October - November - December - Fall 2002
National Society for the preservation of Covered Bridges
David Topham, Treasurer, (after December 25, 2002) 11707 Oakmont Ct., Fort Myers, FL
33908-2825 (941) 433-1551;
Sunday, September 22 Meeting will be held at the "Bog" (Cilleyville) Bridge in Andover, NH. We will meet at the site about noon and the meeting will commence after lunch. Please bring your own food. There will be a charcoal grill available. Tim Andrews is in the process of repairing this structure. The bridge is located just off of Route 11 on the road from Cilleyville to West Andover. It can be seen from Route 11.
Sunday, October 20 NSPCB Annual Meeting. French King Restaurant, Millers Fall, MA. See last page of newsletter for dinner reservation information. Reservations must be made by October 11, 2002.
November Meeting canceled.
Dear Fellow Members, Greetings!
As I commence this message, I am reminded of one of the things I said at the start of my spring letter to you: "we here in Westminster are beginning to enjoy late? Spring / early? Summer weather. It has rained quite a bit -- not at all a bad thing; those of you who live in Northern New England already know about our persistent drought, and the rest of you have probably heard of it -- but at the same time there has been a goodly amount of sun." Well, it did indeed rain quiet a bit, just as reported, early on, that is. But then it essentially stopped. And yes, there has certainly been a goodly amount of sun, with attendant temperatures which have reminded me more of my days living in New Jersey than of what I should normally be expecting in southern Vermont. The following table of daily high temperatures ought to give those of you who do not live in Northern New England an idea of just what those of us who do live here have been experiencing all summer long:
Note particularly the daily high temperatures beginning on July 29 and continuing through August 22. The fellow who coined the phrase, the dog days of August, certainly knew what he was talking about. Well, on to the bridges and bridge-related subjects.
At the close of my message to you last quarter, I stated that I should be fleshing out in much greater detail the National Park Service project to nominate thirty or so Covered Bridges as National Historic Landmarks. I even swore that I should be doing this in the present President's Message.
Chose Promise: chose faite, (Literally, "Thing promised; thing done.") or if not yet quite 'faite,' soon to be SO.
As many of you may remember from a previous discussion of the matter, the Historic American Engineering Record Division of the National Park Service (H.A.E.R.) has begun a fairly thorough investigation of a representative sample of this nation's remaining Covered Bridges. To quote once again from Eric DeLony's letter announcing the H.A.E.R. initiative, "The core of the project is Historic American Engineering Record documentation (historical reports, measured and interpretive drawings, large format photographs) of a selection of the outstanding wooden covered bridges of the United States. Additional components include the structural evaluation of the performance and behavior of typical and unusual framing systems, fabrication and construction practices, a National Historical Landmark theme study, updates to the World Guide to Covered Bridges (focusing on the American examples), and a traveling exhibition of the "findings" of these projects. The bridges which have been selected for recording, documentation, and structural analysis have been selected on the basis of their unusual historical interest, or the fact that they represent an important building type, or their great good fortune to have remained in largely original condition.
Early on, and to some extent as a direct result of the specific sum which had been made available to the National Park Service by the Federal Highway administration under the Jeffords bill, it was decided to establish a list of about thirty American Covered Bridges worthy of special recognition and study. Several lists were prepared to this end, but the one compiled by Joseph D. Conwill, amongst many others things, the Editor of Covered Bridge Topics, was ultimately adopted.
So that all of you will be aware of just which bridges are currently being examined and documented, here is Joseph's original list:
1. Sunday River Bridge, Oxford County, Maine
To Joseph Conwill's original list, the following two spans have been added: (1) the Eldean Bridge in Miami County, Ohio (Long Trusses containing counter braces with wedges at the top), and (2) the Pine Bluff Bridge in Putnam County, Indiana (Howe Trusses with metal angle blocks).
There has been some further discussion as to whether to bring the total number of Covered Bridges being documented, etc., up to forty. So far, and as far as I know, the latter question is yet to be resolved.
