MEETINGS and EVENTS for 2007
Sunday. April 22 at 1pm Meeting will be held at the Plymouth Church, 87 Edgell Road, Framingham MA. Joe Cohen will be the speaker. Topic will be "New Covered Bridges." He will talk and show slides of newly constructed bridges and the ones they replaced (where appropriate).
Sunday. May 20 Executive-Only Board Meeting. Meeting will be held at the home of Joe and Marianne Cohen in Holliston, MA. The meeting will begin at noon and will include lunch.
Sunday. June 24. at 1 pm Will be at the Contoocook Covered Railroad Bridge in Hopkinton, NH. Tim Andrews and/or one of his workers will demonstrate joints and items used in repairing the bridge. This should be a pretty good demonstration.
Sunday. July 22. at 1 pm Will be the grand rededication of the Contoocook Covered Railroad Bridge in Hopkinton, NH. This will be an affair with representatives from the State of New Hampshire, the town of Hopkinton and bridge builders. Our Society has donated thousands of dollars for the reconstruction. If you have photos of the previous work parties, bring them along. It should be a gala event.
Sunday, August 26 As usual the August meeting is the annual picnic in Westminster, VT. The cookout is at noon and the meeting at 1 pm. The picnic will be held at the fire station just off route 5 a short distance down Grout Avenue.
Sunday. Seotember 23 Time and place for this meeting will be forthcoming.
If you are interested in getting on a mailing list for information concerning the dates and times of the meetings, send your e-mail address to Dickroycbl@verizon.net. If there are major changes they will be distributed on the e-mail.
The next newsletter is scheduled for July 2007. Therefore, anyone wishing to submit photos, articles, etc. should send them to Carmela or KC by June 20, 2007. Newspaper or magazine articles must include source information and details (such as name of publication, date, etc.). Electronic submissions are preferred. THANK YOU!
Second Annual Covered Bridge Swap Meet
This year Olin's Museum of Covered Bridges will hold its se~nd annual Covered Bridge Swap Meet. Everything covered bridges, nothing but covered bridges. It's a great opportunity to sell those extras or pick up that unique bridge item you've been searching for! Come join us for what is sure to be a good time.
DATE: June 23,2007 Rain or Shine.
PLACE: Olin's Museum of Covered Bridges. 1918 Dewey Road. Ashtabula, Ohio
44004. Two drives east of Olin's Covered Bridge.
TIME: 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
TABLE PRICE: $10.00. Reserve by June 16. Call Julie Grandbouche at 440-998-0025.
OUTDOOR ADMISSION: Free
MUSEUM ADMISSION: $2.00 ages 10 and over.
For questions or directions, check the website at www.coveredbridgemuseum.org or call Julie Grandbouche at 440-998-0025.
A MESSAGE FROM YOUR PRESIDENT
Dear Fellow Members, Greetings!
The President's Message this quarter shall be a fairly short one, due to the press of much other business.
First of all, work on a new edition of the World Guide to Covered Bridges is progressing steadily. The current plan is to have a corrected list of those covered spans still standing in the United States, Canada, and Western Europe, ready by the end of June of this year, a corrected list accompanied by a certain number of short articles which, when married to the list in question, shall make up the full text of this much awaited, much overdue, newly revised re-edited, publication.
Members of the National Society being especially observant and alert, most of you will have grasped, I am sure, one of the more important implications of the previous sentence; namely, that the corrected list of Covered Bridges still standing in the United States, Canada, and Western Europe should be understood to be more or less complete. It shall be, for the indicated regions, but not necessarily anywhere else.
Unfortunately, the sad reality will be, even in the newly revised World Guide, that many of the spans located in Eastern Europe and Asia shall continue to escape the formal notice of the National Society.
When I say, "Many spans," the phrase itself is feeble, extremely feeble. A few numbers should serve to illustrate the point. According to the 1989 edition of the World Guide, there were a grand total of 1,492 Covered bridges still standing on June 1st of that year, "Grand Total" here, meaning all the spans in all the countries where such structures existed added together. This total, just to dot every "i" and cross every "t," excluding Pony-Truss Bridges. The same edition of the World Guide also claimed that there are but 6 Covered Spans remaining in all of China. Happily, the truth of that matter is somewhat different, as recent research is beginning to demonstrate. For instance, according to the estimates of Distinguished Professor Emeritus Ronald G. Knapp -- please see his letter-to-the-Editor in the winter issue of Newsletter -- there may be as many as 3,000 of these structures still standing in the People's Republic, a figure shall we say slightly at variance to the one propounded by the 1989 Guide!
