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Winter 2008


Haunted Bridges?
Montgomery's West Hill Bridge Rehab Begun
A New "Romantic Shelter"
Ninth Annual Fall Meeting
Question 9 – How should authenticity of a cb be determined?
Covered Bridge News Notes
President's Column
Membership Column
Historical Committee Report
Events Committee - Mark Your Calendars

Haunted Bridges?

The dark little Gold Brook Bridge (VT-08-12) crosses Gold Brook at a busy joining of well-kept country roads. The impression of darkness comes from the walnut-stained gable ends, but there is also a dark side to the bridge's history. For this is Emily's Bridge, haunted by a locally famous ghost.
      Many stories have been told about why poor Emily doesn't rest in peace. Perhaps the most popular legend has it that in the middle 1800s, Emily, a farmer's daughter, was deserted by her lover. Despairing and, sadly, in a family way, she hanged herself in the bridge. Her ghost has been seen on moonlighted midsummer nights, wandering through the bridge looking for her man.
      A more menacing story told about the bridge some years ago came from a tourist who drove through the bridge late one summer night and found claw marks on the driver's side of his car the next morning.
      According to a long-time resident of the area, Emily's true story was that she was one of a young couple traveling Gold Brook Road by horse and buggy. The rig struck a culvert and Emily was thrown out and hurt. The couple sued the town but the matter was settled out of court.
      Then there is the story of the Gudgeon covered bridge (PA-25-03). In 1855 a peddler from Kentucky was crossing the bridge on his mule-drawn wagon when a steamboat passed under blasting the neighborhood with calliope music, "My Old Kentucky Home." The mule bolted and died on the bridge.
The peddler buried his mule by the bridge portal with its name on a marker, Gudgeon. The bridge became known as Gudgeon's Bridge, and the town near the bridge, Gudgeonville. Since then there have been stories of a muleghost walking the bridge.
      The truth of the story is that the calliope wasn't playing "My Old Kentucy home" At all. It was "Camptown Races."
      Dear reader. If you have a story about a haunted bridge, please share it with us. Contact the Bridger at

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Montgomery's West Hill Bridge Rehab Begun
WGN VT-06-09

Creamery Bridge. Photo by Joe Nelson
November 12, 2008
The Creamery bridge has been lifted onto steel scaffolding to enable rehab of the floor system and lower chords

Montgomery, VT, November 18, 2008 - Alpine Construction, of Stillwater, New York, began work on Montgomery's Creamery Bridge on West Hill in mid September. The Contract completion date is July 31, 2009. The winning bid was $598,632.30.
Built in 1883 by Savanna and Sheldon Jewett, the 59-foot Town truss bridge spans the West Hill Brook above a waterfall.
When the bridge was new, West Hill was a busy place. Besides the Jewett family farm and dimension lumber mill, there were forty-nine active farms. A creamery stood just east of the bridge, and there was a furniture factory in the lower West Hill Brook gorge.
Structural problems forced closure of the bridge in the summer of 1994. An inspection team recommended interim rehabilitation to avoid collapse of the structure under its own weight and snow loading. The bridge was closed with concrete barriers. Over time water washing down into the bridge from the east end contributed to the rotting of the floor and floor timbers.
There are two roads leaving the south side of Route 118 west of Montgomery Village, one at each end of a cement bridge. One is named West Hill Road and the other is Hill West Road—perhaps some Yankee humor is at work here. Creamery Bridge Road joins both roads. However, the east approach (Hill West Road end) has long been impassable due to wash-out.

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A New "Romantic Shelter"
Hitchcock-Cormier Covered Bridge

Hitchcock-Cormier Covered Bridge. Photo by Ray 
Hitchcock-Cormier Covered Bridge.
Photo by Ray Hitchcock

Cambridgeport, VT, October 3, 2008 - A new covered bridge stands off Atcherson Hollow Road. Crossing a "year-around brook," the truss length is 21' 6" with a portal measuring 7' x 7'. "This bridge was based on the Ithiel Town concept for the lattice trusses," wrote owner-builder Ray Hitchcock. The bridge was designed by his friend, Gerry Cormier.
"The bridge was built like an erector set and was assembled one component at a time after all the pieces were cut and drilled," Hitchcock explains. "While the design is fairly true to the town lattice design it is constructed with treated pine and bolts rather than the original materials. The lattice pieces and the chords are constructed with 2 X 6's.
"Family and neighbors were involved throughout the project which made it especially fun. The bridge is being used to access to property across the brook for a tractor and ATVs.
"Gerry Cormier says that once he knew what Town did and where the strength came from, he used straight math principles and his Corps of Engineer training for the design, built the model, and figured out the amount of camber needed by trial and error on the trusses of a smaller bridge he designed in Cabot, Arkansas. He provided the design and dimensions of pieces, corresponding by emails as the building process began."
[For the story and photos, go to and click on "A New Romantic Shelter".]

