INSIDE THIS ISSUE:
The upcoming meeting in Middlebury will be one of importance to all members and friends. Our speaker will be Bill McKone, one of the 'founding fathers' of the Vermont Covered Bridge Society. Also in Middlebury are Pulpmill Bridge, recently restored and the only double-barreled covered bridge in the state on a public road, and Halpin Bridge, the highest bridge above the stream in the state. We hope to see a good turnout.
Bill Carroll, President VCBS
Annual Fall Meeting
October 4, 2014, 10:00AM
75 Main Street
and his role in preserving covered bridges.
The business meeting will be conducted in accordance with Robert's Rules. Snack will be provided. The sales table will be open but the usual drawing will not be held.
The meeting is in the public room of the Ilsley Library (go to rear, take ramp to downstairs room).
Because there is a new bridge connecting downtown Middlebury with Route 7, there is a new way to reach the parking area that serves the library. The road to the parking area comes off the south side of the west end (downtown end) of the bridge and goes under the bridge to the parking spaces. Since the upper level spaces have a two-hour limit, it would be best to use the lower level spaces.
Coming from the north on Route 7, go through downtown, get on the roundabout at 6 o'clock, leave it at about 9 o'clock but do not enter the bridge, instead take the road to the right which is the lower lot for the library.
Coming from the south on Route 7, proceed across the bridge and immediately at the end of the bridge and on the right is the entrance to the upper level parking lot behind the library.
A volunteer-run organization like the Vermont Covered Bridge Society needs worker bees to fulfil its mission, i.e. Promoting the preservation of covered bridges. Please give serious consideration to our needs:
Our thanks to Johnny Esau for taking the Chairmanship of the Publicity Committee over from ever faithful Ellen Everitz who, over the years, has created a database of newspaper, radio, and television contacts for us.
And many thanks to Ann Ovitt and Warren Trip. They have been faithful in keeping us informed about the CBs in the Northeast Kingdom and in New Hampshire through newspaper clippings.
The VCBS Communications Committee has assembled a program to place a "Patch" or small sign in each Vermont covered bridge welcoming visitors and connecting them to the VCBS web site.
The committee has contacted 47 Select boards asking for permission to install the patches. When we have permission, the committee will distribute the patches for installation, two patches to a bridge, each inside near the two portals mounted with gum or two sided tape.
The purpose of the Patch Program is to introduce Vermont's covered bridges to visitors and to connect the bridge to the community it serves. The size of the Patch provides function without compromising the ambience of the bridge with non-period signage.
The Patch displays the Vermont Covered Bridge Society website address, www.vermontbridges.com and a "QR code" for smart phones to address the website by the county in which the bridge stands.
For a demonstration, please go to www.vermontbridges.com and click on "Branding Project" at the bottom left of the site index page. This will bring up a map of Vermont. Click on a covered bridge icon in the county of your choice to open a page showing photos of all of the bridges in the county. Click on a photo to open a page with a calendar-quality picture of the bridge, its vital statistics, and a caption about the bridge. This page will also contain a link to the town's website to inform visitors about the town and events the town may be holding. There are no fees for the towns to join the program.
For the Select boards who are unaware that the Vermont Covered bridge Society exists, we are introducing ourselves with our mission statement:
The Vermont Covered Bridge Society Mission Statement
Our outreach includes website www.vermontbridges.com, The Bridger quarterly newsletter, a seat on the Vermont Agency of Transportation Covered Bridge Committee, and two annual public meetings held in towns with covered bridges.
The National Society for the Preservation of Covered Bridges has developed a web page to track covered bridge projects. Visit the Society's website at www.coveredbridgesociety.org and click on the "Bridge Projects" link. Your help is requested to keep the information current and accurate. Please send updates to Bill Caswell at email@example.com.
The Vermont Covered Bridge Society has set up a lending library available to all society members-in-good standing through media mail.
Librarian Warren Tripp has created a detailed book list complete with a description and critique of each book. Copies of the index are available by mail, or you may contact Joe Nelson for an electronic copy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A borrower can contact Warren Tripp who will send the book by Postal Service Media Mail. Books are returned the same way.
Send Warren the complete title of the book(s) you wish to borrow. He will respond with the mailing cost and mail the order when the fee is received. The borrower is then responsible to return the item(s) in a reasonable time, preferably not more than two months.