To return to the "few numbers" which "should serve to illustrate the point," 3,000 added to 1,492 yields the sum of 4,492. 1,492 divided by 4,492 equals 0.332416, say 0.33. In other words, if one ignores whatever spans may still be standing in Eastern Europe and Russia, and if one accepts the estimate of 3,000 as reasonable for the remaining Chinese Bridges as oftoday, then the 1989 Guide reported but 33% or so of the Covered Wooded Spans existing in the world at that time. Well, 33% or so of anything is perhaps the start of an accurate accounting, but it is far from being a definitive one. A more precise title for our World Guide might therefore be, A Guide to Those Remaining Covered Spans About Which the National Society Has Some Knowledge. Such a title would be more in accordance with one or the other current doctrines of "Truth in Advertising," yet I rather imagine, were we to adopt this title, that we should sell fewer copies of our perennial publication. Seriously, the discovery that there may be as many as 3,000 Covered Bridges still standing in China is tremendously exciting! For example, think how many new things we may learn about the noble art of timber framing as a result of a close examination of these structures, structures which are so different from our own. Then too, the sudden emergence of these hitherto unknown-to-us Covered Spans
illustrates once again the fact that historical research is almost always an open-ended process, and that thus the conclusions arrived at as the result of any research ought more often than not to be tentative. New data are always capable of turning up, sometimes to the very great embarrassment of the historian. To put the matter succinctly as it applies to us: The next edition of the World Guide will certainly be better than its immediate predecessor, but it nevertheless still ought to be regarded as an interim publication.
Richard R. Wilson: October 6th, 1937 Februarv 21st. 2007
As the above headline starkly suggests, Covered Bridgers and Covered Bridges lost one of their best friends and champions last February 21st, Dick Wilson, as he was known to many of us, was a splendid man who will be sorely missed by all those who were fortunate enough to have known him. He was a driving force within the New York Covered Bridge Society, having been one of its Charter Members. He was also clearly one of the reasons why this society has been so successful over the years, and is so widely respected now. Dick served as President of the New York Covered Bridge Society for twenty- five years, and led 37 extremely successful Covered Bridge Safaris. He was as well, Editor of The Courier, the widely read and always looked forward to, official publication of the New York State Covered Bridge Society. His "Card Corner" was justly famous for the wonderful photographs and informative commentary which habitually graced the columns regularly appearing under that rubric. All of us in the National Society hereby extend our deepest condolences to Dick's family, and most especially to Jeanette, his wife of some 46 years. Members who wish to honor Dick may do so by sending a contribution for the Covered Bridge Preservation to the New York Society in his memory.
Contributions should be sent to:
Mr. Henry Messing, Treasurer
New York Covered Bridge Society
958 Grove Street
Elmira, NY 14901
I would also suggest joining that society, in homage to Dick,' of course, but also because of the quality of its publication and the value ofthe work that its members do.
David W. Wright
President, National Society for the Preservation of Covered Bridges, Incorporated
Spanning New York State
Covered Bridge News
By Bob and Trish Kane
Mark Your Calendars! New York State is once again celebrating ... this time in Washington County, NY. Isn't it great! On August 4,2007, New Yorkers will once again be celebrating the rehabilitation of three of our Covered Bridges, the Rexleigh NY 32-58-03, Eagleville NY 32-58-01 and Buskirk NY 32-42-02/5804 bridges. Repairs on the Buskirk bridge were completed and the bridge reopened to traffic in April of 2005. Repair work on the Eagleville and Rexleigh bridges are scheduled to be completed this summer. There will be a dedication and celebration at all three bridges on Saturday, August 4th so be sure to plan to attend. For more information contact: Robbie McIntosh at 518-677-3151.
Beaverkill Covered Bridge - NY 32-53-02 - Exciting news! The Beaverkill Covered Bridge in Sullivan County, NY has finally been nominated for consideration for listing on the State and National Register of Historic Places! This has been an ongoing effort for some time. It will be considered for nomination at the next meeting of the NY State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. It is our sincere hope that the two remaining covered bridges in Sullivan County, the Van Tran Flat NY 32-53-0 and the Halls Mills NY 32-53-01 will soon follow.
