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Winter 2007


VCBS Holds Annual Fall Meeting
A Look Back - Covered Bridges of Tunbridge    A Special Book aquisition
Covered Bridge Community News Notes    Question 5: What is your favorite Covered Bridge and Why?
VCBS Gives Course at ILEAD    My Vermont Trip    Transportation Needed
Membership    Letters    Events Committee - Mark Your Calendars
President's Column    The Northeast POW/MIA Network

Eighth Annual Fall Meeting of the
Vermont Covered Bridge Society

Northfield, Vermont, October 13, 2007

Fourteen people gathered in the Parish Hall of St. John Roman Catholic Church in Northfield, Vermont where the Fall Annual meeting of the VCBS was called to order at 10:10 A.M by President John Weaver.

MINUTES recorded by Joe Nelson at the spring meeting held in Bennington were read by Secretary, Irene Barna

TREASURER'S REPORT was read by Treasurer Neil Daniels:
For the period from January 1, 2007 through October 8, 2007:

Bridger Ads             $ 30.00 
Donations		 307.50
Dues		         910.00
Events		          87.00
Sales			 300.10	                            
TOTAL INCOME          $1,634.50 

Postage, printing       $561.38
Crafts committee	 331.05       		         
Membership		 104.37         
To Save-A-Bridge fund    481.00
TOTAL EXPENSES        $1,477.80 


BALANCE SHEET Period December 21, 2006 thru September 21, 2007
Union Bank checkbook begin     $5,310.64
 Ending September 31, 2007     $5,037.51

Sue announced that Trish Kane is stepping down as Membership Coordinator and expresses gratitude for the service Trish has given to the VCBS. Among these duties has been maintaining the records of membership, of dues and donations, of birthdays and anniversaries, of the nominating committee, and of empty job slots. She has sent and received tallies of election ballots, sent membership cards and written annually for The Bridger. Joe expresses that we owe Trish a round of thanks, to which John Weaver agreed and those present acknowledged with appreciative applause for Trish's organizational and thorough work. Thank you, Trish.
      Sue also spoke about the VCBS involvement with ILEAD (acronym for Institute for Lifelong Education at Dartmouth) at which Joe Nelson and Neil Daniels have participated in a 6 weeks course this fall titled Spanning Time: Vermont's Covered Bridges Sue mentions that it is hoped that this means of reaching folks might encourage further interest in covered bridges and encourage membership in VCBS.
      Sue also plans to go to Rotary Clubs and encourages others to do same around the state to spread word regarding covered bridge preservation.
      Regarding spreading the word of covered Bridges; Johnny Esau will be building another covered footbridge near a trailhead at the Reading School. This will be the second authentic-truss covered bridge he will have built at a school site in which student involvement in the construction has been a learning tool for them.
      Rae Laitres spoke out to say that Geometry classes and Vermont History classes would be another avenue that might get students interested in covered bridges. We need to get schools interested in this approach.

A memorial lilac bush is to be planted in the lilac garden at the Bennington Center for the Arts in memory of departed member John Dostal. Irene Barna will contact the Select Plus International Lilac Nursery in Mascouche, QUE from which John Dostal purchased all of the lilacs he planted in the Bennington area.
      Irene mentions that The International Lilac Society has written a resolution in recognition and in honor of the work John Dostal did for the world of lilacs. Irene will contact Frank Moro, owner of Select Plus Nursery, for the purchase of the memorial lilac bush for John. Frank Moro will know John's favorite and the bush can be shipped from their upstate New York nursery for our planting. Frank was saddened to hear of John Dostal's passing and said, he was like a father figure to me.
Future VCBS meeting date: It was decided that April 19 will be the date of the 2008 spring meeting to be held in Middlebury. Irene will hopefully be able to secure the meeting room in the Ilsley Public Library in downtown Middlebury, a site where the VCBS has met in the past.
October 11, 2008 was set as the date for the fall meeting. The town for the location of the meeting was not chosen; but it will be in the northern part of the state.
The date for the Ninth Annual Vermont History Expo in Tunbridge has been set for June 21 and 22, 2008. The VCBS expects to have a booth again at the Expo.

Joe read from an article printed in the Summer 2007 issue of The Bridger in which is mentioned the acquisition of boxes of books and artifacts. There are 50 or so books on the topic of covered bridges. Discussion followed on what to do with these books: whether or not to have a lending library, sell some of them, or what.
      Joe has received a few responses regarding the books:
      From a member (name not declared) was an offer to be volunteer librarian and curator.
      From Bob Durfee: One desire of the Town of Lyndon is to have an interpretive display within the to-be-rehabilitated Randall Covered Bridge. The bridge will be in use as a pedestrian and snowmobile crossing only and the display would feature the five covered bridges in the Lyndon area. He suggested that the VCBS start a library of Covered Bridge books and they be housed in the Lyndon Historical Society Shores Museum in conjunction with that interpretive approach.
      From Bruce Laumeister of the Bennington Center for the Arts offers to take custody of the books, acting as custodian/librarian adding them to the Richard Sanders Allen Research Center (started by John Dostal) housed in the Covered Bridge Museum adjacent to the Center for the Arts. Bruce also mentions storage options are available at the museum. A comment was made that the Center for the Arts is climate controlled, providing a better environment for artifact housing.
      A decision about the books will be made at the next meeting of the VCBS Board of Directors.
      Rae Laitres offered to take charge of the inventory of the crafts materials which were mentioned at the last VCBS meeting.

