July - August - September - Summer 2007
National Society for the preservation of Covered Bridges
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 our 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 September 23 A mini safari is planned for Franklin County, MA. We will meet at the Burkeville Bridge in Conway, MA at 1:00 pm. From here we will travel to see the Pumping Station, Arthur Smith and Bissell Bridges.
Sunday, October 28 NSPCB Annual Meeting at the French King Restaurant in Millers Falls, MA. See last page of newsletter for dinner reservation coupon and more information.
If you are interested in getting on a mailing list for information concerning the dates and times of the meetings, send your e-mail addresses to Dickroycb1@verizon.net If there are major changes they will be distributed on the e-mail.
The society would like to acknowledge your special occasions with a card. When you renew your membership please include your birthday, anniversary, and any other dates that you might think appropriate.
We would also like to hear any concerns, ideas or questions you may have for the newsletter.
Dear Fellow Members, Greetings!
By the time you receive your Topics and the Newsletter, the Covered Bridge visiting season shall be well underway. May you all have many pleasant experiences during the course of this season, and of course, safe trips and safe crossings.
John Dostal: 1909 - 2007
Alas the past quarter, Covered Bridges and Covered Bridgers lost yet another of their very good friends. John Dostal, who was one of the driving forces behind the creation of the Covered Bridge Museum in Bennington, Vermont, passed away at his home on Friday, March 23rd. John will be missed by all those who were fortunate enough to have made his acquaintance, most especially by his fellow townsfolk over in Bennington. He was one of the most public spirited people I have ever known, donating most freely of his time and energies whenever he thought that the public interest could be served thereby. The members of the National Society wish hereby to extend their deepest condolences to John's family and his numerous friends.
Re: Financial Support of Covered Bridge Restoration Projects by This Country's Various Covered Bridge Societies:
Mention was made somewhere in the previous National Society Newsletter to the effect that there were a lot of worthwhile Covered Bridge Restoration Projects scattered all across the country, and that therefore, the various Covered Bridge Societies ought to consider supporting as many of them as possible, not just concentrating their financial resources upon one or two of these projects, to the exclusions of others.
Would only that the above assertion did not confuse the matter utterly, and that consequently, the advice explicit in this assertion could be taken seriously:
The problem with the assertion in question is that it presumes each and every Covered Bridge Restoration Scheme which has been elaborated, or is currently being implemented, is worthwhile.
Whereas it is perfectly true that there are numerous Covered Bridge Restoration Projects in various stages of development all across the country, those that fully respect the spans they profess to preserve are few and far between. In my experience, such projects, that is to say, the respectful ones, are about as common as hens' teeth, or honest politicians.
How then is one to distinguish between a worthwhile Covered Bridge Project, and one which is, shall we say, quite something else?!
As has been hinted at previously, a worthwhile Covered Bridge Restoration Scheme is one that fully respects the nature and character of the span it is designed to reinvigorate. This can mean, and very often does mean, the span as originally erected, minus whatever inappropriate constructs may have been grafted onto this span during the course of subsequent reconstructions.
In certain other cases, however, later additions to the original bridge have historical importance in and of themselves, and may even increase the structural and/or aesthetic interest of the original span by their presence therewithin. Such later additions obviously merit great respect, and need to be treated extremely carefully during the course of any restoration procedures.
As can be understood from what has just been said by any but the most casual of readers, working out an appropriate restoration scheme for a Covered Bridge can quickly become both a complicated and subtle business.
For example, if a particular Covered Span is in need of restoration, it is because some part or parts of that span have deteriorated or been damaged to such an extent that it or they can no longer continue to serve without some kind of repair. If the part or parts in question were set in place at the time the span itself was initially erected, than this part or these parts constitute Historic Fabric, historic fabric which, under different circumstances, would be the last thing one would ever think of removing from a structure one was attempting to preserve.
And so on and so forth!