Contact Warren Tripp, P. O. Box 236, Groton, VT 05046, email@example.com, Phone (802) 584-3545.
Note: In the last issue, the name of the donor of Neal Templeton's books was in error. The actual donor and Neal's descendant, is Nancy Lynn. My apologies and my thanks to her for her gifts-JCN
Lyndon Center, August 14, 2014 - On or about 7 a.m. Mario Boulanger drove a 6-axle tractor-trailer hauling a load of dry cement through the Millers Run Covered Bridge [45-03-06#2], breaking through both gable ends.
The driver has been fined a total of $13,894 because the truck was too heavy and too tall. He is also charged with leaving the scene of an accident. In addition, he will have to pay for the damage to the bridge.
The bridge, originally constructed in 1878, and then reconstructed in 1995 to add a steel substructure to support a wooden roadway, giving the bridge a rated capacity of 8 tons. The truck and cargo weighs 46.7 tons.
"Guess it was fortunate that the bridge had steel beams underneath! Even having a CDL [Commercial Driver’s License] doesn't overcome stupidity," remarked Warren Trip, retired Vtrans Structures Engineer.
It is reported that the driver's employer in Canada gave him directions on to how to get to Hopkins Building Supply on Route 5 from I91. He was to take Exit 24 southbound on Route 122 and take his first right turn. Oops! The wrong right turn! He should have taken the next![Our thanks to Ann Ovitt and Warren Trip for forwarding to us their Caledonia Record clippings - Ed.]
The Green River Bridge [45-13-04] will be closed until late October 2014 while repairs are made to the northwest wingwall. Structural problems were discovered in the west abutment during wingwall repairs. Zaluzny Excavating Corp. and Welch Masonry LLC are doing the work. Additional repairs will be designed by Hoyle, Tanner Associates.
After nearly a two-year long, $2.9 million renovation, the Bath Covered Bridge - the longest covered bridge located entirely within New Hampshire - re-opened on August 14th.
Built in 1832 for about $2,900, the Bath Village Bridge is the fifth bridge to stand on the site, according to the New Hampshire Department of Transportation. Its rehabilitation was made possible through a federal historical preservation grant. Of the $2.9 million project cost, the Town of Bath's share is about $130,000 while the federal government chipped in $2.3 million and the rest came from the New Hampshire Department of Transportation.
Removal of the interior covering has exposed additional truss members that were previously hidden.
Originally planned to re-open in June, the project was extended after additional damage to structural timbers was discovered. Engineering work was done by Hoyle, Tanner and Associates with construction by Wright Construction Co.
This bridge, a 97 foot Burr truss span built in 1837, crosses Brown's River on the outskirts of Westford, on the Cambridge Road, one of the main roads in Westford. In 1965 was bypassed after a modern concrete and steel was built adjacent to it, and was used as a pedestrian walkway for several years. Except for one or two old photographs we have no information on the bridge prior to 1965. Because of deteriorating condition of the bridge, it was closed to all use in the 1970s. In 1987 the bridge was removed from its abutments and moved by ox team to a nearby field, an event that was widely photographed and publicized.
Little was done for several years until townspeople finally received grant money and raised enough funds to have the bridge restored. At that time there was considerable discussion whether the bridge should be returned to its original location, or placed on the Town Common, or moved to another location. After a 14 year period, restoration was complete and the bridge was returned to its original location over Brown's River, where it now provides a pedestrian walkway in a small park. In its early years, and much the same today, the western side of the bridge is the built-up center of Westford, and on the eastern side largely agricultural land.
Sources: Photographs and clippings in VCBS Archives, published works by Ed Barna and Joe Nelson.
This short bridge across Holmes Creek, a couple miles north of Route F-5 in the Town of Charlotte, is not only one of the shortest bridges in the state at 41 feet in length, it is also at the lowest elevation of any covered bridge as it is located very close to the shore of Lake Champlain. It is also one of only three tied arch bridges in the state, though it differs from Bowers and Best Bridges in Windsor County by having a kingpost, in addition to the arch.
The bridge was built in 1870, probably to provide access to agricultural land along the shore of Lake Champlain. In 1995 major repairs were made to the bridge by Graton Associates. In 2002 the bridge received a new roof, under a grant program that re-roofed some 31 covered bridges in the state. The bridge today is in an area that is partly agricultural and partly second growth woods. It also provides access to recreational areas on the lake.