Over and above the importance of documentation and recording, National Historic Landmark Status is significant and desirable for the thirty-two above named Covered Bridges, because if granted, it would constitute additional protection for these spans, additional protection such that, it is to be hoped, it would become ever more difficult for the structures in question to be "modified" or "reformed out of existence" at some future date. None of us ought to lose sight of the fact that though Covered Bridges can be lost to fire, flood, or neglect, they can also be lost as a result of unsympathetic "restoration" schemes, the purpose of the latter most often being to "correct" the errors of our Covered-Bridge building ancestors, and thereby to bring these sometimes "seriously flawed" spans up to modem, scientific standards. Sic transit gloria pontis! And of course afterwards, the world has become an infinitely poorer place. As all of you now know, the National Society has long been in the forefront of those fighting for the use of traditional materials and procedures in Covered Bridge renovation projects. In the opinion of your President and the various other officers of the Society, galvanized bolts, pressed washers, metal splice plates, glue-laminated timbers, and the like, have no legitimate place within the confines of an ancient Covered Wooden Span. There, such materials can only denature and adulterate, never restore or recreate. Though we are not always successful when arguing for what might be called "Authentic Restoration," we can all nevertheless take strange comfort in the words of Richard Hooker as set down in his masterpiece, The Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity: "Though for no other cause, yet for this; that posterity may know we have not loosely through silence permitted things to pass away as in a dream...."
Sincerely, Your President, David W. Wright
At the membership meeting in July, initial plans for NSPCB's 50th Anniversary celebration were presented by the Committee of Joe and Marianne Cohen and Pauline and Don Prideaux. Much of the activity will take place in the actual anniversary year of 2004, but is beginning now and your help is needed!
It is planned to have a special anniversary weekend in 2004 at the Contoocook RR covered bridge in NH. On Saturday, we will have a banquet at a nearby restaurant, probably in Concord at a hotel. We will have trips to covered bridges in the area during that weekend. We want to have as many of our members as possible, particularly our older members, attend. We also want members from other Societies to come. We need help in making personal invitations to send to all of our members. We intend to have packages of small gifts appropriate to covered bridge motifs for everyone coming to the weekend.
We would like to have a special edition of Covered Bridge TOPICS to commemorate our 50th Anniversary. Look through your files now and see if you have any appropriate pictures. The details on this edition will be coming from Joseph Conwill in the future. We are also looking into purchasing special mementos. These might include pins, patches, T-shirts and small wooden bridges. What ideas do you have? The goal is to have the next World Guide available in time.
The Committee needs lots of ideas and particularly lots of LOCAL help. Please contact us and volunteer for things that are of interest to you.
Joe and Marianne Cohen, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Northern Virginia Journal, July 18, 2002. Author Locates State's Nine Covered Bridges, Writes Book. Leola B. Pierce, a retired transportation engineer for VDOT, recently published a new book, Covered Bridges in Virginia. She visited each bridge, took careful measurements and researched its history. Most of Virginia's covered bridges are on private property; Pierce has also been educating bridge owners about the $10 million in federal grants available for maintenance.
The Times Examiner, SC, June 5, 2002. Historical Marker Dedicated at Campbell's Covered Bridge. Campbell's Covered Bridge in the Blue Ridge community of Northern Greenville County, is the only remaining covered bridge in the state of South Carolina. A historical marker, approved by the SC Dept. of Archives and History, was dedicated at the bridge on May 30. The bridge was named for Lafayette Campbell who was a Confederate veteran of the War between the States.
Albany Democrat-Herald, OR, June 17, 2002. Bridges Prepared for Upcoming Festival. Linn County Road Dept. is busy getting its covered bridges ready for the first-ever Oregon Covered Bridges Festival which will be held Sept 20-22, 2002. Several bridges have structural problems which will be fixed this winter.
Lancaster New Era, PA, July 9, 2002. $1,000 Reward Offered in Covered-Bridge Arson. Lancaster City/County Crime Stoppers are offering a reward for information leading to the arrest or conviction of the person or persons involved for the arson of the historic Risser's Mill covered bridge (38-36-36) in Mount Joy Township on the morning of Monday, July 8. Only the charred support beams of the bridge still span the Little Chickies Creek along Mount Pleasant Road. There is no decision yet as to whether the bridge will be rebuilt as a covered bridge or a steel structure.
The Union Leader, Manchester, NH, August 15, 2002. A Close Call. The Haverill-Bath covered bridge, which spans the Ammonoosuc River, was damaged by fire. Smoke was spotted by a local firefighter on his way to work. The bridge was built in 1829 at a cost of $2400 by the communities of Haverill and Bath.
The Chronicle of Higher Education, Wash, DC, August 9, 2002. Surveying History, One Bridge at a Time. A team of architecture and engineering students, hired by the National Park Service, is visiting bridges in Vermont, Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania this summer. The goal is to produce accurate and complete architectural drawings, to accompany engineering analyses and historical information that will become part of the National Park Service's Historic American Engineering Record (http://www.cr.nps.gov/habshaer/haer/).