Are there any simple rules of thumb which would help a curious and disinterested person differentiate between a worthwhile Covered Bridge Restoration Project, and one which is not?
In my opinion there are, though as is the case with most rules of thumb, there are many exceptions to them, and, at the end of the day, one must still be guided by one's own intelligence and sensibilities, the analytical tools one always brings to the task at hand, whatever that task may be.
First of all, several observations:
1) At the conclusion of any Covered Bridge Restoration Project, the Covered Bridge which was the object of this project must be safe, safe for all the loads that are to pass over it; safe for the people who may want to drive through it, and
2) a Covered Bridge is not an idea or a concept, nor even a mathematical construct; it is stuff; that is to say, it is particular materials arranged in a particular fashion by a particular person for a particular purpose at a particular time.
Observation number 2 above has numerous implications for the historical preservationist. To discuss but one of them, the one stemming from the phrase, ".. it is particular materials".., 'particular materials' here means not just general categories such as "wood" or "wrought iron" nor even more specific categories such as "white pine" or "spruce". It means the specific chord stick or lattice member or kingpost which was set in place by the original Bridgewright, or one of his workmen, at the time the span he had designed and built was initially erected, hence, amongst other things, the importance of retaining as much Historic Fabric as is feasible during the course of any Covered Bridge Restoration Project.
And now a few rules of thumb, offered here in the form of short interrogations, rules of thumb which should prove useful in determining whether a given Covered Bridge Restoration Project has been of the worthwhile sort or not:
1) Has as much of the Historic Fabric of the span as is feasible been retained in place, and functioning more or less as originally intended?
2) Has a rigorous structural analysis of the span been performed, one detailed enough to determine the forces acting on and within each one of the members of the subject bridge?
3) Have the deteriorated members of the span been evaluated to see whether, given the forces acting upon them, these members may still remain in place and functioning as originally intended?
4) Have members parts of which are too deteriorated any longer to serve been spliced or sistered, and if spliced or sistered, has the repair in question been executed as it would have been by a nineteenth or early twentieth century bridgewright?
5) Have those deteriorated members which it would have been impracticable or useless to splice or sister, been replaced "in kind"?
6) Has the span being restored been properly shored before commencement of the projected repairs, shored such that the forces acting upon the members to be removed are essentially zero?
7) If it has been decided to re-establish positive camber in a span which has sagged, has a serious effort been made to determine just what that original positive camber was?
8) If positive camber has been re-established in a formerly sagging span, has the original positive camber been exceeded, or simply matched?
9) At the end of the restoration process, does the span which was the object of this process look old but well cared for, or has it been "gussied up" in a vain, and misleading, attempt to make the restored structure appear new once again?
10) Should the whole span have been found to be in need of strengthening, either because of some inherent design flaw, or because of increased traffic and heavier loads, has the required additional robustness been achieved by means of nineteenth or early twentieth century devices and techniques, or in some other manner?
11) Have certain inappropriate modern materials such as glue-laminated timbers or large steel gusset plates been used so as to repair or replace sections of the restored span?
12) Have the real weights of the various species of wood been employed in calculating the stresses of the members of the span which is to be restored, or has reliance been placed in the perfectly idiotic A.A.S.H.T.O. assertion that the wood weighs 50 pounds per cubic foot, regardless of species or attendant hardware?
13) Is the new joinery on display within the confines of the restored bridge on the same level as that of the original bridgewright and his crew?
The above series of questions is by no means exhaustive, but I do believe it is sufficient to suggest the kind of reasoning necessary when one is attempting to determine whether a projected or a recently completed Covered Bridge Restoration Project passes muster or not.
As was stated at the head of this section, in my experience, most of the current ones do not!
What then are our various Covered Bridge Societies to do? The membership of these societies is made up of serious people who care deeply about our remaining Covered Wooden Spans. They want to see these bridges preserved, and preserved properly. On the other hand, the financial resources of our Covered Bridge Societies are fairly meager, yet even a rather modest Covered Bridge Restoration Project these days can cost a half million dollars or more.
