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Save the date June 18 and 19, for the Vermont History Expo at Tunbridge. This two-day event draws thousands of people from Vermont and further away to look at displays and visit with members of nearly all the historical organizations in Vermont. It is an outstanding opportunity for us to tell the world about VCBS and the covered bridges of Vermont. We need members to volunteer to staff our booth for all the two-hour shifts, to talk with visitors, accept new memberships and/or donations. Please advise either Joe Nelson or myself if you are able to volunteer.
Bill Carroll, President VCBS
Annual Spring Meeting
May 21, 2016
The Annual Spring Meeting for 2016 will be held at the Visions of Vermont Art Gallery, 100 Main St. in Jeffersonville, Vermont on May 21.
Access will be given to the basement at 9:00AM for set-up and socializing. The Business meeting will start by 10:00AM to conclude at 11:00AM for the presentations.
The doors will be open at 9:00AM. for set-up and socializing. The business meeting will begin at 10:00AM to be concluded by 11:00AM for our speaker. We have invited Laura Trieschmann, Vermont's State Historic Preservation Officer, to speak to us.
A catered lunch will be served on premises, to be followed a covered bridge tour.
June 18 & 19, 2016
The theme this year is The Power of Water in Vermont History. Vermont has a long and elemental history with water. Destructive events such as the 1927 flood and 2011's Tropical Storm Irene have changed lives and communities both physically and emotionally.
Water-powered mills and factories were economic engines for their communities; the Connecticut River and Lake Champlain connected Vermont to the larger world and were important military sites and travel routes; snow and ice have made Vermont a winter sports capital; and finally, each town can boast of a beloved community swimming hole, covered bridge, or waterfall.
Let us take you back to the days of small Vermont hill farms, rural country stores, horses and buggies, homespun clothes and hearthside stories. Nearly 150 history and heritage organizations offer fascinating exhibits sharing community history from all over the state. Artists, artisans, musicians, authors, crafters, and genealogists complete this history-filled heritage extravaganza!
Please contact Amanda Gustin, Public Program Coordinator, with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or (802) 828-2180.[This announcement is adapted from the Vermont Historical Society website: www.vermonthistory.org.]
The proposed Annual Budget for 2016 of $3,598.00 was approved, 10 for, 2 abstaining, and 2 not voting. The budget includes $2,000.00 for the Hectorville Covered Bridge recovery voted for in 2014.
The proposal to put the sales profits and member donations of $616.50 into the Save-a-bridge Fund was approved, 11 for, 1 abstaining and 2 not voting.
The proposal for the board of directors to select the site of the Annual Spring Meeting was approved. The choices presented were the Visions of Vermont Art Gallery in Jeffersonville, Northfield, and Bennington. The Jeffersonville site was selected by a vote of 7 for, 1 abstention, and 2 not voting. The Northfield site received 3 votes, the Bennington site, 1 vote.
A fourth proposal, submitted by Joe Nelson, was to select one of two VCBS brochures for official use.
Background: The Membership Committee submitted a new brochure designed specifically for recruiting. We have been using the brochure designed some years ago that needed updating. I asked the writing group I belong to, to view the two brochures and let us know which of the two would most likely entice them to join the VCBS. They did so, and designed a new brochure using features of both submitted brochures. The writing group is comprised of a retired St. Michaels College professor, an author of grammar books who teaches at UVM and the University of Chicago, a retired newspaper editor, and two published authors. I did not participate in the process in any way.
The voting choices were brochure A or brochure B, brochure A being that submitted by the Membership Committee. The vote: brochure A, 3 for, brochure B, 8 for, 1 abstention, 2 not voting.
A fifth proposal was submitted by William McKone: to change the amount budgeted for the Publicity Committee from $40.00 to $250.00. The vote: 3 no, 5 yes, 1 abstention, and 5 not voting. The quorum being 8, the proposal passed and the Budget for the year 2016 has been adjusted to $3,848.00.
The meeting closed with Ray Hitchcock moving to adjourn and Irene Barna seconding.