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Bellows Falls, VT, October 11, 2008

VCBS Fall Meeting. Photo by Joe Nelson, October 11, 2008
VCBS Fall Meeting, Rockingham Public Library
Photo by Joe Nelson, October 11, 2008

President John Weaver called the business meeting to order in the Rockingham Public Library in Bellows Falls at 11:15 a.m. Sixteen people were in attendance. Because there was much business to be discussed; John asked that we simply refer to the minutes of the last meeting, as published in The Bridger, Fall 2008 issue. Revisions and corrections were requested.
     A motion to accept as printed was made by Wil Thompson and seconded by Rae Laitres.
Treasurer's Report as read by Joe Nelson in the absence of Treasurer Neil Daniels:
Total expense January 1, 2008 through September 17, 2008:
     Total income........$2,132.34
     Total expense.......$2,576.82
     Checking balance....$4,997.45
     SAB Fund............$4,765.00 (Save-a-Bridge Fund)
     Neil has issued a check for $300 to the Lyndon Historical Society for the preservation of the Randall Bridge. This money was donated by friends of the late Katherine Ramsey with the request that it be donated in her name.
     Neil also issued a check for $50.00 to Johnny Esau to be donated to the Rockingham Free Library for use of the meeting space.
Historical Committee - Warren Tripp has cataloged the books donated to the society and has announced that the VCBS Library is now open to all members in good standing. A PDF version of the book list has been distributed to the membership with borrowing instructions. Hard copies of the list are available upon request. Warren has done an excellent job of writing a critique for each book.
     Eric Tobin has donated his painting of the Cambridge Junction Bridge to the Society and has given his permission for us to sell prints of his work. Visions of Vermont Art Gallery of Jeffersonville, owned by members Terry and Jane Shaw, are holding the painting and selling the prints and are refusing to charge the Society for their service. Print costs have been $609.53 to date, beginning in November, 2004. Terry and Jane have made us $804.30 in sales for a net profit of $236.77.
Communications Committee - Steve Wheaton, editor of our quarterly newsletter, The Bridger, has resigned. He has been accepted into a post-graduate program and will no longer have the time to devote to the newsletter. We thank Steve for the excellent work he has done for us and wish him success. Consequently, there is an opening for a volunteer to serve as editor of our newsletter. Job requirements are access to a computer word processor and an e-mail connection. Steve is a resident of California.
Video Project - Ellen Everitz is doing the up-front work checking out video producers to determine feasibility. She will report her findings to the Board of Directors. Should creating a covered bridge video project prove potentially viable to produce revenue for covered bridge preservation, we will need volunteers to form a group to make it happen.
Bridge Watch - John Weaver reports that there are a number of ongoing projects—two in Montgomery and one in Fairfield that have been under his supervision. In Randolph, the Braley Bridge rehabilitation project had a target completion date of the end of September. He has received several reports of excellent rehabilitation projects going on at the present.
Old Business - Irene Barna reports that payment has been made for the lilac bush, cultivar Krasavitsa Moskvy, (John's favorite) to be planted at the Center for the Arts in Bennington as a VCBS memorial to member, John Dostal. Frank Moro at the Select Plus Lilacs in Mascouche, Quebec, Canada is shipping the lilac to Bennington, at no shipping costs to VCBS—his gift in remembrance of John. John purchased all of the lilacs he planted in Bennington from Frank Moro and Frank says, "He was like a father to me."
     Bruce Laumeister, CEO, CTC Corporation, Chair, Bennington Center for the Arts writes that a beautiful laser etched glass plaque is being mounted in front of the historic "Benning Wentworth" lilac, which is planted near the front entrance to the Center and Covered Bridge Museum. The plaque will have John's picture and a short history of his accomplishments in Bennington.
New Business - A letter from Dick Boera for the Lyndon Historical Society was received acknowledging the receipt of the $300 check from VCBS in memory of Mrs. Ramsey. The check has been deposited with the Town of Lyndon in their special Lyndon Heritage Fund (an escrow account) earmarked for the restoration of the Randall Bridge. He points out that this was to prevent the money from being co-mingled with the Lyndon Society's general fund He thanks the VCBS for substantive support!