Many significant contributions to various different Covered Bridge Restoration Projects, contributions large enough to determine the nature and scope of the restoration scheme itself, are simply beyond the means of all of us.
Given the stark reality of the contents of our purses, it therefore makes much more sense to pick out one or two projects which we know are going to be of the worthwhile variety where our strictly limited monies can actually do some real good.
One such project has already been mentioned several times before in the Newsletter. I am referring here to the Newport, New Hampshire project during the course of which fire suppression systems of three sorts are to be installed in the two magnificent Covered Railroad Bridges located in that town. This is an excellent project, one which has been well thought out, one thus worthy of support by all of us.
Members wishing to make a donation to this very good cause should send their contributions to Pier Bridge Preservation Project, c/o Sugar River Savings Bank, Post Office Box 569, Newport, New Hampshire 03773
I hope that I shall see many of you at the rededication of the Contoocook Covered Railroad Bridge next July 22nd.
David W. Wright
Submitted by Wayne Siefert
On the weekend of June 9 and 10, 2007, more than 2,500 people enjoyed the first-ever Bucks County Covered Bridges Festival.
To the Editor: I
n the early morning hours of July 8, 2002 someone set fire to Risser's Mill Bridge, Mount Joy Township, Lancaster county, PA. By the time the fire engines arrived the roof and sides of the bridge were gone. The fire companies put out the fire and only the main structural logs remained. The logs, of course, were badly charred.
Risser's Mill Bridge was constructed in 1872 and was the last of six covered bridges that once spanned the Little Chiques Creek. Elias McMellen was the contractor. He built more covered bridges in Lancaster County than any other contractor.
I have lived all 79 years of my life on our home farm which is less than a half mile from the site of the bridge. The bridge was a favorite spot in our community and stood next to the old Risser's Mill, built in 1824.
The next morning after the fire I went to see the remains and it occurred to me that the lumber is historical. I wanted some of the logs to work with in my wood shop, but the contractor who took down the remains on July 30 said if I want some of the lumber I would need to take the whole thing. He delivered it all to our farm that same morning. (He had planned to take it up state somewhere and put it in a hole and burn it). I got all the logs and the contractor and his men saved a lot of time and expense.
It took me 400 hours to sort it out, pull most of the nails, and pressure wash the logs. I had a portable saw mill here three times to saw logs into boards and usable lumber.
The first year the neighbors kept me busy making many items from the wood. They were so glad I got the lumber so they could have something made from the remains of the bridge. I've done very little advertising of my products. Much of the lumber is still here in the barn. I do need to get the news out about what I'm doing as locally it is old news.
I've made nearly 500 picture frames so far. 160 little bridges from 4 inches long to 24 inches in length. I'm sending a photo that was taken for a local newspaper, 2 years ago that shows some of the things I had at that time. I've made many other items since.
Also I'm sending a picture of an 18ft. bridge on our pond that I built in 2003. All the lumber came from Risser's Mill Bridge except the shingles. I've built two of these and could build two more. The local bridge clubs assure me that it is the only one in Pennsylvania, maybe the U.S., that is constructed from the burned lumber of a local covered bridge.
A nephew of mine made up post cards that show the bridge before and after the fire. I'm sending two of those. I'm retired now from the Christian ministry and am open for business.
I have a display room here in a back room in our house where any one can stop in a see what I have on hand at the moment. I'm open to new ideas of things to do with this historical lumber.
Covered Bridge News
By Bob and Trish Kane
Bridges inWashington County, New York
CAMBRIDGE, NY - The Covered Bridges Advisory Committee of Washington County, NY, 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 barns.