LEGISLATION WATCH: no report back from Terry Shaw about progress on covered bridge signage.

Joe reports that there are some changes being made in the website Indexing is being added to make the bridges easier to find. The letters page has been given a master index and is operational. A master list to subjects for The Bridger is under construction.
      A master list by county and WGN of all Vermont bridges is on the site. An index for all other bridges on the site will follow.
The Bridger: a new sign-up form was introduced in the Fall issue. Business/Organization/Municipality now has a common check box. "Send my newsletter in PDF format" is now available. "Please send me a membership card" is now an option       The last two items are cost-saving moves. The PDF newsletter saves printing and mailing costs. Membership cards have no real use. Each member may have one; but should have no expiration date, only a "joined" date.

BRIDGE WATCH John Weaver: no report

Roster as brought forward:
President John Weaver
Vice President Joe Nelson
Treasurer Neil Daniels
Secretary Irene Barna

Voting will be done via postcards which will arrive in the mail so that all members have a voice. The cards should arrive in November.

Non-elective positions:
Communications, Crafts, Chair Joe Nelson
Membership Chair Suzanne Daniels
Events Chair Johnny Esau
Legislative Watch Terry Shaw
Bridger Editor Steve Wheaton
Crafts member Rae Laitr

Neil Daniels offered a brief update on the Upper Falls Bridge. He commented that they have been pleased to have had a very conscientious foreman supervising the job. It is expected that the bridge will be open for traffic by Christmas.

There was no old business or new business discussed as such.

Irene Barna, having been the point person for the VCBS participation at the Vermont History Expo, thanked those who pulled together to construct and staff the booth in her unplanned absence.

The business meeting concluded at the readiness of Jan Lewandowski to present a very informative session about the rehabilitations he and his crew have done on many of the covered bridges in the state.
      Upon adjournment members were free to visit all of the covered bridges in the area: the Station Bridge, the Newell Bridge, and the Cox Brook Bridge, and the Slaughterhouse Bridge.
      Marketplace sales were $10, the drawing yielded $38, for a total of $48 toward the Save-a-bridge Fund.
      Thank you to Johnny Esau for finalizing the details our meeting place this morning and for making our default pizza party happen!