     Dick Boera of Lyndon also made the VCBS aware that funds available are short by a little more than $1,000 and has hopes that that amount will be found. John Weaver mentions that the $300 donated to the VCBS by friends of the late Katherine Ramsey were stipulated that these funds be used on a project in memory of Katherine. The Board of Directors had pledged a total of $600 at the February meeting. It was proposed that the total be increased by an additional $400. David Wright moved that this additional $400 be offered and was seconded by Ed Barna. The motion was amended by David Wright and seconded by Bruce Wagner to clarify that the additional $400 is to be used for the restoration project itself rather than the engineering study. There were no nay votes.
     A proposal by President John Weaver that, in appreciation of services rendered: serving as Registered Agent of the VCBS; regularly serving on the budget committee; serving as chair of the Legislation Committee; and for merchandising the Eric Tobin prints without fee, that Terry and Jane Shaw be awarded a Life Couple membership. A motion was made by David Wright and seconded by Bill Caswell to award Terry and Jane Shaw a Life-Couple Membership for their service. There were no nay votes.
     A request in a letter from Jim Kraus of the Indiana Covered Bridge Society asks for monetary support for the rebuilding of the Moscow Covered Bridge in Indiana which was destroyed by a tornado this past summer. It is estimated that $200,000 will need to be raised in addition to government money which may be available. David Wright added that Engineer Jim Barker has been selected to design the rebuild using as much of the salvaged material as possible. It should be mentioned that in his letter requesting monetary support, Jim Kraus, writes, "and I, as a member (of the VCBS), so move that the Vermont Covered Bridge Society should make as large a donation as possible, as soon as possible, to the Moscow Covered Bridge Restoration Fund."
     Question was raised if the VCBS typically gives money for out-of-state projects. David Wright tells that the National Society for the Preservation of Covered Bridges had pledged $500 for the engineering study. Discussion followed as to whether there is a precedent for money going out-of-state. Currently there is $400 voted for the Randall Bridge and $1000 pledged to the Hectorville Bridge. $500 was discussed –Johnny Esau thinking $500. David Wright asked how much money comes in to VCBS annually for preservation. The reply was about $2000. The question was raised "Do we want to start a precedent for out-of-state monetary support?" David Wright amended Jim Kraus's written motion that $250 be sent to the Indiana Covered Bridge Society. The amended motion was seconded by Joe Nelson. Rae Laitres felt that $250 was more appropriate. The motion carried.
     The VCBS Board of Directors voted to change the membership dues at the Annual Director's Meeting: Individual, Family, and Student dues will remain the same: $10, $15, and $8 respectively. Dues for non-profit organizations will be reduced from $25 annually to $15 annually. Dues for life memberships will be increased from $100 to $150, dues for Life Couple will be increased from $115 to $200. These changes will go into effect Midnight, January 1, 2009.
     Why should our membership dues be revised? The costs of nearly everything is increasing, especially postal rates. The leadership of the VCBS has looked at what other covered bridge societies are charging and what our life membership dues are yielding over time. Other organizations charge $200 and up. Our life membership is so inexpensive, more and more members are opting for it to save the hassle of renewing annually. If everyone becomes a life member, our dues resource could ultimately trickle to insignificance. With the changes, our rates remain consistent with other covered bridge organizations.
     The National Society for the Preservation of Covered Bridges has recently revised its dues upward, effective January 1, 2008: Annual $20 (was individual or family $15), Student $5 (unchanged), Single Life $350 (was $250), Mr. & Mrs. Life $400 (was $300), Corporate $1000 (was $500).
     The New York State Covered Bridge Society current membership dues are: Single $10, Family $10 + $1/additional family member, Single Lifetime $150, Family Lifetime $200. No business or organization, or Municipality rates offered.
     The Ohio Historic Bridge Association dues currently are: Senior (age 55+) $8, Student, $8, Single $10, Family $20, Contributing $24, Supporting $40, Life $250, no Business, Organization, or Municipality rates offered.
     The Oregon Covered Bridge Society 2007 membership dues are: $15 for black and white Bridge Tenders, $20 for full color.
     No other business to be brought forward; the meeting adjourned at 11:50 and was followed by the presentation by David Wright, President of The National Society for the Preservation of Covered Bridges: "Once you saw a lot of them—now you don't." [sic] a very informative presentation about the number of covered bridges that had once existed.
     Johnny Esau, Events Chair, again, supplied those present with pizza and other goodies. THANK YOU, Johnny.
     Respectfully submitted, Irene Barna, Secretary