Please note that Johnny Esau had notified us that because he was undergoing chemotherapy he opted to abstain from the vote. Johnny has been a sparkplug to the society for years. We should wish him a speedy recovery: email@example.com.
Save the Date!
By Trish Kane
As many of you know, a lot has happened at the Hyde Hall Covered Bridge in the last four years and a celebration is being planned for Sunday, July 17, 2016 at 2 pm to commemorate these exciting changes. This event will take place right at the bridge and is being sponsored by "New York State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, Friends of Glimmerglass, Hyde Hall and the New York State Covered Bridge Society. During the event, we will be unveiling the beautiful new Interpretive Sign. Attendees will also have an opportunity to tour the historic Hyde Hall Mansion.
Watch your email for more information as plans become finalized. Meanwhile, if you have any questions or would like to assist, please don't hesitate to contact Trish Kane at: 607-674-9656 or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
535 2nd NH Tpke, Hillsboro, NH 03244
or email at email@example.com.
John Weaver presented his evaluation of Chelsea's Moxley Bridge to the VTrans Historic Bridge Committee on January 28, 2016. What follows is a summary.
Vermont Agency of Transportation has assumed the task of preparing an Engineering Study for the Moxley Covered Bridge in Chelsea, Vermont. The project's Priority of Uses as defined by the Historic Covered Bridge Preservation Plan is "Limited Vehicle Use." In this case, vehicles are limited to 4 tons.
The purpose of this engineering study is to evaluate structural deficiencies and to recommend solutions which best accomplish the project purpose and need for Bridge No. 46, the Moxley Covered Bridge, over the First Branch of the White River in Chelsea, Vermont. The Moxley Covered Bridge was last inspected by VTrans personnel in October 2015. They determined that the condition of the bridge would require repairs to the superstructure.
The Moxley Covered Bridge was built in 1883 and is a single span queen post bridge of 56 feet end to end. The bridge has been repaired various times throughout its lifetime, but appears to have maintained its original character of construction. The bridge was entered in the National Register of Historic Places on September 10, 1974.
The metal roof is generally in fair condition. The roof boarding appears to be in satisfactory condition. Roof soffits appear to provide very limited protection to superstructure members. The upper bracing appears to be in fair condition. Some minor repairs are required.
The bottom chord of the upstream truss at the east abutment shows significant rot at the bearing end area. The bed timber and bearing blocks at this location are also rotted. Repairs are recommended for the lower chord and all east abutment bearings.
The floor beams appear to be in fair condition. The wood flooring is in worn condition and needs replacement. The board siding is in a worn condition, while the abutments and road approaches appear to be in fair condition.
The estimated total cost of repairs is $56,850. The Moxley project is not yet funded.
The status of the work on the Scott Covered Bridge, called the Townshend Project, was also presented at the January 28th Historic Bridge Committee meeting by Project Leader, Mark Sargent.
Extensive plan drawings were shared showing all of the timber components to be removed as the work goes on. A piece of the bottom chord was passed around to demonstrate the general condition of parts of the bridge. The piece had the consistency of a chunk of balsa.
One big change to Scott Bridge is the removal of the famous twisted laminated arch once added to strengthen the structure. The old arch was pronounced to be dead weight, and no longer serving a useful function.
The restoration is targeted to be complete by the end of the coming summer.Joseph C. Nelson
Cambridge Covered Bridges
Two graduate students in the University of Vermont's Historical Preservation Program, Jacquelyn Lehmann and Michelle Johnstone, were recruited by Liam McKone through Robert McCullogh to help with a study of the covered bridges in the Town of Cambridge, VT. Working through the fall of 2015, the young ladies produced a record of covered bridges in the town, both the three surviving and those lost over time. Although the time available did not allow for a definite determination of the information on the bridges, the results documented at www.coveredcambridge.wordpress.com provide a good base on which the proposed Cambridge Covered Bridge Trail can be developed.
A draft brochure to be distributed for use in visiting the sites of both existing bridges and those that have disappeared was also produced by the students. The local Smugglers' Notch Chamber of Commerce has agreed to support completion of the brochure, printing, and distribution to enhance the possibilities for bridgers visiting the area.