Beyond New York
|Hall Creek Pony Truss. WGN 61-02-P11|
Photo by Nicolas Lecomte
Quebec, Canada - Gerald Arbour recently sent along an exciting find from Nicolas Lecomte from Beaucanton, Abitibi, Canada. Mr. Lecomete reported the existence of an unknown pony bridge in Quebec. The bridge is located on Hall Creek on an abandoned road north of Val-Paradis, hometown of the Pionniers Bridge -- 61-02-32. The World Guide number for this new bridge is 61-02-Pl1. Thanks to Mr. Lecomete for sharing this photo with us and to Gerald Arbour for sending this exciting news on to us.
Virginia - Thanks to Leola and Steve Pierce for sharing this exciting news. During an interview with Leola on Thursday, March 22,2007, in Charlottesville, Virginia, a VDOT representative told her that VDOT will soon be producing a documentary on Virginia's historic timber covered bridges. They hope to have it completed within the next couple of months. Details are still being worked out and Leola and Steve will keep us posted on the progress of this endeavor.
New Hampshire - There has been a lot of focus recently on the restoration of the Contoocook Covered Railroad Bridge in Hopkinton, NH and that is wonderful! The efforts by the National Society to preserve this fantastic historical structure by committing substantially fmancially to the rehabilitation of this historic structure are to be commended. But it's important to remember that there are many other covered bridge efforts going on across the country worthy of financial support by covered bridge societies as well. Please keep this in mind as you work with your society's budgets and do what ever you can to help support the preservation of all our covered bridges. Currently, the Newport (NH) Historical Society is raising funds for a $100,000, 20% grant match (grant is for $500,000) for fire suppression and repairs for the Pier Railroad Covered Bridge. If you can help, donations can be sent to The Pier Bridge Preservation Project, c/o Sugar River Savings Bank, PO Box 569, Newport, NH 03773. There are several fundraising events being planned and your support is needed. They also have many Pier Bridge items for sale. For more information on this project, or to learn how you can help, contact: Jacqueline Cote, Treasurer and Fundraising Chair at email@example.com or phone (603) 863-3105 for more details.
Calendar of Covered Bridge Events - Thanks to the efforts of Bill Caswell, Bob and Trish Kane, and the cooperation of covered bridge organizations across the country, there is now a calendar of all the known covered bridge events scheduled in 2007. It also includes meeting dates for the various covered bridge societies, membership dues dates and newsletter deadline dates for those who report news on our covered bridges. This list took some time and effort to compile and we hope you will find it a helpful tool as you plan your covered bridge activities this year. You can view this calendar by visiting the Covered Spans of Yesteryear website lostbridges.org or Joe Nelson's website at vermontbridges.com. We hope to be able compile this calendar on an annul basis each December for the following year. If you have an event you would like added to the calendar, please contact Trish Kane at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to check the websites often for any last minute changes or additions as events do change.
News Clips - As part of our work with the Covered Spans of Yesteryear project, we have been gleaning old covered bridge newsletters for pertinent information on bridges that no longer exist. It is amazing what little tid-bits of information we have found as we read through them. Here is one we wanted to share with you. This was taken from the April 1969 issue of Ohio's Covered Bridge Chatter. The heading reads: My Drapes are Different than Your Drapes. The clip begins ... Says Dick Donovan, because Mom made them, and the picture he sent of an attractive bit of drapery proves he is right. The drapes were made by sewing 127 linen towels together. Calendars of covered bridges are used and no duplication of towels is apparent. Thanks for the picture Dick, and congratulations Mom. We had to smile when we read this, as we are sure many of you will as well. First, because if you ever visited the home of Richard Donovan, you will no doubt remember these drapes as he had them hanging in his living room. And secondly, we all know you never called Richard, Dick! If Richard were reading this right now ... we think he'd smile too.
Covered Bridge Websites
Here are a few new/updated websites you might like to bookmark or add to your favorites:
http://archives.gnb.calExhibits/CoveredBridges/Default.aspx?L=FR - This website is really neat and features New Brunswick's Covered Bridges and lots of history!
www.indianacrossings.org - This is the new address for the Indiana Covered Bridge Society which will be a companion to their newsletter, which has been retitled Indiana Crossings.