Respectfully submitted, Irene Barna, Secretary

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By Winnie Howe

      One of the attractions which Tunbridge, Vermont, has for tourists is its covered bridges. Of the nine bridges which have crossed the First Branch of the White River in Tunbridge, five are still standing. These bridges are still in use and are located on town roads near the public highway.
Mill Bridge. Photo unattributed
Mill Bridge 1960
      All the bridges in Tunbridge, except one, are built on the multiple kingpost plan. The bridge farthest north, the Flint bridge, the oldest in town, was built in 1845 on the queenpost plan.       The bridge near Carpenter's mill, called the Bates bridge, is located about three miles north of Tunbridge village. The first bridge built there was washed out in the spring of 1902 when the wall at one end caved in. The bridge lodged on a neighboring meadow, and some of its timbers were used in building the one which stands at the present time.
      The second was built in the summer of the same year. According to the town report for the year ending February 14, 1903, the new bridge [Larkin] cost $473.23. This price included payment for the worker, which was about $1.50 a day, plus the lumber and other materials used. Arthur C. Adams was the foreman.
      The Hayward and the Noble bridge, or the Mill bridge, which is located near the Tunbridge store, down a short hill on the left side of the road, was built in 1883. The town report for the year ending February 25, 1884, states that this bridge cost $532.93.
      The next bridge which crosses the river as it flows southward is the Cilley bridge, which is about a mile south of Tunbridge village. This bridge was also built in 1883 at a cost, as given in the town report of the year ending February 25, 1884, of $523.35.
howe bridge 1960. Photo unattributed
howe bridge 1960
      About two miles south of Tunbridge village is the Howe bridge, which was built in about 1879 under the supervision of Ira Mudgett and Edward Wells. Chauncey Tenney built the foundation. The lumber used cost nine dollars a thousand board feet. The Howe families who lived across the river had to go up the hill over a side road and down another hill road to reach the main road while the bridge was being built. After the hay was cut, they crossed the river at a fordway, and during the winter they crossed on the ice.
      In several of these bridges there still remain pieces of posters and advertisements which were put there years ago. Kendall's Spavin Cure and Flint's Powders for Horses and Cattle are two of the most frequently seen advertisements. The Tunbridge Mill bridge and the Howe bridge have fragments of circus posters on the inside walls.
      Three of the four bridges no longer in existence were located on the main road, but were replaced by cement bridges which could hold heavier loads. In 1938, the cement bridge which is located at the north end of Tunbridge Village was built; and the covered bridge was torn down because the new one was to be built in the same location.
      The next covered bridge to the south on the main road was called the Cushman bridge. This bridge was removed in about 1937 or 1938 and a cement bridge was built. This covered bridge also was torn down before the new one was built, and traffic had to use a detour.
      The third covered bridge on the main road was located at South Tunbridge. This bridge was left standing and was used while the cement one was being built, as the new one was built in a different location. The cement bridge was built in 1932; the covered bridge probably was torn down the same year.
      The fourth covered bridge no longer standing was located a short distance north of Tunbridge village, and led to a cemetery across the river. This bridge was called the Rowell bridge. It was built in 1900 at a cost of $568.14. Two farmers who lived near it each paid one third of its upkeep and the remaining third was paid by the town. When this bridge was washed out in 1942, it was not replaced. Anyone wishing to reach the cemetery can do so by going down the road a short distance, crossing the cement bridge, turning left at two turns, and returning to the cemetery over a road passing through fields.
      In the past, a sign reading somewhat as follows was placed at the entrance of the bridges: "One dollar fine for a person to drive a horse or other beast faster than a walk or more than one loaded team at the same time on this bridge." After automobiles began to be used, signs reading somewhat like this were posted: "Horses at a walk, motor vehicles ten miles an hour." A copy of the first sign has been made and placed over the entrance of the Mill bridge.
      Because of the speed and weight of modern vehicles, reinforcements have been made to strengthen the bridges; for example, the number of cross pieces of the floor of the Howe bridge has been doubled, iron rods have been used on the sides of the Howe bridge and the Flint bridge to give them strength, and in the Mill bridge, iron rods have been used as braces.
      The Flint bridge was closed for a short time recently because some of the timbers had rotted and needed repair. Traffic which wished to use the bridge had to take a detour through another covered bridge which is in the town of Chelsea. According to the town report for 1958, the cost of this repair work was $2,385.13. Some of the timbers at one end of the Cilley bridge have started to rot also.
      In the earlier times of the covered bridges in Tunbridge, wooden ramps were built at each entrance. These ramps connected the bridge with the road, leaving a space so that dirt was not near the wood; the wood was thus protected from moisture. The Bates bridge is the only one which has these wooden ramps at the present time. Later, cement approaches were made at the entrances of the bridges. These cement approaches made it possible for water to reach the timbers and rot them. Thus the cement approaches are not as protective to the bridge as were the wooden ramps.
      The bridges formerly had shingles on their roofs. Now all the roofs have tin on them, except the north side of the Howe bridge, which still has shingles.
      Many people seem to be interested in these bridges. It is not uncommon to see cars stop and people get out to look at the bridges or to take pictures of them. Pictures of some of the bridges have been painted by artists. The Mill bridge has appeared on a post card, and a picture of the Howe bridge appeared on calenders in 1957. A picture of the Mill bridge was seen in the "Circa-rama" at the International Exposition in Brussels last year. [This lightly edited article first appeared in the Spring 1960 issue of the Connecticut River Valley Covered Bridge Society Bulletin, republished here with permission - Ed.]

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Book Logo

I have been able to find three of the "New Hampshire Covered Bridges, A link with our past," by Richard Marshall. If anyone is interested, they are $20.00 postpaid Priority Mail.

Contact me, Dick Roy,, 73 Ash Street, Manchester, NH 03104

[This book is out of print. A valuable resource, it features a color photo of every covered bridge still existing in New Hampshire, with a history for each accompanied with historic photos. Also featured are location maps, a listing of NH bridges lost with date of build and date lost, when known, and a bibliography - Ed.]

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Bucks County CB Society Founded

Bucks County, PA, October 11, 2007 - The burning and rebuilding of Mood's Bridge in East Rockhill, and the vulnerability of the other covered bridges in the county inspired the founding of a new covered bridge society.
      The new society is chaired by William Wilson, a member of East Rockhill's park and recreation board.
      "Our mission . . . is to preserve the history, character and structure of the bridges," said Wilson, "We want to work to protect them and create public interest in them. They're part of our heritage and we're lucky in Bucks County to have a number of them."
      The Bucks County Covered Bridge Society plans to host a festival in the spring to mark the reopening of the Mood's bridge, and to raise money to fireproof other covered bridges in the county.
      From a total of 36, there are 11 covered bridges dating from the 1800's surviving in Bucks County. The old bridges were lost to the elements, traffic, and modernization, and lately, as with Mood's, to arson.
      The Mood's bridge dedication, tentatively scheduled for April 14, will include a fund-raising festival featuring vendors, chances, prizes and craftspeople demonstrating crafts from yesteryear. It also may include a fund-raising breakfast on the rebuilt bridge.
      The Bucks County Society meets 7 p.m. on the first Tuesday of each month at the East Rockhill Township building, 1622 Ridge Road, Perkasie.
[This item is based on a clipping from the Bucks County Herald sent in by Doris Taylor - Ed.]