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 of John Adams will also be featured with "Shaker Loops," one of the 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 of the Battenkill Valley at http://www.visitbattenkillvalley.com/
Call for Artists -- As part of the afore mentioned celebration, the Covered Bridges Advisory Committee is looking for artists and artisans, authors and organizations with an interest in Covered Bridges to participate in a fair at the Historic Salem Courthouse on August 4, 2007. The fair will run from 2:30 - 5:00 pm. Arts, crafts, books and information are limited to works on a covered bridge theme. Set up begins at 12:30 pm. Electricity will not be available. In case of rain, the fair will move into the first floor lobby. Parking is available on the street, at the Courthouse and around the Salem Central School. Please bring your own table and display materials. The application fee covers advertising and space. To participate in the fair, contact Jackie Keren at (518) 854-9120 or firstname.lastname@example.org for an application. The fee is $25. Information is also available at the website for the Towns & Villages of the Battenkill Valley at: www.visitbattenkillvalley.com.
Oxford Bridge -- David Kennicutt, PE, Delta Engineers Project Manager explained at the May bridge meeting that the NY Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) is now involved with this project. They determined that the crossing itself was integral to the development of the Village of Oxford, therefore the bridge is considered "historically significant". They did not establish any design or aesthetic guidelines (which includes any Burr references). SHPO requires more impact studies, documents, and procedures which are expected to set the project back by nine months. Construction will likely be in 2009.
Delta Engineers have designed a bridge to serve the community well and meet all state and federal regulations. Despite numerous requests for a Burr-style wooden covered bridge (even several from out-of-state) it was out of the question due to its expense and impracticality. There were, however, no alternate designs choices or suggested options as proposed for Oxford's (mostly pre-Civil War era) style, nor were there even suggestive Burr elements as were mention at the first Oct 17th meeting. In a recent email, Dave Kennicutt stated, "We understand the significance of Theodore Burr to the community and continue to look at ways in which we can incorporate a Burr theme into the structure."
Hyde Hall Covered Bridge -- NY-39-01 On Friday, June 8th, the historical marker signifying that the Hyde Hall Covered Bridge is not only the oldest covered bridge in New York State, but in the United States as well, was permanently set in place not far from the covered bridge. The marker stands proudly on the right hand side of the main roadway entering the park and can easily be seen by anyone using the facilities at Glimmerglass State Park. The event was attended by the new Commissioner of the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, Carol Ash. Be sure to stop by and see it the next time you are in the area.
Once again, we hear from our neighboring friends from Canada, this time with some bitter sweet news. I'm sure
many of you have heard the rumor about a Covered Bridge in Canada that stands so far back in the wilds you
literally need to fly or hike in to see it. We understand that not many folks have taken on the challenge to actually
visit this bridge because of its remote location. But, on May 5, 2007, Eric Costello and Annick Roy did just that
and they sent along these photos of, or what is left of, the Pont du Canton Laas Covered Bridge (QC 61-01-30).
We shared these photos with our friend Joseph Conwill and he, in turn, referred us to an article he wrote on the Covered Bridges of the Bell-LaFlamme Watershed in the summer 1981 issue of the Connecticut River Valley Bulletin. Here is an excerpt from that article. Two covered bridges were built as part of the colonization works in Laas Township. One (61-01-23) was a three-span, 399-footer which crossed the Laflamme on Route 37 until 1974. The other (61-01-30) serves a now-abandoned colonization road in the north part of the township, over Laas River, in a particularly remote and desolate region. Its metal roofing was removed by hunters in the late 1970's and used to build a shack nearby. It has been reported gone, but few bridge hobbyists have been able to find it anyway due to the poor roads. Old guidebooks listed a third covered bridge nearby, but this was apparently a clerical error. What a shame to lose such a wonderful structure! Thanks to Eric and Annick for sharing these photos with us and to Joseph Conwill for the past history. For more information visit: www.lostbridges.org.