Covered Bridges in China? Check this out - www.pbase.com/phiw/zhejiang
For Immediate ReleaseRibbon Cutting Event to Open Three Restored Covered Bridges in Washington County, New York
Contact: Jackie Keren
February 7, 2007
CAMBRIDGE, NY - The Covered Bridges Advisory Committee of Washington County, New York, will host a ribbon cutting event on August 4,2007 to re-open three covered bridges, built in the 19th century, and recently restored: Buskirk's Bridge, Eagleville Bridge and Rexleigh Bridge. The events begin at 10:00 am at Buskirk's Bridge, move to the Eagleville Bridge at noon and then to the Rexleigh Bridge at 1:30 pm. All participants of the Covered Bridge Tour will be welcomed at the Historic Salem Courthouse at 2:00 pm for an afternoon celebration. State-level and local dignitaries will be on hand to celebrate the reopening of these historic bridges.
Invited guests include US Senators Hillary Clinton and Chuck Schumer of New York and Jim Jeffords of Vermont; US Congresswomen Kirsten Gillibrand of New York; New York State Senators Joe Bruno and Betty Little; and New York State Assemblyman Roy McDonald. Local guests include the town supervisors of Cambridge, Hoosick, Jackson and Salem, and representatives of the Preservation League of New York, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, and local volunteer fIre departments.
Acknowledgements will be offered at each bridge. In addition a group of Irish step-dancers will dance "The Bridge of Athlone" to live music. Following the ribbon cutting, a procession of ox-and horse-drawn vehicles and antique cars will cross each bridge. Participants will proceed to each bridge on roads that were in use at the time the bridges were built, winding their way through the hills and valleys of southern Washington County. The tour will make its way through the hamlet of Shushan, where the Shushan Covered Bridge will be open to the public.
At 2:00 pm, all are welcomed at a celebration at the Historic Salem Courthouse, just a few miles from the Rexleigh Covered Bridge. The Courthouse, built in 1869, is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and is one of the most important historic public buildings in the region. Designed by noted Troy architect Marcus F. Cummings, the Old Courthouse contains one of the best preserved late-nineteenth century courtrooms in the entire state. The entire complex includes the adjacent jail, a rare, intact facility from 1906, the jailor's house, and several bams.
The celebration includes refreshments, door prizes, covered bridge artists, period music, and an opportunity to purchase a souvenir booklet as well as Eric Sloane's book "American Barns and Covered Bridges." At each bridge, volunteer docents will distribute a free brochure with a ticket. Visitors who get their tickets stamped at all three bridges will be eligible for door prizes at the Courthouse. A commemorative T-shirt will be available for sale throughout the tour.
The day concludes with a chamber music concert by Music from Salem at historic Hubbard Hall, an opera house built in 1878. The program will highlight composers of the period during which the bridges were built, including Samuel Barber's "Dover Beach" (string quartet and voice); and the songs of Steven Foster. The music ofJohn Adams will also be featured with "Shaker Loops," one ofthe best minimal pieces about the ecstatic "shaking" of the Shakers (for string septet).
For more information about the ribbon cutting events and the celebration, call Jackie Keren at 518-854-9120 or email email@example.com. Information will also be posted at the website for the Towns & Villages ofthe Battenkill Valley at http://www.visitbattenkillvalley.com/
Update on Covered Spans of Yesteryear Project
by Bill Caswell
The winter months provide some time to stay inside and get pictures scanned. As a result, many Pennsylvania pictures have recently been added to the website. Information about some of the former covered bridges in California, Washington and West Virginia have been added along with Columbiana (312 bridges) through Erie Counties in Ohio. Work has begun on New York, which, with Ohio, is the last of the "big" states to compile. You may see the Rensselaer and Washington County bridges appearing shortly.
This year is the 80th anniversary of the 1927 flood that devastated Vermont. I have been working on compiling a list of the covered bridges lost during that great storm. If anyone has information or photographs they would like to share in regards to the flood, it would be greatly appreciated. Some of you have already seen the beginnings of the presentation I am preparing on this topic and I hope to have it completed during the summer.
To hear about updates as they become available visit the website -- www.lostbridges.org -- and sign up for our mailing list. In addition to exploring the website, repor:ts from the states and provinces that we have researched to date are available at the Covered Bridge Museum in Bennington, Vermont.
If you are interested in offering pictures of the lost bridges in your area and have the ability to scan them, please contact me. There is still a vast amount of territory to cover and any assistance will be greatly appreciated. Email is usually the most effective way to contact me -- firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here is an official State ofIndiana website which should be of interest. The study is 192 pages, so if you down load that, I hope you have a fast connection. It looks to be very interesting.
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