The Jay Bridge Dedication
by David and Marikka Guay

Jay Bridge Dedication, Photo by David Guay 10/14/07
Jay Bridge Dedication
Photo by David Guay October 14, 2007

On Sunday, October 14, 2007 there was a festive celebration in the little hamlet of Jay, N.Y.
      I would say over 250 to 300 people came to watch the dedication of the new bridge that is named, "The Essex County Emergency Services Volunteer Memorial Bridge," the new park that was built after the covered bridge was put back over the East Branch of the Ausable River.
      The new park is called, " The Douglas Memorial Park" in honor of two past town supervisors, both from the Douglas family. Then the Jay Covered Bridge (NY-16-01) was dedicated with all the town & county dignitaries present to cut the ribbon.
      It was quite an event. There were children singing a song called "This Is America", and the local American Legion color guard was there. Many of the volunteer emergency companies were present with their vehicles parked on the new bridge overlooking the festivities. When the new bridge was dedicated, many members of the volunteer emergency companies cut a ribbon that was hanging on the side of the bridge next to a very large American Flag.
      Students from Holy Name School led everyone on the Pledge of Allegiance. Representatives of the local Catholic, United Methodist and Baptist churches were on hand to each dedicate the new bridge, the new park and the restored covered bridge.
      The weather was very chilly and cloudy, but not one drop fell to put a damper on this happy occasion. The fall foliage was at or near peak, making the surrounding hills & mountains very beautiful.
      All in all it was a very nice ceremony, and it looked like everyone who attended had a good time. I know we sure did.

Thetford's Sayre's Bridge Open, but . . .

Thetford, October 10, 2007 - After a $814,000 rehabilitation, the Sayre's covered bridge [VT-09-06] on Tucker Hill Road was opened to traffic in September, as scheduled. The tremendously long detour imposed by the work had distanced the community from essential services for five long month's.
      But all is not happy in Thetford: Residents site safety problems for pedestrians. A public meeting held Monday night, October 10, suggested the installation of lighting, painting a pedestrian zone within the bridge, cutting windows into the side of the bridge, cantilevering a walkway on the side of the bridge, and putting a traffic slowing circle on one side of the bridge.
      VTRANS nixed solutions involving changes to the bridge itself because funding was given under the guidelines for the preservation of historical sites. The original bridge did not have windows or a pedestrian walkway and adding them would be "altering the structure," VTRANS said.
      The Thetford Selectboard will continue to study the problem and consult on what changes can be made. Meanwhile, the public are asked to observe the stop signs standing on each end of the bridge. The Thetford police are enforcing traffic laws there.
      Sayre's Bridge, 134-feet long, was built c1839 to cross the Ompompanoosuc River in one span using what has been called a Haupt truss with arch. The mid-stream pier was added in 1963.
      The waterpower provided by the river in this place once served eight sawmills, four gristmills, a straw-board and paper mill, two flannel factories, a carriage shop and bedstead factory, an edge tool and trip-hammer works, and the Sayre Brothers furniture mill.

The Coulée-Carrier Bridge Lost
by Gerald Arbour

The Coulée-Carrier Bridge in Quebec, Matane County (61-42-03) was washed away last night (Friday, November 16, 2007). Heavy rains in a very short period of time raised the Matane River water level and the bridge was washed away and completely destroyed. Plans were underway to move this bridge closer to the former Durette Covered Bridge (61-42-02) site to be used as an access to a golf club. A few years ago, the bridge was almost lost due to high water. Heavy equipment was on the site to destroy the old wooden bridge and protect the new concrete bridge. Both were pretty close. I don't know yet if this is what happened last night.

Gilkey Covered Bridge Damaged by Truck
by Trish Kane

Gilkey Bridge. Photo by Bill Cockeell, Sept. 27, 2007
Gilkey Bridge OR-22-04
Photo by Bill Cockeell, Sept. 27, 2007

SCIO, Ore., Sept. 18, 2007 Well folks, sometimes we just have to shake our heads and wonder what people are thinking.
      Yesterday, we received a card from our dear friend Bill Cockrell in Oregon. In it, he shared this photo of the Gilkey Covered Bridge. He writes that a farm implement truck nearly destroyed this bridge last week. It sped through the bridge with its rear boom up and extended. All the upper bracing was broken and even a diagonal in the truss was destroyed. The bridge will be closed for a month or more.
      The truck took out some of the bridge's support beams, making the bridge structurally unsound, according to investigators. It will be closed for the next month. The driver of the truck will be ticketed, according to deputies. Alcohol was not a factor.
      "The trucking company has insurance," emailed Bill Cockrell, "so the bridge will be repaired."
      The 120-foot Gilkey Bridge, OR-22-04, was built in 1939 using the Howe Truss to span Thomas Creek
      For details and more photos, go to