The map showing covered bridge locations in the town was used as part of a program on local history presented by Liam McKone at the request of the Cambridge Elementary School. The third grade classes at the school hosted him, along with Mark Maloney, for lunch and gave good attention to a PowerPoint presentation of 18 slides in the classroom later. Many of the elementary school students were familiar with the three local bridges and provided interesting commentary on their historical significance. A variety of responses to questions asked in the presentation definitely raised the awareness of both teachers and pupils as to the importance of preserving these historical artifacts. Sheets of covered bridge notepaper acquired at the Oxford conference last August were distributed as souvenirs and several of the old VCBS brochures were given to the teachers in attendance. A trunnel from a Montgomery covered bridge that was passed around for examination sparked a question from one student if it was as old as the person talking to them.
This program was well received and others are encouraged to approach schools in their areas as a valuable process to make young people realize the value of the covered bridges in their areas and what they can do to help preserve them.
Cornish, New Hampshire police reported that a school bus carrying a girls basketball team struck and damaged the Dingleton Covered Bridge (WGN 29-10-02) on Saturday, February 20. The bus driver was lost and tried to turn around. The bridge, posted at 6 tons and 7' 3" clearance, was struck on both ends by the bus, which has a 10' 4" clearance requirement and a curb weight of up to 15 tons. Police are investigating a misdemeanor charge of conduct after an accident and two violations.(Reported by WMUR, February 25, 2016.
Repairs are complete on Waitsfield's Village or "Big Eddy" Covered Bridge (WGN 45-12-14). Constructed in 1833, this bridge is believed to be the oldest operating covered bridge in Vermont and is known to be the longest clear span of any Burr arch bridge in Vermont. A cantilevered sidewalk added in the 1950s caused racking and distortion of the trusses numerous storm events damaged the abutments and accelerated rot of various structural members. Improvements included widened abutments, a replacement and independently supported timber-clad pedestrian bridge, replacement of the decking and several floor beams, and roof repairs. The project tied in with a roadway, sidewalk, and streetscape project benefiting the adjacent downtown merchants and visitors. The town also intends upon adapting the widened abutments to serve as viewing platforms. DuBois & King was the Consulting Engineer and Alpine Construction was the Contractor. The bridge was opened to traffic in November 2015.[News provided by Robert Durfee, Dubois & King - Ed.]
by Dubois & King as presented to
The VTrans Historic Bridge Committee
Relocation and Restoration of the Hectorville Covered Bridge
The Town of Montgomery has engaged DuBois & King, Inc. to develop a Scoping Study to explore options and costs for the resurrection of the Hectorville Covered Bridge. The Hectorville Covered Bridge is presently disassembled and in storage at the St. Onge Construction Company yard on VT Route 118 located approximately 2 miles west of the village of Montgomery Center. The Town wishes to reassemble and repair the bridge, and relocate it to the Town's Recreation Center on VT 118 just west of Montgomery Center. Once reassembled, the bridge will become part of the Recreation Center facilities.
The Town has received a Transportation Alternatives grant to fund a portion of the study. With the use of Federal funds, the project development must follow the project development process as administered by the Municipal Assistance Bureau of VTrans.
The Town's goals for the Scoping Study are to assess and inventory the existing bridge components, identify the feasibility of rehabilitating the bridge, estimate the costs associated with rehabilitating and relocating the bridge, determine the best location for the bridge on the proposed site, and see what it would look like once it is reconstructed and relocated.
The Hectorville Covered Bridge was one of many covered bridges constructed in Montgomery in the second half of the 19th century. As with all of the other remaining five covered bridges in Montgomery, the Hectorville Covered Bridge was constructed by the Jewett brothers, Savannah and Sheldon. Also like Montgomery's other covered bridges, Hectorville has Town lattice trusses for the main supports. The bridge was originally constructed in 1883 in Montgomery Center, but was relocated to Gibou Road in Hectorville in 1899. The bridge remained at that location for many years, but in the 1970's its condition became severely deteriorated. Strengthening measures including cables, king post trusses, and an additional large floor beam were added that helped to support the bridge for a time. Unfortunately, the bridge continued to weaken and it was finally taken out of service in 2002. It has been in storage since that time.