Sources: Photographs and clippings in VCBS Archives, published works by Ed Barna and Joe Nelson.
a Museum Treasure and an Unused Rail Bed
In Cambridge, Vermont, we often hear residents speak about the so-called "Wrong-Way Bridge" crossing the Lamoille River on VT Route 15, at the east end of Cambridge village. Having had a career with the local steel fabricator who did the steel work for this attractive structure, I was always puzzled by the bridge's configuration. The bridge curves around to the left towards the villages of Fletcher and Fairfield, rather than curving around to the right to carry VT Route 15 towards Jeffersonville. How come, I once asked former Chapter member, the late Stearns Jenkins, and a career engineer in the Vermont Highway Department, now the Vermont Agency of Transportation.
Stearns explained to me that this project was part of a post WW II plan to rearrange the highway between the villages of Cambridge and Jeffersonville, Vermont state Route 15. It was a four-part plan, and I never gleaned the exact order for which the plan was to be executed.
For one part, call it Part One; Vermont Route 15 through Jeffersonville village was to be replaced by a parallel by-pass west of the village's main street.
Another part, call it Part Two; was to relocate the adjacent Seymour Brook to join the Lamoille River, upstream, and east of the then existing, large doublebarreled covered bridge which crossed over the Lamoille River.
Another part, call it Part Three; was to remove two covered bridges on Route 15 at the east end of Cambridge village, and replace them with a new multispan steel girder bridge over the Lamoille River, curving to the west as an unnumbered route, named Pumpkin Harbor Road, towards Fletcher and Fairfield.
The last part, call it Part Four; was to relocate VT Route 15 between Cambridge village and Jeffersonville village, along the abandoned roadbed/right-of-way of the Burlington & Lamoille RR, which ran from Cambridge Junction to Burlington, through Jeffersonville and Cambridge Villages.
Well - what happened?
Part One - relocating Route 15 just west of Jeffersonville was completed at some point in time.
Part Two - Seymour Brook (now Seymour River) was relocated to join the Lamoille River upstream, east of its former entry into the Lamoille.
Part Three - the two covered bridges were removed and a new multi-span steel girder bridge was built over the Lamoille River, curving to the west, towards Fletcher and Fairfield, Pumpkin Harbor Road. The smaller of the two covered bridges, the so-called Gates Bridge still crosses Seymour Brook as it once did on Route 15, but it was moved to cross the Seymour for access into agricultural fields. But the large double barreled Cambridge Bridge with an adjacent covered walkway, 168 feet long, was dismantled and sold to the Shelburne Museum in 1951. At the museum, a small pond was excavated just off U.S. Route 7, the bridge erected across it, and served as the main entrance to the famous museum for several years. Now it is a secondary museum entrance, a new road entrance having been built just to the south.
Part four - alas, the State of Vermont never proceeded to relocate Route 15 between Cambridge and Jeffersonville villages along the then abandoned, B&L RR right-of-way. Probably the "Legislatchah" couldn't find, or wouldn't appropriate the funds for it. Now eastbound Route 15 traffic crosses the Lamoille, on the, maybe now appropriately named, "wrong-way bridge", and at the north end makes a torturous very sharp right turn to continue on Route 15 to Jeff.
One humorous post script to this, is that one visitor to the Shelburne Museum voiced the opinion, that he couldn't understand why the Museum didn't just fill in that little pond, rather than having to find an antiquated bridge, with which to cross over it.*[This article is reprinted from the Fall 2006 Bridger issue]
Our Master Membership Roster shows that we have 146 memberships listed today.
Of these, there are 25 Life Couple memberships, and 17 Family memberships. So, in total we have at least 188 folks on our mailing list. It means we have 188 potential volunteers to help with the work we do. It also means we have 188 ambassadors to spread the word about the Vermont Covered Bridge Society.
Please do attend our annual meetings and bring your friends and neighbors. We have snack, interesting speakers, and social fun. Bring your ideas to help make the Society better, bigger, and stronger.
