Covered Bridge Presentation in Lunenburg, VT
The Lunenburg Historical Society of Lunenburg, VT is pleased to announce a presentation on
covered bridges by Mr. Kenneth Olson on Saturday, September 18, 2004.
The program will be a slide presentation and highlight the Mt Orne Covered Bridge which
spans the Connecticut River between Lunenburg, VT and Lancaster, NH, along with scenic views
of other bridges in the area. We will hear an explanation of the historical and cultural value of
covered bridges, along with information about efforts to preserve and maintain these treasures.
Mr. Olson was head of the NH Department of Transportation Bridge Maintenance Bureau when
the Mt Orne Covered Bridge was rehabilitated and the floor replaced back in 1983.
Postcards and photographs of other New England bridges, including those that are no longer
standing, will be available for viewing before and after the program.
Mr. Olson is one of New England's foremost covered bridge authorities. He is one of those
fortunate people who is able to enjoy his profession and, following retirement, continues to
pursue his interest in covered bridges as a hobby. After receiving his Civil Engineering degree
from New England College, he worked for 15 years for the state of New Hampshire Public Works
and Highways Department, Construction Division participating in many major highway and bridge
projects, including interstates 89 and 93. In 1973, he accepted a posting in the Bureau of Bridge
Maintenance which would last 17 years and culminate with his selection to serve as Bridge
Mr. Olson is an active member of the National Society for the Preservation of Covered
Bridges. He has done private consulting work for many NH towns seeking to preserve their town-
owned covered bridges. He lives in Penacook, NH with his wife Joye.
The presentation will take place at 1:00 pm at the Gilman School located in Gilman, VT.
Gilman is a village of Lunenburg. The Lunenburg Historical Society is currently raising funds to
restore the old Town Hall. This presentation is open to the public at no charge. Donations will be
accepted and applied to the restoration fund.
Lunenburg is located in the beautiful Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. Come to hear the
presentation and stay for the weekend! Tour the Mt Orne covered bridge as well as many others
in the area. The fall foliage begins early in northern New England and is always spectacular.
Registration is not required, however it is recommended. Seats will be limited. For more
information, directions, and to register, please call Mr. Charley Tatro of the Lunenburg Historical
Society at 802-892-6687 by September 4, 2004.
Ralph Rodgers Reynolds Obituary: Leola B. Pierce has informed us that Mr.
away on May 8, 2004 at the age of 82. He was the half owner of the C.K. Reynolds Covered
Bridge with his sister B. Ann Porterfield. It was also called the Maple Shade Covered Bridge. It is
located in Newport, Virginia. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.
Alabama Living, April 2004, Covered Bridges and Alabama's Covered Bridges -
Icons of America's Past. Short article and list of bridges with locations. Article is by Wyndel
Eiland who led the NSPCB's Alabama safari several years ago.
The News-Press, April 23, 2004, Alert Motorist's Call Saves Historic Bridge
. A phone call to 911 saved one of the Twin Bridges in Columbia County, P A. Two men
driving by noticed smoke and stopped to investigate
The Tennessean, May 29, 2004, Uncovered Bridge . The 120-year-old
covered bridge in Harrisburg, TN was moved off its foundation for repairs that will include new
abutments, steel supports and wooden flooring. Repairs for this bridge, which is one of only four
remaining in TN, will cost $600K.
The Caledonian-Record, St. Johnsbury, VT. May 19, 2004, Martin Bridge in
Marshfield to be Restored . Grants are currently being sought to rebuild the 1890 bridge built
by Herman Townsend and his son Lee for the former owner of the land, William Martin. It is
estimated that it will cost $50K to $100K. For now it will rest on temporary supports, alongside
its former place.
Bucks County Town and Country Living, Spring 2004. Article on Bucks County
Covered Bridges past and present by Stephen F. Rees. Ten page article and photos of all 12
surviving covered bridges. Please contact Bucks County Town and Country Living, 510 B
Durham Road, Newtown, PA 18940. Cost is $4.50 plus $2 shipping and handling.
The boxed pony former railroad bridge (29-04-Pl) just west of Gorham, NH was arsoned in
2004. Efforts are underway to dismantle and measure the bridge for future use.
Mood's Covered bridge in East Rockhill Township, Bucks County, PA was arsoned on June
CONTRIBUTORS: Wyndel Eiland, David Topham, Dorothy Brush, Marge
Nelson Lawry, Stephen F. Rees, Tom Walczak, Sandy Adrion.