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CB Fiction or Fact Logo

Question number 9 – How should authenticity of a covered bridge be determined?

James Garvin, NH - This is a very momentous question, and one that causes much soul-searching in the preservation, engineering, and contracting fields.
     The field of historic preservation uses its own terminology, and the word "authentic" is seldom used. In a sense, everything is authentic; it is what it is, and the discipline of studying an artifact is to determine as fully as possible just what it is.
     When they are affected by federal funding or federal permits, covered bridges must be evaluated under the discipline of standards that have been developed and refined over several decades by the National Park Service. These standards are called The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties.
     Application of these standards is mandatory whenever a covered bridge is affected by a federal permit, or when federal funding is applied to a covered bridge. The standard that is most often applied to covered bridges is the Standard for Rehabilitation, since maintaining a bridge in vehicular use usually requires some adaptation to the structure as it stood before commencement of the project. We in the preservation community wish that more covered bridges could be treated under the Standards for Preservation, but this is usually possible only when a bridge is already in excellent condition or when it is subject to very gentle uses.
     One big problem with the Secretary's Standards is that they were written more with regard to buildings than to engineering structures. This fact was confronted at the First National Best Practices Conference for Covered Bridges, cosponsored by the University of Vermont and held in Burlington in June 2003. That conference adopted the Burlington Charter for the Preservation of Historic Covered Bridges. As you will see at the end of the Burlington Charter, the conference requested the National Park Service to develop guidelines that apply and adapt the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties to historic covered bridges in a manner consistent with the goals and objectives listed in the Charter. Instead of using the term "authenticity" of a covered bridge, the preservation field is required to evaluate what is called the "integrity" of a covered bridge.
     Federal standards define seven ways of regarding or evaluating integrity: Integrity of; 1. Location, 2. Design, 3. Setting, 4. Materials, 5. Workmanship, 6. Feeling, and, 7. Association.
     Some of these aspects of integrity are subjective; especially integrity of feeling and association. For this reason, the focus of preservationists when contemplating the treatment of a covered bridge usually centers on maximum retention of integrity of design, materials, and workmanship. What this means in practice is that preservationists must argue for retention of as much as possible of the original or otherwise significant materials of a bridge, including preservation of the texture of those materials, which reveals the method of preparation (hewing, sawing), and preservation of their joinery or other structural attributes. Preservationists must also argue for preservation of the original or early aspects of design of a bridge. Note that these Standards call for understanding and preserving "changes that have acquired significance in their own right," such as laminated arches that may have been added to a bridge that was originally built without arches.
     If we refer back to the Secretary's Standards for Rehabilitation, Standards 2, 5, and 6 become especially important in the evaluation: "The historic character of a property will be retained and preserved; the removal of distinctive materials or alteration of features, spaces, and spatial relationships that characterize a property will be avoided; distinctive materials, features, finishes, and construction techniques or examples of craftsmanship that characterize a property will be preserved; deteriorated historic features will be repaired rather than replaced; where the severity of deterioration requires replacement of a distinctive feature, the new feature will match the old in design, color, texture, and, where possible, materials; replacement of missing features will be substantiated by documentary and physical evidence."
     In some cases, engineers contemplating the rehabilitation of a covered bridge will propose changes to its historic structural system, or the addition of a redundant system that never existed previously, as in the addition of steel stringers or floor beams that will substitute for the originally intended structural behavior of the floor system and trusses. Under the Secretary's Standards, the preservation community is obliged to argue against such proposed changes, especially if a bridge has performed satisfactorily using only its original or early structural design and components. Occasionally, however, there may be no other way to preserve what is left of a bridge than to install some new form of redundant structural system, or to use some form of modern material. In cases where such treatments are ultimately applied, it is important to weigh all the factors, to provide written justification for the changes, and to record existing conditions prior to making the alterations. You'll note that the Burlington Charter addresses such issues in its Items 1 and 7: "To preserve the historic structural and material integrity of covered bridges to the maximum extent possible, consistent with public safety; to undertake research to develop tools essential to the preservation of historic covered bridges, including studies of appropriate treatments of historic materials, methods of structural analysis, techniques for repair and strengthening, and the economic benefits of preserving historic covered bridges."
     As you see, those who are obliged to follow federal regulations must regard the treatment of bridges, including covered bridges, according to a rather complex set of evaluative criteria. We tend to use the terminology that has been developed by the National Park Service, and to follow a certain discipline in evaluating proposed treatments of bridges. This method of analysis may not always coincide with the approach of lay people, engineers, or others who don't operate under National Park Service guidance.
     But because so many covered bridge projects nowadays are affected by federal funding, our historic bridges will inevitably be influenced by this method of evaluating a project. For this reason, we who work in this field can only hope for an eventual response to the request in the Burlington Charter that the National Park Service develop guidelines that apply and adapt the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties to historic covered bridges in a manner consistent with the goals and objectives listed in the Charter.
[Find the text of the Burlington Charter and the ref'd portion of the Secretary's Standards at the end of this column - Ed.]

Ron Branson, IN - I'm partial to James Garvin's position on this ... I would suggest that an Authentic Historic or Authentic Modern designator might be appropriate for clarity, not unlike the difference between a classic or antique automobile. If accepted, then the term Romantic Shelter could be used to denote only structures that are true facsimiles, i.e., have a concrete roadway or other situation where the trusses were never designed to carry the weight of the structure.