New Hampshire -- Bob Durfee, PE, Vice President with Dubois & King, recently presented a paper at the International Bridge Conference in Pittsburgh, PA on the "Rehabilitation of the Haverhill/Bath Covered Bridge". About 125 engineers, contractors and bridge enthusiasts were on hand to hear Bob's presentation. Also, Dubois & King was recently selected by the New Hampshire Division of Historic Resources to design improvements and structural repairs on three (3) State owned covered railroad bridges in New Hampshire (Wright's and Pier Bridges in Newport, and the Contoocook Village Bridge in Hopkinton). Congratulations, both to Bob on his presentation and to Dubois & King on being selected for these projects.
Calendar of Covered Bridge Events - Wow, we didn't realize this calendar was going to be such a hit with our covered bridge associates! And, thanks to each of you who emailed to thank us for compiling it. We really appreciated hearing your positive feedback. You can view this calendar by visiting the Covered Spans of Yesteryear website at: www.lostbridges.org or Joe Nelson's website at: www.vermontbridges.com. Please note however, that it is impossible to keep this calendar up to date on a "daily" basis, but we will try to update it as often as possible. Please remember to contact each group or organization sponsoring an event directly for any last minute changes we may not be aware of. Just as a reminder, if you have an event you would like added to the calendar, please contact Trish Kane at: email@example.com.
Covered Bridge Postcard Show - We have been asked if we would be willing to organize a Covered Bridge Postcard Show. We immediately said, "Sure", but in order to do this, we need to know if there is any interest in such an event from other members of the Covered Bridge community.
Economically, it seems sensible to host a postcard show in conjunction with another covered bridge event. Wayne Seifiert, organizer of the Bucks County Covered Bridge Festival has extended a warm invitation to be part of their festival in June 2008. They have even offered to furnish us with tables. If you have duplicate covered bridge postcards you would like to offer to other covered bridge collectors, (who are no doubt tired of paying the exorbitant prices on eBay) please do let us know. Please note, however, that this show would be dedicated solely to covered bridge postcards.
In order to keep the space Wayne has temporarily reserved for us, we would need to hear from you by September 1st, 2007. At this time, we only need to know if you are interested in participating in this event either as a seller or a spectator. If we receive enough positive responses to continue organizing this event, more details will be forthcoming. Please email us, or drop us a note if you are interested. Thanks.and happy collecting.
Bucks County, PA - On May 23, 2007 at around 3 am, yet another attempt was made to burn the Knecht's Covered Bridge (PA-09-02) and thankfully, they were unsuccessful in their efforts. This is the second attempt in less than three years to burn the 134 year old bridge. The first attempt was in 2004. Fortunately a passer-by saw the flames and used his lunchbox to scoop up creek water and douse the fire.
Public Works Director, Joe Bush, said vandals placed two bales of hay on the bridge deck, poured gasoline from the bales to the end of the bridge and lit the gas. Fortunately, the hay was wet and didn't catch, and the fire burned itself out. Damage to the bridge was relatively minor, but sufficient enough that the Bucks County bridge maintenance crew closed the bridge until the necessary repairs are completed. Hopefully, by the time of this writing, the bridge will be open to traffic again.
Lancaster County, PA - This information will be of particular interest to those of you who may be traveling in Lancaster County, PA. The Weaver's Mill/Isaac Shearer's Mill Bridge (PA-36-02) was severely damaged by an oversized cab of a tractor trailer rig sometime during the weekend of May 11-13. The cab tore out many of the knee braces and some stringers supporting the roof structure. The roof is still in place, but the damage was sufficient to force the closing of the bridge. Let's hope the repairs can be finished soon and the bridge back in service quickly.
Indiana County, PA - To ensure Indiana County's Covered Bridges remain intact for future generations, the county commissioners have voted to establish an Indiana County Covered Bridge Committee to act as stewards and promoters of these historic structures. Serving on the committee will be representatives from the county office of planning and development, the Indiana County Tourist Bureau, the Historical and Genealogical Society of Indiana County, the Welcome to Indiana Committee and Washington and Rayne townships. Indiana County is home to four Covered Bridges: This committee will act as a steward for these bridges: Trusal/Dice Bridge (PA-32-03) which is the oldest in the county; Kintersburg Bridge (PA-32-05); Thomas Bridge (PA-32-06 #2); and the Harmon Bridge (PA-32-04). The Thomas Covered Bridge is the only one still in use. All of these bridges are in need of some repair. Four other people who live near the historic bridges have asked to be involved with the committee as well. Anyone wishing to join them should contact the county parks office at: 724-463-8636.