Knecht's Bridge Burners Sentenced

Bucks County, PA, November 14, 2007 - The four arsonists responsible for firing Knecht's Covered Bridge were sentenced today after their guilty pleas were accepted by Bucks County Judge Albert Cepparulo.
      Matthew J. Tearney, 19, of Trumbauersville, and a former volunteer fireman, received 11 ½ to 23 months in county prison, followed by four years of probation during which he is to get a GED, complete anger management and drug and alcohol treatment, and a full-time job.
      Felicia M. Piepszowski, 20, of Pennsburg will serve six to 23 months in jail, followed by four years of probation during which she must take anger management classes.
      Tomas J. Markley, 19, of Trumbauersville was sentenced to 18 months to three years in jail, followed by four years of probation during which he is to get a GED, complete anger management and drug and alcohol treatment, and a full-time job.
      Because he did not participate in the barn burning near an occupied dwelling, Randy G. Malady, 19, of Pottstown received a time-served to 23-month sentence. A former volunteer fireman, Malady must serve three years of probation, complete an anger management course and get drug and alcohol treatment, and full-time employment.
      Each defendant was ordered to pay $7,362 in restitution and perform 250 hours of community service. A fifth defendant, Seventeen-year-old Hector Ross, was tried in juvenile court.
      The arsonists first attempted to burn the bridge with fireworks, and then the following day, May 23, used hay bales. Fireworks and flares were used to start other fires - during the week of the Knecht's Bridge fire, they burned a woodpile and a barn in Milford, and a Dumpster in Quakertown.. The bridge suffered $40,000 in damage
      The four arsonists apologized for their crimes. Three of the four admitted to have been under the influence of drugs and alcohol at the time.
      The 110-foot Knecht's Bridge was built in Springfield in 1873 to span Cooks Creek using a Town truss. It is one of eleven covered bridges surviving in the county. A twelfth, Mood Bridge in East Rockhill, was destroyed in 2004.
[This item based on an article found on by VCBS Reporter Tom Keating]

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CB Fiction or Fact Logo

Question #5 - What is your favorite Covered Bridge and why?
Compiled by Bob & Trish Kane

Knight's Ferry Bridge
Knight's Ferry, CA 05-50-01
Postcard from the Richard Donovan/Trish Kane

Joseph Conwill, ME - I had plenty of time to think about this one. I'll be very interested to read what the other people say.
      My favorite covered bridge is the Knight's Ferry Bridge of Stanislaus County, California. Though I'm very interested in engineering history, I'm also highly interested in the aesthetic and humanistic aspects of the sites. My memories here date mainly from the mid-1970 when I was working in California and visited Knight's Ferry many times. The bridge sits in the midst of a lovely Old West grassy landscape next to the ruins in Tulloch Mill. At some bridges, solitude is an appeal, but here it was usually busy. There were often people splashing happily in the Stanislaus River under the bridge, or otherwise enjoying the site; and it added to the appeal to know the place was loved. I especially recall the spicy aroma of the dry grass in the summer heat. Since it can get to 110 degrees here, the shade of the bridge interior was welcome.
      The central focus was really the bridge itself, and if it had been a fake bridge, or a real one badly bunged up, there would have been little appeal to the site. But what made it extra special was the sum total of all aspects of the surroundings. As our countryside gets ever more suburbanized, I find the covered bridges less attractive, and I hope Knight's Ferry is still as special as it was thirty-plus years ago.

Ashuelot Bridge
Ashuelot/Upper Village, NH 29-03-02
Photo by Robert Durfee

Robert Durfee, NH - My favorite Covered Bridge is the Ashuelot Covered Bridge over the Ashuelot River in Winchester, NH.
      It is a Town Lattice structure, built in 1864. The roof is painted red, the timbers (trusses and siding) are painted white, offering a picturesque setting. With limited siding, the trusses are exposed, and the entire visual experience is one of an open, airy and bright structure. It is one of only a few bridges with two covered sidewalks, one on each side. It still retains almost all of its original fabric (trusses, sidewalks, deck and stone abutments and pier). There have been no significant alterations to the bridge, other than placing some concrete around the footings. The bridge still carries vehicle traffic, with a 6 ton weight limit.
      The bridge was faithfully rehabilitated and restored in 1999, and received the first ever Palladio Award in 2003.

Jon Bright Bridge
Jon Bright, OH 35-23-10
Postcard from the Richard Donovan/Trish Kane

Miriam Wood, OH - I have to say that my favorite Covered Bridge of all is the John Bright Bridge. From the first time I saw it, I knew it was something very special. Research into the CBs of Fairfield County told me the whole story of this unique structure and I knew I had been right all along. On its original site, there was an old Walnut tree close by at the east end. One memorable fall Sunday afternoon we took the children down there and picked walnuts. The kids and Dick had walnut stains all over them. Such a simple thing, but such a good memory. I am so thankful that Ohio U. agreed to take that old bridge and renovate it. And also its 'cousin' the steel John Bright Bridge. What a great setting they have on the campus!

