INSIDE THIS ISSUE:
You will notice that we are not having elections of officers at this time. The Board of Directors a couple years ago voted to have two-year terms rather than the single year terms for all officers. The officers elected in January 2012 will serve through December 2013, at which time elections will be held. It is not too early for any interested members to think about running for office
Bill Carroll, President, VCBS
The next Vermont Covered Bridge Society Spring Meeting will be held on Saturday, April 27, 2013. We have reserved the Bartonsville Grange which is near Chester and the new Bartonsville Covered Bridge.
Susan Hammond the local activist who led the local citizens advocacy group will be our speaker. She filmed the bridge as it was washed off its abutments during Hurricane Irene. This film was carried by the international news media. You might have seen her on the Weather Channel films collaborated by VCBS.
Details of the Spring Meeting will be reported in the spring issue of The Bridger, which will be distributed to the membership in March.
The Franklin County Quilters Guild's annual raffle quilt, shown below, features the "Covered Bridges of Franklin County" this year. The raffle is held annually in conjunction with the guild's quilt show in early April. This year's quilt is an original design by Denise Chase of Saint Albans, with original embroidery patterns for the bridges drawn by Sharon Perry of Montgomery.
Members of the Guild embroidered blocks of 12 covered bridges which are currently standing or formerly stood in Franklin County, Vermont. As Vermont's covered bridge capital, and as home to the Jewett brothers, local bridge builders in the late 1800s, it is not surprising to find 5 of the quilt's 12 blocks feature covered bridges from Montgomery. Two bridges from Enosburgh, two from Fairfax, and one each from Fairfield, Georgia and Swanton also adorn the on-point blocks.
The Guild will draw the winning raffle ticket for the "Covered Bridges of Franklin County" quilt at the conclusion of the its 15th annual quilt show on April 6th & 7th, 2013. The quilt show is held at City Hall, 100 North Main Street, in Saint Albans. Tickets are available at the show or in advance by contacting Ann Jacobs, 802-372-5611 or via email to email@example.com.
The Guild provides local charities and other organizations with handmade quilts. These quilts have been used for fund raising projects or simply to provide comfort and warmth to someone who might otherwise not get it. Over 1,500 quilts have been donated to over 20 charities and non-profits, as well as to local military Purple Heart recipients, or families of those recipients, and victims of disasters.
With just under 100 members, the Franklin County Quilters Guild has grown to be the largest quilt guild in Franklin County, Vermont. The guild was established in February 1991 to promote an interest in the art of quilting, and has met monthly ever since. Monthly meetings are held on the third Wednesdays, September through June, at the Church of the Rock, on Route 104 in Saint Albans, starting at 6:30 p.m. Visit the Guild's website for more information and see a close-up photograph of the raffle quilt at www.franklincountyquilters.com.
September 24, 2012 - Many of you have already heard about the conference to be held in and around Dayton next June. It is hoped that you will attend if you possibly can, and that you will share this information with anyone else who might be at all interested in this important topic. I think most of the CB newsletter editors have been including this event in their publications, and trust you will continue to do so in each issue. Not only our esteemed professor friends, but also our engineer and builder friends, are invited to consider presenting a paper or otherwise participating in the presentations. [Please contact David Simmons with any thoughts or questions along those lines.] God willing, I hope to see you all in Dayton next June!
Jim Crouse[Preliminary info on the conference is available on the conference webpage: http://www.woodcenter.org/2013-national-covered-bridge-conference/
Longley Covered Bridge
November 27, 2012 - The Vermont Agency of Transportation Historic Bridge Committee convened a meeting to discuss the options for the repair of the Longley Bridge (WGN 45-06-08). The Vermont Covered Bridge Society has a non-voting seat on the committee.
The Longley Bridge, which serves Longley Bridge Road over Trout River in the Town of Montgomery, has been inspected and closed, found to be no longer capable of carrying the loads required of it, and bypassed with a temporary bridge. The Town of Montgomery is seeking State approval of one of several options.