Joseph Conwill, ME - I've already seen James Garvin's remarks. They are excellent, and I can't add much. But my own major interest is the covered bridges from the historical time period when they were built without thought of sentiment. This is not to say that recent covered bridges are not authentic in some sense, but to me they are not the same. For example, in architecture, I'm glad we once built buildings in the Greek revival style; but although they are interesting in their own way, they are not the same as ancient Greek buildings. So also to me, an authentic covered bridge is old.

Robert Durfee, NH - I would base authenticity of a covered bridge on whether a particular bridge was designed and constructed in accordance with some of the basic principles we see and come to expect in covered bridge restoration or new construction. These basic principles are the use of trusses, construction primarily in timber, and has roof. To determine the authenticity of a particular covered bridge, I would ask the following questions:

  1. Does the bridge utilize trusses as the main structural support?
  2. Is the bridge constructed using primarily timber?
  3. Is the bridge covered by a roof structure in some fashion?
     If you can answer YES to all these three (3) questions, than the bridge, be it new or old, can be considered an authentic covered bridge.

Sean T. James, NH - I read Jim Garvin's email and think he answered the authenticity question well. We find that generally the standards Jim mentioned work well until you try to increase the live load limit above what the bridge, as built, can safely carry (often 6 tons). The area that I think needs more definition is what you do when the owner is requesting a 10 or 20 ton live load capacity. This request is usually made as a life safety issue as many detours around rural covered bridges can be 10 miles or more.

David A. Simmons, OH - I would be hard pressed to do a more complete or thorough job in answering the question than did Jim Gavin. I will, therefore, defer to his excellent response.

Burlington Charter for the Preservation of Historic Covered Bridges
Approved June 6, 2003 First National Best Practices Conference for Covered Bridges, Burlington, Vermont.      Covered bridges are vitally important cultural, economic, educational, aesthetic, and historic resources. Although public support for preserving them is strong, many are vulnerable to the effects of deterioration due to neglect, limited funding, and limited knowledge of appropriate treatments. Consequently, their structural, material, and functional integrity is often at risk. This charter establishes principal goals for ensuring the long-term safeguarding of historic covered bridges.
  1. To preserve the historic structural and material integrity of covered bridges to the maximum extent possible, consistent with public safety.
  2. To identify, document, and preserve examples of covered bridge design, ingenuity in timber and masonry construction, and unique practices or solutions to specific problems, and to encourage future generations to summon similar ingenuity.
  3. To retain covered bridges in active use for transportation, with the least possible compromise to their structural and material integrity.
  4. To identify, document, and preserve all surrounding features that define the historic character of covered bridges and their settings, including approach roads, historic cultural landscapes, and views.
  5. To interpret and publicize individual covered bridges and the overall importance of the covered bridge to the history of transportation, engineering, and community life.
  6. To establish partnerships among bridge owners; local, state, and federal governments; non-profit organizations; design and construction professionals; craftspeople; and others in order to provide the best opportunities for cooperative stewardship of covered bridges.
  7. To undertake research to develop tools essential to the preservation of historic covered bridges, including studies of appropriate treatments of historic materials; methods of structural analysis; techniques for repair and strengthening; and the economic benefits of preserving historic covered bridges.
  8. To develop management systems that ensures timely identification of needs andprioritization of treatments.
  9. To encourage government agencies and other public and private entities to provide adequate and effective funding to implement the above goals.
Resolved: Participants of the First National Best Practices Conference for Covered Bridges hereby adopt this Burlington Charter for the Preservation of Historic Covered Bridges. Be it further resolved that we respectfully ask the U.S. National Park Service to develop guidelines that apply and adapt the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Preservation, Rehabilitation, Restoration, and Reconstruction to historic covered bridges in a manner consistent with these goals and objectives, and to present these guidelines at the Second National Best Practices Conference for Historic Covered Bridges, time and place to be announced.

The Secretary of the Interior's Standards
for the Treatment of Historic Properties

Standards for Rehabilitation
"Rehabilitation" is defined as the act or process of making possible a compatible use for a property through repair, alterations, and additions while preserving those portions or features which convey its historical, cultural, or architectural values.
2. The historic character of a property will be retained and preserved. The removal of distinctive materials or alteration of features, spaces, and spatial relationships that characterize a property will be avoided.
5. Distinctive materials, features, finishes, and construction techniques or examples of craftsmanship that characterize a property will be preserved.
6. Deteriorated historic features will be repaired rather than replaced. Where the severity of deterioration requires replacement of a distinctive feature, the new feature will match the old in design, color, texture, and, where possible, materials. Replacement of missing features will be substantiated by documentary and physical evidence.
For a more complete version of The Secretary of the Interior's Standards go to

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Vermont's Williamsville Covered Bridge WGN 45-13-05

Williamsville, Vermont - Planned Repairs have survived Budget Cuts. Put off for years, the renovation the old bridge can go forward despite the ups and downs and ins and outs that have long held up the work. Construction is slated to begin in the spring or summer of 2009. The 120-foot bridge spans Rock River using a Town truss.
[from Brattleboro Reformer – Ed.]