THE BRIDGE KNOWS THE WAY
A New Book by Frank F. Tobie
Presented as a tour of 108 covered bridges in 29 States and 4 Provinces. Frank and Elizabeth
Tobie are your guides. Includes photos and our experiences in finding them. Descriptions and
photos of 15 bridges in the Western states and British Columbia, 22 bridges in Middle America,
15 bridges in the South and Southeast, 29 bridges in the Middle Atlantic and New England states,
and 25 bridges in 3 eastern provinces and the Great Lakes states.
The book is hard cover, 144 pages with 138 photos in black and white, six maps, covered
bridge truss sketches, acknowledgments and sources, and index. Now available through the
publisher or the author at $49.95 per copy plus shipping at $5 ($10 for 2 or more copies):
The Arthur H Clark Co., P.O. Box 14707, Spokane W A 99214. Phone: 509-928-9540 email:
Frank F. Tobie, 3106 E. 15th Ave., Spokane W A 99213. Phone: 509-535-1423 email:
50th ANNIVERSARY ITEMS
We are very happy to have to offer this year a couple of items in commemoration of the 50th
Anniversary of the National Society for the Preservation of Covered Bridges.
Tote Bag - Has the National Society for the Preservation of Covered Bridges
emblem in dark blue on front pocket measuring 12 1 /2" by 15 1 /2" with a top snap and 20"
handle straps. Available for $15 including shipping
Ornament -Also has the Society emblem. It's a 3" round glass maroon ornament with
the emblem in gold. Available for $7 including shipping
Pens -Pens have "I love Covered Bridges - N.S.P.C.B." written on them. Available
for $1.25 including shipping.
You may want to have them all. One of each tote, ornament and pen will be available for $20
including shipping. They are great gifts for family, friends and other bridgers. We have a limited
supply, so please order yours today.
PLEASE MAKE CHECKS OR MONEY ORDERS TO N.S.P.C.B. INC and mail
143 Freeman St. Ext.
Haverhill, MA 01830
Covered Bridge Advocates Welcome Challenge to Reclaim History
by Dennis Rasmussen
On a hot summer afternoon, in the quiet community of Wimer, Oregon, local residents were
startled to hear a giant crashing sound coming from the vicinity of their covered bridge.
Customers at the Wimer Market, only a dozen paces away, rushed out to witness the unthinkable.
The historic Wimer Covered Bridge in Southern Oregon had spontaneously collapsed into Evens
Creek. Those who were the closest also heard shouts for help coming from inside the rubble and
scampered down the bank, over the shattered shingled roof and lifted broken wooden beams to
rescue a man and his two young grandsons. They were the last persons to stroll through the old
covered bridge on that fateful Sunday.
The July 6, 2003 incident shocked and saddened a community. The weekly Rogue River Press
expressed what many residents felt with the simple headline in its next issue: "It's Gone!"
Ironically, the covered bridge was scheduled for a major overhaul. Engineers had completed
blue prints just two months earlier and the construction project was to go out for bid in
September that year. Jackson County had acquired grants for over a half million dollars for the
renovation that was due to begin in 2004. But the tired old structure couldn't wait and gave way
in mid-stream. Obviously, there has been a change in plans.
Oregon once boasted a collection of over 400 covered bridges, the highest count for any state
in the country, but now there are barely over 50. The crash of the Wimer Bridge has reduced that
number by one more. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the covered bridge was
part of our heritage, a treasure to be discovered, off the beaten path and away from the busy,
The original Wimer Covered Bridge was built in 1892 but, in 1927, was totally replaced by
the County. Over the years the Evans Creek crossing received numerous repairs, but time and use
took its toll on the aging span. In 1962 attentive residents saved the bridge from destruction when
a citizens effort rebuilt the weakening structure. Load limits were set at 3 tons with no heavy
truck traffic allowed.
The Wimer Bridge was the only covered bridge in Jackson County open to vehicle traffic. The
coveted landmark was the focal point of a community, a destination for travelers, an attraction for
history buffs, a hangout for kids and a storehouse of memories for many local residents. Now,
with help from a federal grant, county funds and donations, the community wants to rebuild.
Funding for a replacement is now the focus of a grassroots effort to construct an exact
Pete Purrier, son-in-law of the late Gladys Boulter, author of a history book of the Evans
Valley, is part of a family that has lived in the area since 1928. "Before the mid-'40s, there was
one way to get up where I live," he said, "and that was through the covered bridge. I was six
weeks old the first time I crossed it in my parents horse drawn wagon."
The century-old bridge served as more than a crossing over Evans Creek. It was the heart of
Wimer, a close-knit community seven miles north of the Rogue River. It had become a meeting
place, a destination for cycling groups, old-time car clubs and weekenders out for a drive in the
country. In recent years it served as a wedding chapel for local couples firmly attached to the
bridge. It was a source of community pride.
