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The Paper Mill Bridge - 1889

From Spanning Time: Tour 1 - Bennington County Bridges
[with updates]

      The Paper Mill Bridge spans a mill pond and often makes a striking reflection on the clear, still water. The low rambling mill buildings lining the shore share the reflection. The bridge is handsome in red paint and white trim, and the open ports along both sides of its 125-foot length expose the plank-lattice truss and bathe the interior with a quiet warm light.

Paper Mill Bridge. Photo by Joe Nelson, Aug.
      Built in 1889, the old bridge was bypassed by a temporary single-lane iron span [in the 1980s]. It continued to serve strollers and cyclists until 199[4], when it was blocked against all traffic by the town. A Vermont Agency of Transportation inspection had found it to be critically deteriorating and on the verge of collapse. The inspection team recommended that the bridge be rehabilitated for moderate traffic.
      The casual viewer might notice the Paper Mill Bridge bears a family resemblance to the bridge on Silk Road. That both were restored in 1952 and are maintained by the Town of Bennington explains part of this. Under the paint and trim, however, the fundamental similarity of the structures may be derived from the possibility that they were built by father and son. According to the Vermont Division of Historic Sites, the Paper Mill Bridge was built by Charles F. Sears. The Silk Road Bridge, [according to the same source,] was probably built by Benjamin Sears, father of Charles.

Appendix A - A Summary of Vermont's Covered Bridges (page 200)
Paper Mill

Build Date  Truss Type   Truss L.      Truss W.      Overall L.   Builder
1889*       Lattice       125'2"       14'9"/11'2"    127'2"     Charles F. Sears

Location    Stream       Orientation   Status/Cap.     Deck Girders
Bennington  Walloomsac R.    NE-SW     in use/ 20T      no

VAOT #31. Other name(s): Bennington Falls Bridge. By-passed by temporary one-lane
bridge. The bridge stands over a mill pond and dam, next to the old brick mill buildings.
The truss web is repaired using "sisters." Closed to all traffic: inspection by VAOT in
1993 found bridge to be on verge of collapse. Restoration is planned for 1998-2000.
*c1840 per J. Spargo of the Bennington Museum.
[World Guide To Covered Bridges Number: VT-02-03]

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Joe Nelson, P.O Box 267, Jericho, VT 05465-0267,

No part of this web site may be reproduced without the written permission of Joseph C. Nelson
Text Copyright © 1997, Joseph C. Nelson
Photographs Copyright ©, 1997, Joseph C. Nelson
This file updated 3-3-00