The requirements of the Town of Montgomery were presented by: Scott Perry, Select Board Chair; Carol McGregor, Montgomery Historical Society; Bethany Remmers, Northwest Regional Planning Commission; Sean James, Hoyle, Tanner & Associates, Inc.; and Jan Lewandoski, Traditional & Restoration Builders.
The presentation included a description of the traffic volumes, weights of vehicles, and road use. Basically, the town requires that the bridge be capable of carrying its emergency vehicles, but still retain its historic appearance.
Sean James presented five alternatives for the restoration:
Repair recommendations for alternatives H6 through H8 are:
Alternative H16 requires the above plus:
Alternative H20 requires:
The Town wants to boost the load carrying capability of the bridge as much as possible while preserving the historic structure. The VCBS favors an alternative that would keep the maximum "Original Fabric" of the bridge while upping its load carrying capacity. Reversible glulam stringers under the bridge would be acceptable under the Burlington Charter for the Preservation of Historic Covered Bridges approved June 6, 2003 at the First National Best Practices Conference for Covered Bridges, held in Burlington, Vermont
The formal minutes of this meeting could not be available for this issue of The Bridger. Another Historic Bridge Committee will be convened to make a decision on the alternatives presented.
From Oversized/Overweight Vehicles?*
A kayaker paddling under the West Montrose Covered Bridge [WGN 59-50-01] noticed a large crack in one of the floor beams. Engineers determined that the damage was caused by an overweight vehicle. A tractor was seen pulling two wagons full of corn across the bridge around the time of the damage. The load limit on the bridge is 3 tonnes (3.3 tons); the weight of the tractor and loaded wagons would have been a multiple of this, said Tony Dowling, of BridgeKeepers, West Montrose, Ontario.
In Spencerville Indiana on September 26, A semi-truck driver let his GPS lead him into Spencerville's Coburn Bridge [WGN 14-17-01] breaking tie-beams and roof supports the length of the 160 foot bridge.
In Erwinna, Pennsylvania on September 11, an oversized truck damaged the Erwinna Covered Bridge [WGN 38-09-04]. Heavy damage was done to the bridge's roof, portal entrance and upper bracing. The Erwinna bridge is 43 feet long, 19 feet wide and has an 11-foot height limit, but no posted weight restriction.
Speakman Bridge No. 1 [WGN 38-15-05] in West Marlborough, Pennsylvania, has been out of use since November 2011, after a tractor-trailer crossed it, causing massive structural damage.
In Peebles, Ohio, on June 11, police looked for a car-hauling vehicle which damaged the Harshaville Covered Bridge [WGN 35-01-02]. A witness reported a vehicle hauling three cars attempted a crossing. A cable supporting the bridge snagged the top car, damaging it and the bridge. The truck left the scene.
In Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, on May 10, 2012, a tractor-trailer driver fitted his truck neatly into the Hunsecker Mill Covered Bridge [WGN 38-36-06] because his GPS told him he could. The bridge is marked for 3 tons with a height limit of 13 feet 3 inches. The truck is 15 tons and 13 feet 6 inches high.
A nearby property owner said traffic seems to have picked up on Hunsecker Road in recent years, attributing the increased traffic to GPS devices. For GPS users, Hunsecker Road appears to be an attractive short cut, despite the fact that the road is served by a single-lane covered bridge with a 3-ton weight restriction.
Last July in Lancaster Pennsylvania, Large trucks driving through any of the 22 Lancaster County owned covered bridges had better learn to duck. The county is installing "headache bars" to keep oversized trucks out of historic bridges. These are wooden beams suspended by chains from the tops of each entrance to a bridge. County workers can install the beams themselves at a cost of $150 per bridge, cheap when compared to the expense required to repair damage to supports and siding done by oversized trucks. It remains to be seen whether this solution is effective.
Tony Dowling asks, "do you have any suggestions or examples for cases where measures have been taken to keep oversized vehicles off covered bridges? Height restrictors are unsightly. We have considered load sensors in the road approaching the bridge, with fixed and electronic signage warning of load limits and over-weight vehicles, and triggering a camera to catch violators. Any ideas would be helpful."