Cecil C. Smith, long-time resident, moaned the loss. "It had a great impact on the residents of
the Wimer community," he said. "It has brought tears and many questions . . ." Cecil, a school
volunteer and history buff, is going to miss "the enjoyment of driving another teacher with a
fourth grade class through the covered bridge." His work team of horses was the last to pull a
wagon through the bridge only two months before the collapse.
In years past the town threw itself an annual summer party. Called Wimer Days, it hosted a
parade through the bridge, local arts and crafts, country music, a street dance, a bar-b-que and
Fourth of July fireworks over the creek.
The bridge was a sanctuary for generations of children who used to climb all over the
structure like monkeys, slide down the braces and carve their initials in giant support beams on the
underside of the deck. They'd hang out under the bridge on hot summer days where it was cool
and shady and linger beside that friendly old building long after dusk watching the stars come out
"The bridge was the place for kids to meet their friends," reminisced Shawna Perry. As kids,
"we'd get our sodas or candy and dangle our feet in the water. The acoustics in the bridge were
good, and we'd make up songs and sing lines back and forth through the bridge."
At Christmas one year long-time resident Cheryl Martin Sund and her husband donated little
white lights to go on the bridge for decoration. The string of lights highlighted the shape of the
bridge house. They were left there all winter to help guide traffic on foggy nights. "I loved to see
those lights sparkling on the snow that year," she said. In 1991 Cheryl and Bruce were married on
the bridge where traffic was stopped and friends gathered. "Just as the bridge was the heart of the
valley," she said, "the people are the breath of it."
For Roberta and Larry Menteer, the memory of the Wimer Covered Bridge is especially
meaningful. Their oldest son Jason was one of those kids who grew up playing on the bridge.
Jason and his sweetheart Chelsea shared their first kiss on the bridge and in June of 1999 the
young couple were married on their favorite rendezvous. Tragically, only two months later, Jason
met with a fatal industrial accident. The young man, who identified with his Cherokee heritage,
had adopted the totem White Buffalo. Klamath Indians joined the hundreds of friends who
gathered for the service to celebrate Jason's life. Juston Menteer says of his brother, "He was the
glue to the family...My parents now live on only half a heart."
Along with a dozen other rural properties, the Menteer Ranch is situated south of Evans
Creek off the now dead end Covered Bridge Road. "Without the bridge," says Roberta, "we feel
isolated and disconnected from the community."
Throughout the years locals and visitors painted, sketched and photographed the picturesque
Wimer Covered Bridge numerous times, from different angles, in every season of the year. It was
their desire to create a personal memento of that beloved "barn over water" as some would
affectionately call it. Now those precious images will help serve as inspiration to rebuild.
Cheryl Martin Sund concluded, "A replica would be a wonderful monument to the memories
of our bridge."
Planning to Rebuild
On April 6, 2004 over 120 people from Wimer, Evans Valley and throughout Southern
Oregon, gathered in the Rogue River High School gymnasium to initiate plans to rebuild the
Wimer Covered Bridge. A half dozen Jackson County officials and engineers presented the Wimer
Covered Bridge Feasibility Study which included architectural drawings, financial analyses, and
six alternatives for replacement. Choices included a wooden truss/vehicle safe bridge, a wooden
truss pedestrianlbicycle bridge only, a wooden covered steel truss bridge and a flat concrete
Whatever alternative was selected, there would be a balance due. Regardless, 83% percent of
attendees at the public meeting voted to replace the original wooden truss covered bridge. For
that choice, the financial analysis broke down like this: Initial Project Cost, $887,000. Current
federal funds from the National Historic Covered Bridge Presentation Program, $407,000.
Current Budgeted County Funding, $146,000. That leaves additional funding required for the
initial project in the amount of $334,000. If the community is to have a new bridge just like the
old one, it needs to pitch in with fund-raising projects.
The Citizens for Rebuilding the Wimer Covered Bridge, now a tax-exempt, nonprofit
organization, held its first "brainstorming" meeting on April 26 at the old Wimer Grange, a stone's
throw from the bridge crossing. In a letter to the committee, a Jackson County Commissioner
outlined what the community needs to do before the County can secure the federal portion of the
funds for a new covered bridge: Essentially it said, Either the community comes up with a fund-
raising plan to raise the extra money, or the County will proceed with their own plan to build the
least expensive bridge. "That sounds to me like the County wants to build a boring old concrete
bridge," complained committee chairperson Patricia Tracy. "We're not going to let them do that."