Happy Birthday and Anniversary to:
Brown Covered Bridge
September 20, 2013 - This project is to rehabilitate the Brown Covered Bridge [45-11-09] in Shrewsbury on Upper Cold River Rd. This road was damaged during tropical storm Irene and repairs to the bridge approach have yet to be completed by the Town. Mark Sargent and John Weaver of the Agency's Structures Section are managing and designing the project.
This bridge has been classified under preservation option D - Limited Vehicle Use as per the Vermont Historic Covered Bridge Preservation Plan which limits vehicles to 8 tons. The attached document was presented and the proposed repairs were discussed by the committee. The proposed repairs to the roof, roof framing, upper bracing and trusses are all minor. A number of the lattice members were identified for half-sister repairs along with epoxy repairs. New full width oak plank runners are being proposed for the floor. All new siding is being proposed along with 2x4 nailers that are not present on the existing structure. The end portals boards will be replaced to match the new siding.
A new dry rubble masonry wing wall (40 ft) will be constructed along the NW corner of the bridge. The southeast wingwall (33 ft.) will require the same reconstruction.
New steel backed timber rail is also proposed for the roadway approaches.
The construction cost estimate for this work is approximately $188,800.
There were no major concerns with the proposed work as the historical integrity of the covered bridge will be maintained with this project.
The proposed scope was approved by the committee - James B. McCarthy, PE, Operations Division, VTrans
In the year 2000, Eric Tobin, a celebrated local landscape painter, donated his painting of the Poland Covered Bridge in Winter to the VCBS. Since then the painting has been for sale to the highest bidder, first in the Brian Memorial Gallery in Jeffersonville, then in Visions of Vermont Art Gallery, also in Jeffersonville.
Visions is co-owned by VCBS member Terry Shaw. Terry knows the art business and he knows what art moves. Though a beautiful work, this piece hasn't moved. On July 18, Terry received a bid of $2000 for the painting. The money will go into the Save-a-bridge Fund as do all of our sales and donations.
Cambridge painter Eric Tobin's work is very popular among serious art collectors. Mr. Tobin has suggested that the VCBS sell, as this particular work would easily bring $1500.
The vote of the board approved the sale of the painting but stipulated that it not be sold unless the proceeds were specifically needed. Terry Shaw expressed the belief that the value of the work was likely to increase. David Wright suggested that any funds realized should not be spent but treated as capital from which funds can be grown.
The VCBS Board of Directors consensus was to use the proceeds as seed money for covered bridge preservation projects. For this purpose, the VCBS Save-a-bridge fund was established.
A smaller version of the painting was presented to Senator Jeffords on August 22, 2000.
by William McKone
On August 18, 2014, former senator James Jeffords passed away at a retirement home in Washington, DC. Jeffords, 80 years old, served in the nation's capital for over 30 years, first as Vermont's sole Congressman and later as senator. His concerns for the special nature of the state extended to its historic artifacts such as our covered bridges.
In 1997, he introduced legislation to preserve these structures throughout the nation and secured funding for their protection and restoration in the 1998 transportation budget. The first allocations in Vermont were for Thetford's Union Village Bridge [45-09-05] and the Cambridge Junction Bridge [45-08-02], selected with the help of covered bridge enthusiasts like Ed Barna and Joe Nelson. As a resident of Cambridge Town, I was aware of the desperate situation of the Cambridge Junction structure, but had been unable to find any organization that concerned itself with a grassroots effort to preserve the state's bridges.
In the winter of 2000, I contacted these two authors of the informative books on Vermont's iconic artifacts that I had been consulting and proposed some kind of cooperative preservation work throughout our state. The three of us met in Jeffersonville that February and adopted Ed's proposed name for the group, still operating today as the Vermont Covered Bridge Society.
Recent developments relating to the Cambridge Junction bridge therefore make it an appropriate subject for the following article as we mourn the loss of our patron legislator. Our increased efforts to protect the legacy that Jim Jeffords preserved through his actions will be a fitting tribute to him.
The Cambridge Junction or Poland covered bridge is a single span of 152.5 feet supported by Burr arch trusses built by George W. Holmes in 1887. Its first name describes its location, crossing the Lamoille River near the junction of two railroads that opened to traffic a decade before. This access to the rail junction from the north side of the river resulted from legal action against the town of Cambridge by influential Waterville resident and retired Chief Justice of the Vermont Supreme Court Luke P. Poland, whose name is also used for the bridge.