Sunday River Bridge
Truss at Sunday River Covered Bridge, ME 19-09-14
Photo by Trish Kane

Bob & Trish Kane, N - You would think that being New Yorker's our answer would most certainly be a NY Covered Bridge. Although we have some lovely historic bridges, including the Hyde Hall and the Blenheim, our favorite covered bridge is actually the Sunday River Bridge in Newry, Maine. And, our reason for it being so will no doubt surprise you. We visited this bridge in July 2000 and found its surroundings to be very peaceful and quaint and exactly where one would expect to find a covered bridge. As I was taking photographs at one end of the bridge, Bob called me to come see what was carved into one of the truss members at the other end of the bridge. Although I was right in the middle of getting my tripod set up and loading my camera, I walked down to see what the excitement was all about. Low and behold someone had carved the word Kane, and below that, the number 68! What a coincidence for us to be visiting this bridge and to see our name carved into the truss (something we would never do, mind you!) but what was even more amazing is that 1968 was the year we were married! I immediately took a photo of it which is now displayed on our refrigerator. We love to tell our guests the story behind this photo. Bob and I have decided that we would like our ashes scattered at this bridge, but don't tell anyone—I'm sure there is some environmental code or law prohibiting this!

Blenheim Bridge
Blenheim Bridge, NY 32-47-01
Photo by Trish Kane

Jan Lewandoski, V - That is a difficult question and of course I've only seen around 200 bridges out of the larger population. However, I favor the Blenheim Bridge built in 1855 in North Blenheim, NY for the following reasons:
1. Its successful long span: 228 ft. in a single span with 1 inch of positive camber remaining. It is now by passed by a three span steel bridge. This is the gold standard for wooden bridges.
2. Sophistication of design: It is a Long truss variant modified by its builder, the illustrious Nichols Powers of Brandon, VT. It is double barreled and the 25 ft. tall central truss clasps an arch composed of three lines of stacked 10" x 11" timbers with adequate arching to avoid flattening (or hardly working at all as is the case with so many plank arches). It has posts and braces sized differently in almost every panel, to reflect loading and reduce unneeded dead load. Even the panel point spacing varies to reflect load. Consequently this was a very complicated bridge to construct since few parts are truly repetitive, i.e. if you vary panel spacing you vary the angle at which each brace meets the bearing shoulders of its posts. The designer of this bridge, likely Powers himself, had to on hand providing this complex layout at all times.
3. Fascinating joinery: Powers was good enough to make the difficult seem ordinary: there are 54 bolt-of-lightning splices in the bottom chords. He could deviate from typical practice when he wanted to: Some of the central truss's counterbraces are tenoned into and wedged into compression against the arch itself. I've looked at a lot of timber structures worldwide, notably in England, China and Russia, and many countries have remarkable frames, bridges, towers, roof systems, temples, that they are justly proud of. However, I believe that Blenheim is the most ambitious surviving work of timber construction in history.

Walkerville Bridge
Walkerville Covered Bridge, IN 14-72-04x
Photo from the Mel Davies collection courtesy of
Ron Branson

Ron Branson, IN - It's also difficult for me to pick one single favorite, but if I break out into categories it's a little easier...
      If I think about the best covered bridge story, the community effort to rebuild the Bridgeton Covered Bridge (for less than $300K) brings that new structure to mind
      If I think of standing bridges, I'd have to pick the Jackson Covered Bridge (also in Parke County) because of it's unique height required to match the span of the huge single Burr arch—a $1.4 million renovation project is nearing completion on this structure (may not get it done by the time the festival starts on the 12th of this month but working hard to get there)—one of the local photographers has posted a photo essay of the renovation progress by making regular updates to show the changes—it's been a wonderful process to watch and you can see it at: Chris (the photographer) also documented the construction of the Bridgeton Covered Bridge too:
      Of the structures no longer standing, I'd have to pick the Walkerville Covered Bridge, which was built by the Kennedy family. My favorite feature is the arcaded ceiling over both walkways and the roadway.

Sylvain Raymond, (ATAWALK) Canada - Sorry, but in all fairness, I don't have ONE favorite bridge, or if I did, it was demolished in 1965! You can still see it actually on the opening page of It was the village bridge at St-Méthode over the Ticouapé River in Roberval County, Québec.

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VCBS gives course at ILEAD
by Suzanne Daniels

From September to November 2007, Joe Nelson (.V. President) and Neil Daniels (Treasurer) presented six lectures, entitled Spanning Time: Vermont's Covered Bridges at Dartmouth College's Institute of Lifelong Education at Dartmouth (ILEAD) in Hanover, NH.
      Thirteen participants signed up in August to attend the six, two-hour classes covering aspects of the covered bridges of Vermont using "Spanning Time; Vermont's Covered Bridges" as the class textbook.
      The course described and illustrated different aspects of covered bridges, beginning with a slide tour of the Lamoille County bridges, explaining terminology and vocabulary; introducing the types of bridges, i.e.: Town lattice, King Post, Multiple King Post, and Queen Post; and methods of construction. Slides were also used extensively to introduce the participants to the actual component parts as exhibited in various bridges described and illustrated in the textbook. The textbook was used as well, to determine where the different types of bridges are located.
      In session three, Joe showed slides of the Gristmill Bridge being taken apart, being repaired and reassembled. In session four, Neil showed photographs of the Upper Falls bridge actually under repair and used them to explain the procedures required prior to removing the sections to be replaced.
      Also covered were how to protect covered bridges against fire and vandalism, and the rules for the preservation of historic sites.
      In the final session, the class asked if there is an organization associated with Vermont Covered Bridges—Joe happened to have membership folders available to hand out! Because of the interest expressed by the class throughout, they asked if a field trip could be arranged. An unplanned visit to the Upper Falls bridge, led by Neil Daniels, was added to the series.
      It was a most impressive series of classes due to the thoroughness and the interest of the instructors, the logical arrangement of the engineering concepts, and the continued interest on the part of the students.
[Suzanne Daniels, VCBS chair of the Membership Committee, proposed the course to ILEAD, and it was added to the fall 2007 curriculum - Ed.]