The bottom line is the community needs to raise $334,000 if it wants another wooden covered
bridge. Therein lies the challenge. Half the residences of the community, from Rogue River to
Wimer, are made up of low-income households and the elderly. Additional funds can't come from
local sources alone, they need to be raised from the outside, from grants, from public and private
donations and from covered bridge buffs all over the nation who also want to see the bridge
In the past, history buffs, tourists and motorists of all stripes have taken the path less traveled
and drove out to the rural reaches of Evans Valley to see the old covered bridge. Out-of-town
visitors to the area created their own tradition and purposely went the extra mile just to drive
through the bridge once more before returning home.
With a new covered bridge in place, locals and visitors will, as they have done before, stop to
take pictures, enjoy bar-b-que at the Wimer Market, relax in May Ellis Park below the span,
maybe pick wild blackberries along the creek, wade in the cool water, and reminisce about their
personal attachment to the area. In time the community of Wimer will, with a little help, have
another covered bridge as its centerpiece. Their best assets are those among them who have a
vision for the future. They know how it can be again.
Donations can be sent to:
Citizens for Rebuilding the Wimer Covered Bridge
Southern Oregon Federal Credit Union
Rogue River, OR 97537
Make checks payable to "Southern Oregon Federal CreditUnion" or "SOFCU."
State that your contribution is for the Wimer Covered Bridge account.
For the latest updates on the rebuilding efforts, please go to
www.wimercov.eredbridge.org or call 541-582 4588.
|The day after the Wimer bridge collapse, July 7,
Photo by Dennis Rasmussen.
Wimer Covered Bridge Features, before collapse:
House with vertical wooden siding over wooden truss construction.
Shingled, gabled roof, the ridge at 25.5 feet above road bed.
An 86-foot span over Evans Creek; Overall length, including approach spans, 171 feet.
Drive through roadway width, 17 feet; Dual Queenpost truss design, replacing old Howe truss
design in 1927.
Narrow, slit windows extend the length of bridge, above truss tops.
Four flying buttresses (or sway buttresses) on outside, to stabilize bridge against wind and traffic
COVERED BRIDGE POSTCARDS FOR SALE!
3by5 Modern covered bridges all in USA|
3x5 Somerset County, PA
Long gone of PA
4x6 of PA
4x6 of Ontario, Canada
4x6 views of PA
5x7 of Breezewood, Bedford County, PA of West Virginia
5x7 of Ohio
5x7 of PA
5x7 of Cornwall, CT
Complete Postcard list
All prices plus postage and handling, no stamps accepted.
Please make check or money order payable to:
Robert L. Damery,
2000 Burma Road,
New Smyrna Beach, FL 32168-8302
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
The Book, Life in the Slow Lane is still available for $16.95 + $3.95
Shipping and Handling.
Society Arm Patch with N.S.P.C.B. logo 3" arm patch available for $1.75 + 55 cents
Books Available by Andrew Howard:
CB's of Madison County IA, A Guide . . . . . .$6.50
CBs of Connecticut, A Guide . . . . . . . . . . . . $5.50
CB's of Virginia, A Guide . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $6.95
CB's of Bennington County VT, A Guide . . . $6.50
CB's of Massachusetts, A Guide . . . . . . . . . .$7.00
There is a $2.00 postage and handling charge for each book.
Covered Bridge Polo Shirts with N.S.P.C.B. Logo.
For a white Polo Shirt with a blue NSPCB logo, send $15.00 plus $3.95 for shipping and handling
to June Roy, 73 Ash Street, Manchester NH 03104-4906. Specify, Medium or
Extra Large. This is a fund raiser for the preservation fund. Buy several as gifts
for your family and friends. Shirts are 100% pre-shrunk cotton.|
Other available books from the Society Store
Covered Bridges of Vermont by Ed Barna. This is a book depicting all the covered bridges in
Vermont in the year 1996. Postpaid $17.00 (From June Roy)|
New Hampshire Covered Bridges, "A Link With Our Past," by Richard Marshall, color photos by
Arthur Round. Excellent book on NH bridges. $20.00 plus $3.95 shipping and handling. Proceeds
to Eastman Fund.|
There is also an excellent book out on Vermont Covered Bridges called, "Spanning Time --
Vermont'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.
WORLD GUIDE or INDEX TO COVERED BRIDGE TOPICS
Both are now available on computer diskette in either Mac or PC format. Please specify your
choice. It is in a compressed format to fit on a PC computer disc. You must have Zip Software to
decompress it. If you do not have the Zip software, Joe will send you a copy. 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. 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 can be reached at 210 Wellington F, West Palm Beach,
Return to top
Joe Nelson, P.O Box 267, Jericho, VT 05465-0267
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 July 20, 2004