It is so encouraging to see more and more counties across the country take a pro-active role in preserving their covered bridges. Kudos to these folks for working with covered bridge enthusiasts, societies and preservation groups to make this happen.
Canada, Quebec - The Milby Covered Bridge (61-67-03) is slated for major restoration work. Within the limits of the Town of Waterville, this bridge will soon be receiving an overhaul worth $100,000. The town has received grants of $60,000 and $50,000 from the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Transport receptively, and the contract has already been awarded to a Rimouski-based firm. Built in 1873, this bridge is one of the oldest
surviving covered bridges in Quebec. Special thanks to Gerald Arbour for sharing this news with us.
Mystery Bridge - Some time ago, our friend Richard Donovan asked if we
knew the location of this Covered Bridge. Unfortunately, we did not and we
have been on a quest to locate it ever since. We called the magazine, which put
us in touch with the photographer, but he did not recall the location. We were
wondering if any of you might recognize it. The only clue we have as to its
location is the brief description that indicates this bridge is located in
Connecticut's Berkshire Mountains. Wonderful, but where? It looks like it
might be an entrance to a housing development or perhaps a community park.
If you have any information on this bridge, please do let us know.
New Books - Some wonderful new covered bridge books have recently been published and they are absolutely fabulous! No doubt, you will certainly enjoy having them as part of your Covered Bridge Library so feel free to contact the authors in regards to how to order your copies. Kentucky Covered Bridges by Robert W. M Laughlin and Melissa C. Jurgensen. Published by Arcadia Publishing. Covered Bridges - Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia by Miriam F. Wood and David A. Simmons. Published by The Wooster Book Company. Pennsylvania Historic Bridges by Fred J. Moll. Published by Arcadia Press.
by Bill Caswell
June, 2007 - The spring & summer have been quite busy with presentations for the Vermont Covered Bridge Society in April and Bennington (VT) Museum in June. In June we also had displays at a fundraiser for the Pier Bridge Restoration in Newport, NH, and the Vermont History Expo in Tunbridge. If all goes as planned, our summer vacation in July will include attendance at the Ohio Historic Bridge Association picnic at the Salt Creek Bridge and the Indiana Covered Bridge Society's tour of Vermillion and Fountain County Bridges. Then on to the NSPCB picnic in Westminster, VT, in August. For more information about any of these events, visit the website and click on the 2007 Calendar of Covered Bridge events link. I hope to see some of you during our travels.
Some exciting contributions have recently been sent our way. Todd Clark and Elna Johnson have both contributed copies of a large number of New York pictures and postcards from their collections. Those were combined with the cards from Trish Kane's collection to add over 300 new pictures of that state's present and past covered bridges to the website. Todd and Elna have submitted pictures from many other states as well. Those will be added as time permits. Trish has researched the former bridges of Rensselaer and Washington Counties. That material is now available. Other New York counties will be forthcoming.
Leola and Steve Pierce of the Covered Bridge Society of Virginia sent along some pictures and information related to former covered bridges in their area. This data was gathered from the archives of the Virginia Department of Transportation and Virginia Transportation Research Council. That material will be available by the time you read this.
In addition to the items just mentioned, we continue to receive contributions from our regular correspondents and are grateful to everyone who is helping with this project. 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, printed reports from the states and provinces that we have researched can be seen 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.