New Web Page

The Covered Bridge Society of Virginia Inc has a new home page The link is, ed.

The Smolen-Gulf Bridge WGN 35-04-64

Smolen-Gulf Bridge Dedication photo
Smolen-Gulf Bridge Dedication photo

Tuesday August 26,2008 was a beautiful day. Eagles rode the thermals high above the crowd gathered to celebrate the dedication of the longest covered bridge in the country, the Smolen-Gulf Bridge, 35-04-64. The dedication marked the culmination of years of planning and preparation.
     In 1995, the annual bridge inspection showed deficiencies in the existing bridge over the Ashtabula River on State Road. Realignment of the old road left a 600 foot gap where a new bridge had to be built.
     From 2001 to 2005, plans were developed, environmental studies were done, EPA and Army Corps of Engineers permits were obtained. In mid-summer 2006, construction began with clearing the land and from August 2006 to July 2007,171,000 cubic yards of earth were moved into place. Seven million pounds of concrete and almost half a million pounds of steel reinforcements went into the piers and abutments.
      The bridge took 613,000 board feet of lumber. It is 613 feet long overall with a clear width of 30 feet and a clear height of 14 feet 6 sets on three piers which are 93 feet high. Five foot wide covered sidewalks on each side of the bridge give pedestrians a great view of the river and Indian Trails Park.
     The structural design for the bridge was by John Smolen, P.E. and the architectural design was by County Engineer Tim Martin, P.E. Construction was by Union Industrial Contractors of Ashtabula, Ohio. The Pratt truss system was used in this massive structure which should last for more than 100 years. And no doubt folks will be talking about this bridge for at least that long.
[Text & photo from Bridges and Byways, Journal of the Ohio Historic Bridge Assoc., Vol. XXI, No. 4 Autumn 2008 - Ed.]

Charlotte, VT Residents Oppose Paving at CBs

Charlotte, VT, November 12, 2008 -Two covered bridges spanning Lewis Creek in Charlotte are covered by much more than trusses, timbers and sturdy steel roofs. More than 20 people came to Monday's Selectboard hearing to let the board know that the structures also are covered by the watchful eyes and concerns of nearby residents. The purpose of the hearing was a proposal to pave 20 feet at each end of the Seguin Bridge (VT-04-02) on Roscoe Road and the Quinlan Bridge (VT-04-03) on Monkton Road near Lewis Creek Road. The question was because those roads were given scenic road designation in 1989, how the paving would impinge on the scenic road criteria.
      The reason given for paving is to prevent vehicles from carrying mud and water into the bridge, which has been causing degradation of the bridge flooring. All residents who spoke at the hearing said they were opposed to the paving. The formation of a Friends of Covered Bridges group is contemplated to help the Selectboard create a long-term management plan.
[Condensed from a Burlington Free Press article – Ed.]

Port Royal Covered Bridge Gone
WGN 42-63-0#2

Port Royal Covered Bridge – R.S. Allen
Port Royal Covered Bridge – R.S. Allen

Clarksville, TN, November 14, 2008 – The Port Royal Covered bridge has been removed from the Red River and sent on to a new career as a farm building.
     The 200-foot bridge was first built in 1903 in two spans by J.C. McMillan to cross the Red River using the Howe Truss. A set of arches was added when the bridge collapsed during construction.
     The bridge was lost during a storm in the 1970s and rebuilt in 1977. The bridge failed again in the 1990s due to high water.
     The bridge was notable for its high piers, which remain as monuments to the bridge's passing.
[Sources:; World Guide to Covered Bridges, by NSPCB; and Covered Bridges of the South, by R.S. Allen – Ed]

Stone Ridge bridge Will Not be Replaced
WGN 55-15-08

Stone Ridge, New Brunswick, November 21, 2008 – The Province of New Brunswick has decided not to replace the historic Stone Ridge Bridge which was destroyed by a blaze the local fire officials are calling suspicious.
      Local residents are deeply concerned about the loss of the bridge as winter weather approaches. It provided an option for motorists wishing to avoid the Morehouse Corner Hill, a treacherous slope that's difficult to navigate in wet weather. In the past, the hill has been impassable to school buses as well as other traffic.
      Transportation Minister Denis Landry said the cost of erecting a single-lane bridge would be at least $275,000. The transportation Department had contacted emergency services, police and school officials before making the decision. "All of the service providers indicated to us that the bridge wouldn't affect the service given to the public," the minister said.
      Stone Ridge residents plan to fight the decision.
      The Keswick Valley volunteer fire department responded to the fire at about 10 p.m. Friday, October 10. The bridge was fully engulfed by flames at that time and collapsed just as fire crews arrived at the scene.
      The 126-foot bridge was built in 1914 to cross the Keswick River using a Howe truss.
      From a count of 340 covered bridges in New Brunswick 60 years ago, 63 remain, partly due to fire and vandalism.
[This article was gleaned from CanadaEast News Service and others. Our thanks to Tom Keating - Ed.]