The clear span of 138.5 feet is the longest of any remaining Burr arch covered bridge in Vermont and is exceeded as an original clear span only by the Scott Bridge in Townshend. Clearly well built, the Cambridge Junction bridge carried uncontrolled vehicular traffic for more than one hundred years until a 1995 report on structural damage forced its closure. Overweight vehicles and collisions with the portals had produced negative camber and an overall tilt sideways in the bridge. Hanging down close to the river, the center had been struck by ice and by 2000 the entire structure was in danger of being swept away.
Just in time, Senator Jeffords provided funding to stabilize the bridge until proper repairs preserving the original design were possible. The restoration was completed in 2004, though some problems appeared at the abutments after the work was done and it was again closed for a period right after a celebratory reopening to traffic took place as part of the Cambridge Fourth of July celebrations in 2004.
The bridge has been closed to vehicular traffic, other than winter snowmobile use, since October 2011 when an inspection following an accident on the bridge discovered unsafe conditions at the northern abutment. A small car travelling at far more than the posted 10 mph limit had damaged and displaced an 8x10 brace in the middle of the bridge, jumping ten inch high curbing that runs the length of the bridge on both sides.
The Cambridge road foreman was quoted in a newspaper report in July of 2014 that "one of arches of the bridge has split and will have to be replaced, while the others are beginning to roll and twist outward." The repairs planned also include "the addition of steel plates from the abutment bearing points to the first arch joint as well as numerous steel bolts." A Town Highway Structures Grant of $86,500 from VTrans will require some matching funds from the town. Local taxpayers also paid for the repairs caused by the accident since an investigation did not determine the person responsible.
Town officials have stated their intention to reopen the repaired bridge to motor vehicle use - restricted only by the completely ineffectual signage limiting speed, weight, and number of vehicles on the bridge - in the spring, if the repairs are completed this winter.
Several developments in the area of the bridge make this decision to allow seasonal motor vehicle traffic even more problematic than before.
Efforts are already underway to educate the community, including those deciding the fate of the bridge, as to the best use of our historic artifact. Recently I met with the town selectmen to continue an on-going dialog aimed at dealing with the current, significantly changed situation with the bridge and its immediate surroundings. Hopefully we can successfully explain the real value of the Cambridge Junction bridge as a structure to be preserved for its history, an attraction for tourists, a safe and convenient crossing point for nonmotorized traffic, and a joy to behold in itself. Anyone who would like to help in this effort to protect the bridge is encouraged to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org , (802) 644-2433.
Spanning Time: Vermont's Covered Bridges by Joseph C. Nelson
Spanning Time: Vermont's Covered Bridges features 102 color photographs of Vermont's covered bridges in fifteen chapters, each a guided tour. The tours are complete with maps, commentary on the uniqueness of each bridge, and historic highlights about the towns and villages in which the bridges stand.
An appendix provides: A Summary of Vermont's Covered Bridges, listing information on each; A Covered Bridge Glossary, describing the details of a covered bridge; A Bridge Truss section, explaining how trusses work with drawings of the trusses used in Vermont; The Bridge Builders, providing thumbnail biographies of people who designed and built the bridges; A Covered Bridge Reading List, for bridge and history buffs; A detailed Index. Spanning Time: Vermont's Covered Bridges: 7" x 10", 288 pages. Published by New England Press at P.O. Box 575, Shelburne, VT 05482. Spanning Time is available directly from the author for $39.00, free shipping. (Vermont residents add 6% sales tax)
World Guide to Covered Bridges - 2009 Edition
New York State Covered Bridge Driving Tour Now Available! - Would you like to see all of New York State's Covered Bridges at your leisure in the comfort of your own vehicle? Well now you can! The New York State Covered Bridge Driving Tour is a spiral bound, full color tour which includes turn by turn directions and color photographs of each of New York's authentic and historic covered bridges. Included are the statistics on each bridge and an interesting history of the bridge and the surrounding town, and old postcards of how the bridges looked during an earlier time.
To obtain a copy of the tour, contact:Bob and Trish Kane
167 Williams Rd.
Sherburne, NY 13460
Covered Bridges of New England - DVD
Connecticut and Rhode Island Covered Bridges
To order your signed copy, send $25.00 to:Bill Caswell
535 Second NH Turnpike
Hillsboro, NH 03244.