Bill Caswell, responding to Tony Dowling's question, said: "I agree with you that solutions such as the height restrictors or "headache bars" used in many areas are unsightly. In some places they can be placed far from the structure, but that would not [always] be possible . . . I have seen instances where the portal is reconfigured so it provides a smaller opening. I don't know how effective it is. There are also instances where the height clearance posted on the bridge is lower than the actual clearance, but I expect that does as much good as the weight limit signs that are being ignored."
"We've been tinkering with the idea of a load sensor in the road," Dowling said, "well away from the bridge, connected to an electronic sign that would warn potential offenders "Overweight! Do Not Cross Bridge! $5000 Fine". If that was combined with 24-7 video surveillance right at the bridge aimed at license plate height, the sensor could also time-stamp potential violations so they could be quickly checked on the video . . . . The Region investigated weight monitors and surveillance. Their estimate for cost at that time was $50,000.* This story based in part on http://www.vermontbridges.com/west_montrose.htm
The Pulp Mill Covered Bridge noon-time ribbon cutting was well attended. Closed since January 3, 2011, it's good to have the old span back in service giving the two towns more than one option to cross Otter Creek.
November 10, 2012 - The Pulp Mill bridge is once again open to traffic. The towns (Middlebury and Weybridge) had a ribbon cutting ceremony yesterday following our final inspection by the state. The state's engineer is still working out of his office in the road, but traffic can go around him. He'll move out sometime in the next month and then we can remove the trailer.
Several local people are monitoring the building of the new covered bridge. It is bigger, longer, and stronger than the old bridge. It is being advertised as the longest single span covered bridge in the US.
As of this writing the Cold Bridge builder is on schedule. It is the first this writer has seen of this style construction. The bridge was placed temporarily on steel beams and is supported by a skeleton of steel. It is on temporary abutments adjacent to the new abutments. The new abutments host the temporary bridge.
The lattice sides, floor beams are in place as are the roof trusses. The roof sheathing is on and the siding will be up in a day or two. It looks like the adjacent temporary bridge will be closed in December. The contractor will give everyone 2 weeks notice prior to closing and it will remain closed for 6 weeks. Then the new bridge will be lifted into place without oxen.
According to the October Rockingham select board minutes, funds have been committed for the project from the Historic Preservation Trust.
Sue Hammond, community leader, has noted that photos and videos can be viewed on YouTube and on the Facebook page. The Weather Channel video by Scott Rensberger can be seen there as well: www.youtube.com/watch?v=uCQDfZQdNVA&feature=em-share_video_user
Thirteenth Annual Fall Meeting
Saturday, September 29, 2012
The thirteenth Annual Fall meeting of the Vermont Covered Bridge Society was held in the Ilsley Public Library Meeting Room in Middlebury, Vermont on Saturday, September 29, 2012. Twenty four people were in attendance.
The topic of the rehabilitation of the Pulp Mill Covered Bridge brought many interested people from the surrounding communities inasmuch as the bridge, being a significant part of the local traffic infrastructure, has been closed for the duration of the rehabilitation project. The presentation by Jim Ligon, Project Superintendent, Alpine Construction LLC of Schuylerville, NY for the Pulp Mill Bridge Renovation project in Middlebury/Weybridge, began the meeting at 10:10 a.m. In addition to the rolling slide show presentation of many photographs of the ongoing work, Jim had displayed many artifacts unearthed and acquired from the Pulp Mill Bridge as well as other covered bridge restoration sites. Questions to Jim were welcomed. Attendees were able to view the artifacts before and after the presentation. Most of those in attendance from the surrounding communities did not remain for the business meeting.
President Bill Carroll called the business meeting to order at 11:17 a.m. Twelve members remained for the business portion of the meeting.
Minutes of the Annual Spring meeting held in Bennington were not read as they are published in The Bridger newsletter.