September 15-16, 2007
File Cleaning Have an update on the Comstock bridge in Colchester-East Hampton CT. This week I spoke with the Connecticut Department of Transportation (DOT) engineer in charge of the project. You may recall that the bridge was closed on March 16, 2005 because it was felt that the structure was in danger of collapsing. The schedule calls for the bid to go out in 2008 with completion late in 2009. They are still holding to the estimate of $1,000,000. Sincerely, Andy Howard
Bucks County Courier Times, PA, May 24, 2007. Arson Strikes Covered Bridge Again. Knecht's Covered Bridge (38-09-02), which stretches across Cook's Creek, sustained only minimal damage after it was intentionally set on fire for the second time in 3 years. It is temporarily closed while the county replaces several boards in the decking. The bridge was originally built in 1873.
Bucks County Courier Times, PA, May 16, 2007. Truck Damages Roof of Covered Bridge. The Pine Valley Covered Bridge (38-09-12) was damaged Tuesday by a truck that was too big for the quaint old bridge. The truck got away, but a woman driving behind the truck called police to report the damage. Built in 1842, the Pine Valley bridge was closed last summer for repairs to the bridge deck's deteriorating beams. Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact New Britain Borough police at 215-345-1080.
CONTRIBUTORS: George Eysenbach
The Lane County Public Works Department will release the fourth of seventeen covered bridge commemorative coins on Saturday, July 28, 2007, in continuation of celebrating Lane County's heritage of covered bridges. A total of 525 coins of Earnest Bridge have ben minted with the first 25 numbered.
On Saturday, July 28 from 9 am to 5 pm, 250 unnumbered coins will be available at Mary Cole Days in Marcola at the Mohawk Valley Rural Fire District Station, 92068 Marcola Road. Unnumbered coins are $30 each with a limit of 5 coins per person. AUCTION of numbered coins (starting w/number one) will take place at 12:45 pm at the same location. Limited numbered Lowell Bridge coins will also be auctioned.
On Monday, July 30, at 8 am PDT 250 unnumbered coins will be available to purchase for $30 each (limit 5) at http://ecomm.lanecounty.org or in person at the Lane County Public Works Office, 3040 N. Delta Hwy., Eugene. Orders requiring shipping will be charged $4 per coin s/h. No mail orders will be accepted prior to July 30.
On Sundays, June 24 and July 1, an unnumbered Goodpasture Bridge Coin will be posted each day fo bidding at EBay.comm (Type into EBay search box: Lane County Silver Coin).
On July 1, limitd edition prints of original paintings of Good pasture Bridge and Lowell Bridge will be available to purchase for $15 each at http://ecomm.lanecounty.org or in person at aaaaapublic Works. Earnest Bridge will be available beginning July 28 at Mary Cole Days. Orders requiring shipping will be charged $5 a/h.
The covered bridge commemorative coin collection is being sold to help keep these historic structures accessible for years to come.
by Ron Knapp
In an effort to begin the creation of a meaningful preliminary inventory of covered bridges in China, I have pulled together detailed information concerning 294 of possibly 3000+ covered bridges still standing in China. This bilingual list is accessible online at http://www.newpaltz.edu/~knappr/CCBINVENTORY2007.html (currently there are some minor formatting problems, such as the appearance of extraneous or other strange characters -- depending on the browser used -- when they shouldn't be there, which I will correct in the near future).
The list includes name, location, date of initial construction, dates of subsequent restoration/rebuilding, length, span, width, type of underlying structure, and source information.
I will share this bilingual list with Chinese colleagues in the hope that they can help grow this preliminary bilingual inventory over time to better represent what is unquestionably the largest collection of covered bridges in the world.
The online inventory includes hotlinks for many of the bridges. I hope to expand these hotlinks in the near future in order to provide quick images of most of the bridges. There are some extraordinary gems among them.
Beyond these named bridges, for which there is at least some concrete information, there are, of course, countless anonymous covered bridges throughout the country that demand attention and listing.
The 1989 'World Guide to Covered Bridges' listed only 6 easily accessible covered bridges in China.
Created by Pauline Prideaux
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