The bridge is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, having been entered into the Register on December 16, 1974. The bridge is listed in the World Guide to Covered Bridges as #45-06-06. The bridge is 52.5-feet long and has a clear opening between the trusses of 16 feet.
The following observations were made during the inspection of the bridge: The entire roof is intact and in one piece. Both trusses are intact, and still have the exterior siding. All of the floor beams remain. There is no floor decking, no knee braces, and no brush curbs remaining. The cables and king post trusses added in the 1970's are gone, and the lower lateral tie rods between the bottom chords of the trusses have been cut and are in pieces.
The corrugated metal roof needs to be entirely replaced, as well as approximately 60% of the roof planks that support the metal roof. Approximately 60% of the roof rafters, and 30% of the length of the ridge beam needs to be replaced. The main structural framing is in good condition, but several of the king posts, king beams, king diagonals, and lateral bracing members need to be replaced.
Of Truss 1, approximately 20% of the chord members, 60% of the lattice members, 40% of the trunnels, 40% of the siding, and both end posts need to be replaced.
Of Truss 2, approximately 50% of the chord members, 20% of the lattice members, 70% of the trunnels, approximately 80% of the siding and both end posts need to be replaced.
Most of the floor beams are in good condition; however, approximately 25% of them need to be replaced.
During the discussion following the Dubois & King presentation, one of the Montgomery party suggested that some of the needs of the Hectorville Bridge could come from the salvaged parts of the Longley Bridge, adapting the treenail holes in the lattice planking by making the holes larger. The idea was thought not to be practical and new material would have longer life. Using lumber from local sawmills would cost less than purchasing yellow pine or Douglas fir. Also, the labor costs would be cheaper than if Longley Bridge parts would be used.Joseph C. Nelson
I'm not sure as to what you know of our past progress so I'll take it from more or less the beginning.
The select board formed the Hectorville Bridge Committee after the 2014 town meeting.
The committee considered and rejected about nine different possible sites over several months and finally chose the town recreation center as the best location.
Joe Sherman and I wrote a grant application to do a scoping study and submitted it to VTrans in October of 2014. In January of 2015 we received a 50/50 matching Transportation Alternative Program grant for the study.
At town meeting 2015, the town voted to fund its share of the study. DuBois & King was awarded the study contract. They have done the various studies including site visits and a thorough examination of the stored bridge. We expect their report by the end of February or possibly in March.
On January 28, they will be making a presentation to the VTrans Historic Covered Bridge Committee on behalf of Hectorville.
We have raised and plan to continue to raise funds to help defray expenses related to this project. We are also continuing to look for additional grant opportunities.
The plan is to have the bridge serve as a link in a bike path between the school and the Center. It would be highly visible and a tourist attraction where people could safely see it up close without the worry of traffic.
It would serve as a kiosk with bridge and town information for tourists and locals alike. It would also serve as a venue for mini concerts, weddings, other social gatherings, a shelter for rec center activities, etc.
If you have any related questions, please don't hesitate to ask.Pat Farmer, Hectorville Bridge Committee
It's Time to Come to the Aid of Your Society
As you know, our society is dedicated to the promotion and preservation of Vermont's remaining covered bridges. We have committed ourselves to generating public awareness of the importance of the preservation of our covered bridges. To do this:
We have Standing Committees to do our work, each committee chaired by a member of the Board of Directors. However, some of the committees are not chaired, and other committees, while chaired, have no members. Much of the work listed above gets done, but much of it is neglected due to the lack of members to carry it out. A list of our needs follow. Because over half of our members reside outside Vermont, committee members communicate by email, phone, and letter. None of the committee positions require residence in Vermont.
For more information or to sign up for any of these positions, please contact Joe Nelson, Vice President, firstname.lastname@example.org or Bill Carroll, President, email@example.com
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BRATTLEBORO, November 17, 1939 - Because of its unsafe condition, the covered bridge spanning the Marlboro branch of the West River at Williamsville Station will be dismantled this coming winter, District Highway Commissioner Paul M. Stevens said today.