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My Vermont Trip
by Richard St. Peter

Richard StPeter at Warren, Vt.
Richard StPeter at the Lincoln Gap Bridge, Warren, Vt.

      It has been a while since I have visited Vermont, so in October I decided to head up from Virginia and photograph some covered bridges, fall foliage and enjoy being back to my roots--having been born in Vermont.
      Since I drove up from Virginia I entered the state in Bennington and photographed the three covered bridges there, then I traveled over to Brattleboro, up to Springfield, continued on to White River, then traveled west on Route 4 through Woodstock, finally arriving and staying in Rutland for a couple of days.
      I then left heading south on route 7 toward Manchester, and Sunderland before leaving Vermont by Rt 313 west and photographing my final bridge in West Arlington. If you look at a Vermont map, you can see how I made a big loop through the state. In these travels I was able to photograph 16 covered bridges.
      I also visited and photographed Texas Falls, Moss Glen Falls, and Kent Pond. The photos were taken using my digital Nikon SLR. I also used my Nikon 6006 for film coverage. My wife, also a photographer, traveling with me photographed using her digital Nikon, and her medium format Hasselblat. We have both been photographing for about 40 years.
      I didn't get many photographs of fall foliage. I was apparently too early since I was doing my traveling over October 5 through 8. However, it was a relaxing, enjoyable trip and enjoyable just being back in Vermont.
[Richard, now residing in Virginia, has been a VCBS member since December 12, 2000 - Ed.]

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Notice Logo

Transportation Needed
      We have some members who have faithfully attended society meetings for many years. These folks have contributed mightily to our success and have long been part of what we do, but unfortunately they now lack the means to join our gatherings, events that have long been part of their lives.
      There are three members in Lyndon and another in Shelburne who would come to our meetings if they could find a way.       If you can provide transportation for our friends, please contact me: Joe Nelson, 802.899.2093, or

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Membership Logo

by Trish Kane

      Winter has arrived in Vermont and it is such a pretty time of year to take photographs of our covered bridges. I hope you have the opportunity to get out and enjoy our bridges covered with snow.
      It is always nice to be able to report new members joining the Vermont Covered Bridge Society. For this quarter, we welcome Larry Hess from Troy, OH; Ron Evans from E. Clarendon, VT and Glen Hall of Kingston, Ontario, Canada. A warm Vermont welcome to each of you!
      By the time you receive this issue of The Bridger, Christmas will be just around the corner. For those of you who would like to do a little last minute shopping, why not consider giving a gift certificate for a membership to the Vermont Covered Bridge Society? We also have some lovely covered bridge gift items on our website which you can view by visiting: All proceeds from the sale of these items support the mission of the Vermont Covered Bridge Society – to help preserve our covered bridges. A covered bridge book and/or a membership make lovely gifts and are another great way to promote our covered bridges.

You Still Have Time!

      Don't forget the Early Renewal Contest for 2008. All you have to do is pay your membership fee before the December 31st deadline. By doing so, you will qualify for a chance at a nice gift. For more information, see complete details in the Fall 2007 newsletter.

Special Notice to Our Members
      If you are like many of us, you belong to many covered bridge organizations and have probably accumulated a drawer full of membership cards. Although they do indicate you are a member of a specific society, quite honestly, we have never once actually used any of our membership cards. It costs the Society a substantial sum to produce and mail these cards, even more so with the recent increase in postage. We feel these costs could be better utilized in other areas of covered bridge preservation and thus, have opted to discontinue sending membership cards to our members. However, we will be more than happy to send you one if you specifically request it. We hope you can appreciate and understand this change in our policy.

Moving On

      Five years ago I was asked to fill the position of Membership Coordinator for the Vermont Covered Bridge Society. It has been a wonderful experience and I can't tell you how much I have enjoyed working with the officers and members of this society. They are truly a great group of folks dedicated to the preservation of our covered bridges. Members of this society are very fortunate to have this wonderful leadership

      It is with regret that I announce that this will be my last membership column for the Society. With that being said, I am hoping there is someone out there who would be willing to step up to the plate and take on this position. I am more then willing to assist in the transition in any way I can. Please consider helping the society by volunteering for this position. I know the officers would appreciate the assistance.

      Bob and I send along our warmest wishes for a wonderful and healthy holiday season to you and your families.