Treasurer Neil Daniels gave the following interim report for the period as of September 8, 2012:
Reported by Suzanne Daniels. A welcome was given to new members who have joined since the Annual Spring meeting last April: Jil MacMemnamin of the Brattleboro Garden Club, a group doing marvelous work in the new park surrounding the Brattleboro Creamery Covered Bridge, and Jim and Diane Donovan of Washington, VT.
This brings our membership to a total of 139. Unfortunately, we had to close out some memberships when we stopped hearing from them for more than a year. Of the 139 memberships approximately half, 71, are Vermont residents. The rest of our memberships hale from New England, to Arizona, and to Canada.
Joe Nelson reported of the 139 members, 37 have opted to receive the newsletter electronically, saving the VCBS $66.60 in postage per year and approximately $97.68 in printing costs – a total of $164.28 per year. The newsletter costs $0.66 each to print, fold and tape.
Bill Caswell is the new VCBS newsletter editor. Bill is taking over the project from Ray Hitchcock who, unfortunately because of failing health, must leave that post. The newsletter, The Bridger, is key in the Vermont Covered Bridge Society's outreach.
Reporter/Correspondents are still needed to bring local covered bridge news to The Bridger with on-the-scene reports, photos and/or news clippings. Joe encourages contacting him, Communications Committee Chair, with information or to sign up.
Chair is still needed. The Vermont History Expo 2012 was held June 16 and 17 at the Tunbridge, VT Fairgrounds. The sales table at the booth hosted by the VCBS made a profit of $122.71. Profits from these sales go to the Save-A-Bridge Fund. For more information or to sign up for the Events Committee position please contact Bill Carroll or Joe Nelson.
John Weaver reported:
Taftsville: replace entire abutments and rehabilitate the bridge.
Townsend looking for funding to repair the Scott Covered Bridge.
An October 25th meeting will be held to discuss repairs needed to the Longley Bridge in Montgomery. There is no conceptual report as yet.
Bartonsville: The new replacement bridge (historic bridge destroyed in the tropical storm Irene) is under construction. The temporary abutments will now be the permanent abutments. The temporary bridge is sitting on the to be permanent abutments for the new bridge.
Upper Falls: Neil Daniels reported that the riprap was not well done at a previous repair at the Downers Bridge and that which is on the south abutment is inadequate.
Archives: Bill Carroll asked for any newspaper articles or reports of covered bridge news to be submitted to him for the archives.
Events Committee Request:
A request was made for a volunteer to chair the Events Committee.
Letter of thanks:
A letter received from Paul Bruhn, Executive Director of the Preservation Trust of Vermont, was read thanking the VCBS for the donation received for flood recovery work. In the letter Paul reiterated that, as requested, the money would be used to help rehabilitate and rebuild covered bridges that were damaged or destroyed by the tropical storm Irene. He expressed gratitude and wrote "know that your support significantly lightened the load for many communities".
Next meeting date was not determined.
No further discussion, a motion to adjourn was made by Beverly Delaney and seconded by John Weaver. The meeting adjourned at 11:48 a.m.Respectfully submitted,
September 28, 2012
Hi, I am trying to find out what happened to the Twig-Smith Bridge at Brownsville, (45-14-17), was it rebuilt or is it gone? The reason I ask is because I am one of the men who took it down when it was the Garfield bridge in Hyde Park. I am coming to Vermont to see the Pomfret half.
September 28, 2012
Mike, The bridge was replaced by concrete and steel. For the story go to: www.vermontbridges.com/brownsvl.bridge.htm
The pieces were picked up by a man who planned to rebuild it on his property using a high school class to do it, so I was told. I have no contact info for the man. Nothing about the outcome of his project was reported to me. I do know that the pieces were too rotted and weathered for the Vermont Covered Bridge Museum in Bennington to be interested.
The reason the bridge went down was that some dingbat modified the roof bracing so that construction trucks could pass through. See the photo on the website. The truss members were rotted because there was no siding to protect them.
October 3, 2012
Thank you for the information. I was checking to see if I could find who picked up the pieces. No luck. Would have a photo of the Garfield bridge before it was cut into.