Cabin Creek CB to be Stabilized WGN KY-68-03

Tollesboro, KY, November 22, 2008 - A steel truss is to be used to stabilize troubled Cabin Creek Covered Bridge while environmental studies and construction plans are completed and funds are found.
      The stabilization work should be completed by February.
      A inspection following damage by spring storms discovered need for serious repairs. Stabilization was found to be essential else the span would be lost to the next storm.
      Funds have been dedicated to the bridge project but the question is how much more will be needed. About $500,000 in National Historic Covered Bridge Preservation Program grant money has been set aside.
     While the funds on hand are adequate for the stabilization work, as much as $1 million to $1.5 million are typical costs for preservation. The balance will likely be raised through grants or other sources, authorities said.
     Also known as the Mackey/Huges/Jones Farm Bridge, the 114-foot Cabin Creek Bridge was built in 1867 to cross Cabin Creek using a multiple kingpost truss with arch. In addition to the usual MKing & arch truss, each panel has a steel rod crossing the wood brace similar to the Child Truss.
      The bridge was closed to vehicles in 1983, and to pedestrian traffic in July, 2008.
[Gleaned from and other sources Ed.]

Langley Covered Bridge Refurbishing Near Completion WGN 22-75-01

Centerville, MI, November 15, 2008 – The $750,000 overhaul of the Langley covered bridge is expected to be complete by month's end, hopefully by Thanksgiving. The date of a re-dedication ceremony will be announced.
     Progress on the work had been slowed by weather and the acquisition of materials. Owned by St. Joseph County, $500,000 of the cost of the project was provided by the State of Michigan Enhancement grant.
     The bridge is being strengthened with additional support and metal siding designed to give the bridge its original appearance.
     The 282-foot Langley Bridge was built in 1887 using a Howe truss to cross the St. Joseph River in three spans. The last restoration of the current magnitude was done in 1974. On an average day 1,500 vehicles pass over the bridge, with a weight limit of 3 tons.

Perrine's Bridge NY-56-01

Esopus, NY - The 138-foot, single-span structure crosses the Wallkill River. It was built in 1844 and is the second-oldest covered bridge in New York State.
     Named for French Huguenot immigrant James Perrine, who owned a tavern near the bridge site, it served to connect the towns of Esopus and Rosendale over the Walkill River. Constructed by Benjamin Wood at a cost of $2,200, the bridge features a Burr Arch Truss design, a combination of two large hemlock arches and multiple king posts. It is the last remaining Burr Arch Truss bridge in the state.
     Perrine's Bridge was closed to vehicles in 1933, declared a New York State Historic Site in 1966 and listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.
[Condensed from a Poughkeepsie Journal article - Ed.]

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President's Logo

We had an interesting October meeting on a very fine fall day at the public library in Bellows Falls. David Wright was an excellent speaker. Turn-out was about average—would like to see more members at our semiannual meetings.
      Many thanks to Johnny Esau for his dedicated service as Events Chair. If anyone is interested in helping make our meetings a success please let me know—a dedicated events chair deserves dedicated Events Committee members to lend a hand.
      Our Fall Meeting in Brattleboro was a great success, if not in attendance, most definitely in enriching our membership with volunteers. New member Ray Hitchcock of Cambridgeport has volunteered to serve as editor to our newsletter, The Bridger. Many thanks to you, Ray, and good fortune in your endeavor. It was good to see Life Member Bill Carroll of Chicopee Massachusetts again. A certified archivist, he has volunteered to handle our disorganized collection of covered bridge artifacts, clippings, postcards, and photos. Many thanks to you, Bill.
      From that same meeting we gained a new Life Member, Michael Weitzner of Brattleboro. Welcome aboard, Michael.
      Our thanks to Ellen Everitz. Not only as she has taken on the chore to explore the possibilities of publishing a Covered Bridge video to raise funds for covered bridge preservation, she has volunteered to chair the Publicity Standing Committee.       There are a number of covered bridge rehabilitation projects going on right now— one in East Fairfield and two in Montgomery. Those with bridge-watch or rehabilitation interests, please make an effort to visit these sites.
      I'm looking forward to seeing you all at the Spring meeting.
     John Weaver, President, VCBS

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Membership Logo

by Suzanne Daniels, chair, Membership Committee

Please join me in welcoming the following new members to our group: Ray Hitchcock of Cambridgeport, Tom Hughs of Middlebury, David & Fran Mount of Burlington, Kent Ryden of Gorham, Me., Michael Smith of Barre, and Michael Weitzner of Brattleboro. A warm welcome to each of you!