Observer-Dispatch, Utica, NY, August 16, 2002. Grant to Help Strengthen Salisbury's Wooden Bridge. The Spruce Creek covered bridge, built in 1875, will be restored and repaired using a $153,000 federal grant. Repairs include adding beams to the bottom of the bridge for increased support as well as a new roof and fire retardant spray. The project should be completed by summer 2003.
The Post-Star, Glens Falls, NY, August 15, 2002. Buskirk Bridge Closed After Inspectors Discover Cracked Crossbeam. The Buskirk covered bridge, which crosses the Hoosic River between Washington and Rensselaer counties, has been shut. The bridge, built in 1857, had been scheduled to close for repairs in a few months, but had to be closed early after a state inspection discovered the cracked crossbeam.
Bedford Gazette, Bedford, PA, August 16, 2002. Determined Arsonist Destroyed Ryot Bridge. The PA state police fire marshal has ruled that the fire that destroyed the 135-year-old Ryot covered bridge was set intentionally. The bridge had been treated with a flame retardant material, but it appears the arsonist used a great amount of fuel to soak the bridge before igniting it.
Reading Eagle, Reading, PA, August 15, 2002. Covered Span a Draw Since Repairs Began. The 150-year-old Pleasantville covered bridge is undergoing a $2.2M renovation. Engineers have decided to take the trusses off individually and examine each piece of timber to decide whether to preserve or replace it.
CONTRIBUTORS: Ken Young, Howard Rogers, Bill Cockrell, Thomas Walczak, Dick Roy, Paula Spier, Dick Wilson, George Conn.
I visited the Haverill-Bath covered bridge August 15th, to inspect the fire damage. The fire damaged approximately 190 feet of the waterline housing on the sidewalk. The damage to the structural portions of the bridge was very minor and included heavy soot on several members and slight charring of a few lattice members. The town was very fortunate that they had detection measures in place and a fast response from the local fire department.
The towns of Haverhill and Bath selected Hoyle, Tanner & Associates, Inc., (HTA) for the rehabilitation of this bridge last year. We have completed the Engineering Study phase of the project and will be starting final design soon. The rehabilitation will generally consist of replacement/repair of deteriorated or damaged members, a new metal roof, abutment and pier repairs, and will essentially retain the current look of the bridge.
Submitted by Sean T. James, P.E., Project Manager, Hoyle, Tanner & Associates, Inc., Manchester, NH.
Any of the above mentioned Covered Bridge Books of Booklets may be acquired from
If you have any questions about the books or booklets contact:
All checks are to be made to The National Society N.S.P.C.B.
The following are items still available through the Society: All of the items below are available from June Roy, 73 Ash Street, Manchester, NH 03104-4906 or E-mail >dickroycbl@Juno.com<
The Book, Life in the Slow Lane is still available for $16.95 + $3.95
Shipping and Handling.
Books Available by Andrew Howard:
CB's of Madison County IA, A Guide . . . . . .$6.50
There is also an excellent book out on Vermont Covered Bridges called, "Spanning Time -- Vermon's Covered Bridges." You can get a copy by contacting Joseph Nelson, 2 Sugar Hill Road, Underhill VT 05489 or Visit >www.vermontbridges.com> Joseph Nelson is the President of the Vermont Society.
Both are now available on computer diskette in either Mac or PC format. Please specify your choice. The TOPICS index includes: Table of Contents for each issue, an index to subjects and authors, as well as more. The World Guide is kept up to date and in the regular format. The file on this diskett is compressed using the WinZip utility (www.winzip.com). Order your choice at $5.00 each from Joseph Cohen, 130 Westfield Drive, Holliston, MA 01746 from mid-April until mid-September. The rest of the year he is at 210 Wellington F, West Palm Beach, FL 33417.
Sunday, October 20, 2002 at 12:00 noon
This is the Annual Meeting and is being held on October 20th at the French King Restaurant on Route 2 in Millers Falls, MA. See dinner reservations and application below.
The French King Restaurant is located at the east end of the French King Bridge. The well known landmark carries Massachusetts Route 2 over the Connecticut River near Millers Falls, at a very picturesque spot. The dinner will be served at 12:00 noon and meeting will follow at 1:00 P.M.
Dinner Reservation coupon for October 20, 2002 annual meeting. To be returned with payment as designated below. The Fisherman Casserole is $17.95. The Baked Haddock, Boneless Chicken Breast and Yankee Pot Roast are $16.95. Please return no later than October 11, 2002.
______Whole Boneless Breast of Chicken
Make checks payable to N.S.P.C.B. Inc.
This web site page was coded by J.C. Nelson. The content is the intellectual property of the
National Society for the Preservation of Covered Bridges, Inc. and its membership.
This file posted September 14, 2002