October 8, 2012
Hi, I found the Twig-Smith Bridge. It has not been rebuilt yet. If you would like to know where it is and or have ideas on how and where to build it, let me know. Maybe a town would adopt it.
Thank you for your time,
October 8, 2012
Hi Mike; Good job. Yes, I would like to know where the bridge is and who has it. As an historic bridge (or half of it, anyway) it should be restored and put to use somewhere.
October 9, 2012
Joe, the man who has what is left of the bridge is John Parker. He works at the Mount Abraham High School in Bristol E-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Please let me know what happens.
November 29, 2012
Dear Mr. Parker, You were recently contacted by Mike Lockwood concerning the Twig-Smith Brownsville Covered Bridge, that you had the bridge and that you have plans to re-erect it. He gave me your email address.
I apologize for having lost contact with you, but it is good news that you still have the bridge. I would like to have your story about salvaging, storing and re-erection plans to share with the Covered Bridge Community through our newsletter and website: www.vermontbridges.com
I am yours in bridging,
November 29, 2012
Dear Mr. Nelson, The bridge that I have stored is the Twig-Smith bridge which is 1/2 of the original Garfield, Vermont bridge and the Pomfret Bridge is the other 1/2. The Twig-Smith bridge collapsed in a wind shear event several years ago because someone had removed the collar ties to allow the passage of concrete trucks to the development that it serviced. The collar ties were not replaced and the bridge was structurally compromised. When I found out that the West Windsor fire department was planning to burn the remains of the bridge I contacted the Vermont Covered Bridge Historical Society and because of our combined efforts we were able to get permission to remove the bridge. Two of my friends and myself traveled to Brownsville and disassembled the remains of the bridge and trucked the timbers to a storage site in Reading where the bridge remains to this day.
I originally planned to re-erect the bridge in Reading but I realized that the spot that I chose would prohibit the public from viewing the structure. I recently purchased property in E. Brookfield, VT with the intent of restoring the buildings that exist on the property. The property borders the 2nd branch of the White River and actually includes the remains of a bridge foundation. Brookfield does not have a covered bridge (only the floating bridge) so my plan is to erect the Garfield Twig-Smith Bridge at that location if I can obtain the necessary permits.
Thanks for your interest in this project!
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 email@example.com.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org, Phone (802) 584-3545.
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
Covered Bridges of New England - DVD
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 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.
To place your ad in the Bridger, contact Joe Nelson, email@example.com. The ad must be about covered bridges and you must be a member of a covered bridge society.
For more information or to sign up for any of these two positions, please contact Bill Carroll, firstname.lastname@example.org
from VCBS Archives
The archives of the Vermont Covered Bridge Society have clippings and prints relating to 6 of the 68 (or more) lost bridges in Caledonia County, as follows:
Recent accessions: Clippings from the Rutland Herald, from Irene Barna. Most are illustrated clippings and feature work done after Tropical Storm Irene.
To our members: Please save newspaper articles relating to any aspect of the covered bridges in Vermont, with the name of the newspaper and date of publication. They can be brought to a meeting or sent to Bill Carroll.
2013 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 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 gives the society the funds it needs going in to the new year.
Here are the prizes for this year's contest: Two year free membership to the VCBS or a signed copy of Spanning Time, Vermont's Covered Bridges by Joe Nelson, or the cash equivalent. To be eligible for this year's contest, there are two things you need to do:
Membership Birthdays and Anniversaries
Joseph G. Giannattasio Jr., on December 4, 2012, of Lindenwold, age 72. Beloved husband of Rosemary (nee Eldridge), loving father of Daniel and his wife Jennifer of Runnemede, devoted grandfather of Nicholas, Julia, and Alex. Also survived by one brother George Giannattasio.
Joseph was a member of Theodore Burr Covered Bridge Society and many other covered bridge societies. Joseph (Jersey Joe) and Rose have been members of the Vermont Covers Bridge Society since December, 2002.
He was an accomplished nature photographer. In lieu of flowers donations may be made in Joseph's honor to the American Cancer Society, 1851 Old Cuthbert Rd., Cherry Hill, NJ 08034.