2009 Early Renewal Contest
We are pleased to be able to once again offer our Early Renewal Contest. This contest has been a huge success in the past and really helps the Society in many ways. Paying your membership fees before the December 31 deadline not only qualifies you for a chance to win a nice gift, but saves the society additional postage expense having to send reminders that your dues are due. Here are the prizes for this year's contest: Two year free membership to the VCBS; a copy of New England's Covered Bridges by Ben & June Evans; or a signed copy of Spanning Time, Vermont's Covered Bridges by Joe Nelson. To be eligible for this year's contest, there are two things you need to do:
1) Pay your membership dues before December 31, 2008. That's the key! (Please note that if your 2009 membership has been paid in advance of this date, or if you are a life member, your name will automatically be entered into the drawing.)
2) Complete the membership form in this issue of the newsletter and return it with your check made payable to the VCBS no later than December 31st. The mailing address is: VCBS, PO Box 97, Jeffersonville, VT 054640097. Winners will be announced in the spring issue of our newsletter.

     Announcing new membership rates to be effective beginning January, 2009. The Board of Directors voted to change our membership dues at the Annual Director's Meeting.
     Individual, Family, and Student dues will remain the same: $10, $15, and $8 respectively. Dues for non-profit organizations and for businesses will be reduced to $15 annually.
      Dues for Life Memberships will be increased from $100 to $150, dues for Life Couple will be increased from $115 to $200.
     If you want to apply for a Life Membership at the old rate, apply now and get into the Early Renewal Contest all at the same time.

FYI—Ed Barna's email address has been changed to

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 Marclay and Thomas Davis
12 Jim Patch
12 Raymond Hitchcock
15 Dan Castellini
29 Bill Jeffrey

2 Bill Caswell
2 Richard Howrigan
8 Arletta and Albert Allen
12 Robert Cassidy
21 George Longenecker
21 Jean Carrington
24 Marge Converse
24 John Weaver
26 David Guay

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Book Logo

The VCBS recently received the donation of a collection of covered bridge photographs from Joyce Godin of Farmington Connecticut. The work was done by Theodore Godin of Turners Falls, Mass. The work consists of two photo albums each containing about 288 photos. All photos are 3x41/2(3x5). Each one is labeled with the town name, but not the bridge name. Photos have some evidence of mid-1930's in vehicles. Unfortunately negatives and files have been lost. There is also a box of 277-35mm slides, probably the same photos.
      A collection of memorabilia was given us by Maureen Lobacz in memory of her mother, Doris E. Sabin. Wrote Ms. Lobacz: " It gives me great pleasure to give my mother's covered bridge collection to your organization. I know it will be appreciated and shared with other bridge enthusiasts and hope it will have some historical value… In her retirement years, one of her greatest joys was to see … all of the existing … covered bridges of Vermont."
      Robert D. Morton of Swanzey, N.H. gave us his father's collection of 35mm slides of Vermont and New Hampshire covered bridges dating from the late 1940s or early 1950s.
     VCBS member Alma Swanson of Champlin, Minnesota, president of the now disbanded Zumbrota Covered Bridge Society, has been sending us memorabilia and post cards collected over a life-time.
      The Godin, Sabin, Morton, and Swanson Collections will be digitized, the bridges therein identified, then passed on to Bill Carroll, our archivist, for preservation. When they have been cataloged and organized, a site will be selected for the sharing and display of these VCBS collections.

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Events Logo

The VCBS Semi-annual Meeting Schedule

The spring meeting will be held at the Waterville Town Hall on April 25, 2009. Details for the Spring 2009 meeting will appear in the Spring 2009 issue of the Bridger.
      Meanwhile the Membership Committee will be making arrangements to hold the Fall 2009 meeting in Windsor at the old toll house by the Cornish-Windsor Bridge, and the Spring 2010 meeting in Jeffersonville at Terry and Jane Shaw's Art Gallery.

No Expo 2009 This Spring

The Board of Trustees of the Vermont Historical Society met on Friday, November 21st and decided to suspend the History Expo for 2009 due to a shortfall in the Society's budget. The program may resume in the future.

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Joe Nelson, P.O Box 267, Jericho, VT 05465-0267
This file posted 12/11/2008