            Trish Kane, Membership Coordinator

Update from the Nominating Committee
      In late October, 155 letters and ballots were sent out to each membership in the Society. If you did not receive you ballot, please be sure to let us know. As of this writing, only 43 of these ballots have been returned. Please remember, it is very important that you return your ballots. If you have not done so, please drop them in the mail as soon as possible. Thanks!

Upcoming Birthdays and Anniversaries
  1	Terry and Jane Shaw
  6	Priscilla O'Reilly
20	Ben and June Evans
23	Ed Barna
24	Tina Conn
24	Dave and Marikka Guay
25	Ann Ovitt
26	Virginia Brackett
27	Steve and Susan Miyamoto
27	Dan Brock
28 	Anthony and Pat Daniels
31	Ben Evans
  4	Don Prideaux
  4	Marclay and Thomas Davis
12	Jim Patch
15	Dan Castellini
29	Bill Jeffrey
  2	Bill Caswell
  8	Conrad Nagengast
  8	Arletta and Albert Allen
12	Joe and Ruth Nelson
14	George and Tina Conn
14	Robert Cassidy
21	George Longenecker
21	Jean Carrington
23	Pauline Prideaux
24 	Marge Converse
24	John Weaver
26	David Guay

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Letters Logo

Mood Bridge. Photo by Doris Taylor
November, 2007
Mood Bridge WGN 38-09-07
Photo by Doris Taylor, Nov. 8, 2007

November 13, 2007
Hi Mr. Nelson:
      I've enclosed several photos of the construction of Mood's Covered Bridge. I'll send you some more photos as the work progresses.
      In some of the November 5th shots, you can see the other truss still laying on its side on the deck.
      Since I live so close to Mood's bridge (walking distance), I go to check on it at least twice a week or more. When I was there this past Sunday, not much had changed from the November 8th photos, but when I stopped there very late yesterday afternoon, they had the rafters finished and were starting to cover them, so I'll try to get down there today to get more photos.
      I don't want to miss anything. Happy Bridging, Doris Taylor
[To view more of Doris Taylors photos, go to - Ed.]

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Events Logo

Happy Thanksgiving!
Events! Events! Events!

Mark your calendars!!!

  • The 9th Annual Spring VCBS meeting will be held at the Ilsley Library in Middlebury, Vermont on April 19, 2008. More information will follow about who our speaker will be in the Spring Issue of the Bridger.
          There will be coffee, tea and snacks to be had during our meeting. Lunch will be Pizza. Water and Soda will be provided. You can bring your own lunch or there are plenty of places to eat in Middlebury.
  • VERMONT HISTORY EXPO 2008 will be held the weekend of June 21st-22nd, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., at the Tunbridge World's Fair Grounds. "For the sixth year, the State Chamber of Commerce has designated the Vermont History Expo as a ‘Vermont Top Ten Summer Event.' "
  • Our 9th Annual Fall VCBS Meeting will be held on October 11, 2008. There will be more information in the Spring Issue of the Bridger.

Events' Committee Notes:
Thanks to everyone who helped out at the Northfield meeting. If you have any comments about the meetings this year, please let me know. You can e-mail me at . or write Johnny Esau, PO Box 12, Windsor, Vermont 05089

Johnny Esau, Chair, Events Committee

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President's Logo

In the past 12 months I have received some very interesting and comprehensive semi-annual Bridge-Watch inspection reports and pictures from Jack Tecce regarding Union and Sayres covered bridges in Thetford. Also received were two comprehensive reports from Ron Bechard regarding the Poland covered bridge in Cambridge, as well as reports from Bill Carroll regarding Victorian Village, Worrall, Bartonsville, Macmillan, and Kidder Hill covered bridges.
      It is good to hear from these folks and all of you who have been (past and presently) involved with Bridge-Watch reporting. Keep up the excellent work.

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MIA Logo

     The goals of our organization is the return of all LIVE American POW/MIAs, repatriation of the remains of those who have died, and explanations for cases where the two options do not exist.
     Great attention is paid to maintaining physical reminders of the issue's continued significance. The international logo's appearance on flags, pins, decals, articles of clothing, and accessories bolsters awareness. Wearing POW/MIA bracelets honors those individuals who still wait and evokes conversations on the issue.
     We are involved in presentations with schools, veterans' organizations, and through a broad spectrum of events allowing us to convey our concerns to the public. We are involved in the legislative process, as we attempt to provide protection for those who serve our Country, and for their families and loved ones should loss occur. We attempt to address the needs of families and returned POW/MIAs, and assist in coordinating activities with associated groups and promoting information flow.
     We are a volunteer organization, veterans and non-veterans, using awareness, communication, education, legislation, and compassion to assuage the pain associated with one of the most devastating outcomes of service to one's Country. As we honor POW/MIAs, returned and still waiting to come home, we aggressively pursue means to return the missing and protect those serving.
     Don Amorosi, NY Chair Vets Serving Vets 1-518-792-2057

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Joe Nelson, P.O Box 267, Jericho, VT 05465-0267
This file posted March 13, 2001