Vermont Magazine Covered Bridge Notecard Sets
Covered Bridges of Vermont Print - The Covered Bridges of Vermont features 19 photographs of covered bridges taken throughout the state by photographer, and VCBS member, Ray Arsenault. The print is beautifully printed on professional high quality 100lb paper, and measures 18" x 26.5". Order now at: www.coveredbridgesofvermont.com.
By Trish Kane, Collections Curator
Theodore Burr Covered Bridge Resource Center
The Theodore Burr Covered Bridge Resource Center, located in the Oxford Memorial Library in Oxford, NY, is pleased to be sponsoring a fall foliage and covered bridge bus tour on Thursday, October 9, 2014.
There is something about a covered bridge; they inspire memories of the days when many Americans lived on family farms and in small close-knit communities. Thirty two covered bridges still remain in small, country towns throughout New York State reminding us of times past and a quieter way of life.
Come join us for a trip through Albany, Otsego, Rensselaer and Washington Counties visiting a total of six beautiful covered bridges where you can enjoy the fall colors along the way. Covered bridge enthusiasts, Bob and Trish Kane, will be tour guides for the day and provide interesting history on each bridge and show you how each covered bridge is unique and different.
Morning refreshments, bag lunches and afternoon snacks will be provided by the tour. Dinner at Glimmerglass State Park in the Lakeview Room overlooking beautiful Otsego Lake will be provided by the Friends of Glimmerglass.
You can register online at: www.goodtimebustours.com or by contacting Diane Van Slyke, 6852 Indian Opening Rd., Bouckville, NY 13310. For more information, call Diane at Good Time Bus Tours at 315-729-8323 or Trish Kane at 607-674-9656.
The coach will pick up passengers at Big Lots in Hamilton, starting at 7 a.m. and then travel to the Nice & Easy, Sangerfield and Price Chopper, Richfield Springs. The cost is $85 per person and reservation deadline is September 17, 2014.
On August 18th, the covered bridge community lost one of its most influential advocates of the past two decades. James Merrill "Jim" Jeffords was born in Rutland, Vt., on May 11, 1934. His father, Olin Jeffords, served as chief justice of the Vermont Supreme Court, and his mother, Marion Hausman, was a homemaker. He attended public schools in Rutland, and received his undergraduate degree from Yale University in 1956. He served three years in the Navy before he attended Harvard Law School, where he was awarded his degree in 1962. While practicing law in Shrewsbury, Vt., he got involved in local politics and was elected to the state Senate in 1966. As Vermont's attorney general from 1969 to 1973, he helped draft landmark environmental laws, including a ban on billboards and land protection legislation.
In 1998, Jeffords authored the bill that became known as the National Covered Bridge Preservation Program or more commonly referred to as the Jeffords Bill. Because of this bill, dozens of covered bridges throughout the country have received repairs or major restorations that would otherwise not have been possible. Although funding for the bill has ended, its impact is still being felt as the few remaining projects continue on.
Jeffords served more than 30 years in Congress, starting when he was elected to the House of Representatives in 1974. He moved to the Senate in 1988. "In 2001, he displayed enormous courage by leaving a party that, he often said, had left him because of its dramatic move to the right," said Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent who succeeded Jeffords. "Jim was one of the most popular elected officials in the modern history of the state." "He was a Vermonter through and through, drawn to political life to make a difference for our state and nation," said Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Democrat who is Vermont's other senator. He decided not to run for a fourth term and retired from the Senate in 2007, citing his and his wife's health problems. His wife, Elizabeth "Liz" Daley, died that year.
Jeffords died at a military retirement residence in Washington, D.C., according to Diane Derby, a former press secretary and family spokeswoman. The cause of death was unclear, but Jeffords had suffered from Alzheimer's disease. He was 80.
In a statement, President Obama hailed the renegade Republican for "the fiercely independent spirit that made Vermonters, and people across America, trust and respect him."
"Whatever the issue - whether it was protecting the environment, supporting Americans with disabilities, or whether to authorize the war in Iraq - Jim voted his principles, even if it sometimes meant taking a lonely or unpopular stance," Obama said. "Vermonters sent him to Washington to follow his conscience, and he did them proud."