries. Our Membership Coordinator will announce
your dates in the newsletter so your fellow members can
help you celebrate.
Our Directors meeting, held last late winter, marked
out a path for the VCBS to follow: The Board approved the pledge
of $1,000 to help in the restoration of the Hectorville Bridge; approved the establishment of a
covered bridge restoration fund; approved the sale of the
painting of the Cambridge Junction Bridge donated by artist Eric Tobin; and approved joining the
Vermont Alliance on Nonprofit Organizations (VANPO).
Our pledge to Montgomery's Hectorville
Bridge project continues on hold while their project committee develops its plans.
The Eric Tobin painting is now on sale at the Bryan Memorial Gallery for $2,400, an amount
typically paid for Eric's paintings. The earnings from the
sale will be used to start our Save-a-bridge Fund. Check out
www.bryanmemorialgallery.org to see some more of Eric's work. Following Eric's
with his permission, I have had Giclée prints made from his painting using VCBS funds budgeted
for our Crafts Committee. The profits from the print sales
will go to the Save-a-bridge Fund.
The VCBS is now a member of VANPO,
represented by Terry and Jane Shaw who generously stepped forward to serve as our
VANPO contact officers. The benefits of VANPO membership include an increase in our visibility
and our effectiveness in fulfilling our mission of
preserving covered bridges; entry to a network of other nonprofit organizations; and education
opportunities in the things members of a nonprofit need
Meanwhile, our Legislation Committee, led
by Terry Shaw, has been busy pushing our agenda to get roadside signs to
direct visitors to our covered bridges. The committee is also proposing that a law should be
passed increasing penalties in Vermont for damaging
structures listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Irresponsible thrill seekers must be
put on notice that this community will not tolerate
the defacing or destruction of our historic heritage. Also on the agenda is the establishment of a
state policy guiding the maintenance and restoration
of covered bridges when they are not protected by the Historic Covered Bridge Preservation Plan
written and agreed to by the VAOT, the FHA, and the
Vermont Division of Historic Preservation.
The Legislation Committee has written to and
received an answer from the Office of the Governor. For starters, the
Governor has directed the Secretary of the AOT to respond to our proposals in detail.
The VCBS membership at the Fall All-Mamber
meeting, held in Marshfield on October 30, voted to donate $1000 to
Marshfield’s Martin Bridge Restoration Project. The pledge was approved by a special
director’s meeting and the check was sent to the fund. My thanks
go to our membership for their leadership in directing their society in it’s pledge to promote the
preservation of covered bridges. An e-mail from Dick
Wilson, VCBS Advisory Director and President of the NYSCBS advises that their meeting has
pledged $200 on the Martin Bridge fund. I’m sure these donations
are good news to the folks in Marshfield, showing them that the covered bridge community is
behind them in their project
Anyone who wants to help are most welcome to send
their personal donations to: Martin Bridge Restoration Project, c/o
Town of Marshfield, 122 School Street, Marshfield, VT 05658. The story of the Martin Bridge
was published in the Fall Bridger. The story in color can be
seen on www.vermontbridges.com.
Yours in Bridging
Joe Nelson, President, VCBS
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Limited Edition Museum Quality Giclée Prints
Oil Painting by Eric Tobin
* Size of image ** Frame size when matted
Hahnemuhle Photo Rug Fine Art Paper
316gsm/8 Color Pigmented Ink
All profits to go to the Vermont Covered Bridge Society
To order, write Joe Nelson, P.O. Box 267, Jericho, VT 05465. Make checks payable to
For unmounted prints add $4.95 plus $1.00 for each additional print ordered for
shipping and handling. You will be reimbursed for overpayment.
For mounted prints, shipping and handling $10.00 per print. You will be reimbursed for
Provide shipping address for UPS or FedEx.