The bridge, built 102 years ago, has not been used the past year, traffic across the branch having been diverted by reason of a highway change which utilizes a steel and cement bridge built a few hundred feet below the covered bridge. High water last year damaged an abutment of the old wooden structure, and the State highway department fears that if the old bridge should go out in a freshet it might dislodge the new bridge.
Commissioner Stevens says the Sabin covered bridge between Saxtons River and Bellows Falls, about 90 years old, and the Newfane village covered bridge probably will be removed soon although [is] not at present on the highway project lists.
(Special to the Free Press)
RUTLAND, January 11, 1940 - This city is likely to lose its only wooden covered bridge, a 74-foot, 64-year-old span over East creek on Grove street, a mile and one half north of the shopping center. The bridge has been found unsafe for more than a moderate load, Commissioner of Public Works William K. Nichols stated after making an inspection of the structure with District Highway Commissioner Earl R. Welsh of Rutland. Nichols said that he had made an application to the State Highway Department for engineering aid in determining the expense of either replacing or repairing the bridge. Because of the age of the structure, he doubted whether the expensive repairs that would be needed would be justified.
It is expected that any attempt to replace the picturesque wooden structure bordered by woodlands, with a modern steel and cement structure, would be strongly opposed by members of the Rutland Country Club, the bridge being near the golf course and clubhouse.[These articles, both from The Burlington Free Press, were contributed by Rae Laitres. Many thanks, Rae.]
Editor's note: Photos of these bridges are available on www.lostbridges.org. The Brattleboro bridge, built in 1837-38, lost in 1940, is listed as VT/45-13-45X. The lost Rutland bridge, also known as "Old 76", was built in 1876, and lost to a flood in 1947, is listed as VT/45-11-49x.
The bridge is a 67 foot long Queenpost truss bridge built by unknown builders in 1865. The bridge crosses a mill pond formed by a dam in Black Creek, formerly used to power a grist mill. Remains of other mill structures are found in the area. Although repairs were made on the bridge in the 1980s and 1990s, it was closed to vehicular traffic around 1987. The bridge was dismantled and the truss timbers stacked on the shore in 2008, pending a reconstruction of the bridge. The bridge reconstruction was completed and the bridge reopened in 2009. In the archives we have copies of photographic prints taken in the 1980s and early 1990s, and a color print of the bridge and mill pond ca. 1970.
This 50 foot long lattice truss bridge was built in 2002 across Black Falls Brook to replicate the 1890 bridge built by Sheldon and Savannah Jewett which was severely damaged by high water during the winter of 1997. The bridge was temporarily repaired at that time, but closed in 2000 for a complete rebuilding. Much of the original material was used in the rebuilding. The archives has copies of photographic prints taken in 2008 (present bridge), and in the 1980s and 1990s. We also have undated snapshots and prints, plus postcard prints, all probably ca. 1950s.
This 69 foot lattice truss bridge also across Black Falls Brook was built in 1883 by the Jewett Brothers, Sheldon and Savannah. It differs from the other Jewett bridges in the area by having a side port (or window) on the northwest corner where the road makes a sharp turn. Formerly on the main road from Montgomery to the west, the bridge was bypassed by a realignment of Rte. 118 and now is on a lesser used parallel road. During late 2003 and 2004 the bridge was rehabilitated, with deteriorated truss members replaced and a new roof installed. In our archives we have undated clippings (probably 2003-2004) relating to the bridge restoration. We also have copies of photographic prints taken between 1987 and 2008, as well as undated snapshots (probably 1950 or earlier)
The Vermont Covered Bridge Society has set up a lending library available to all society members-in-good standing through media mail.
Librarian Warren Tripp has created a detailed book list complete with a description and critique of each book. Copies of the index are available by mail, or you may contact Joe Nelson for an electronic copy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A borrower can contact Warren Tripp who will send the book by Postal Service Media Mail. Books are returned the same way.
Send Warren the complete title of the book(s) you wish to borrow. He will respond with the mailing cost and mail the order when the fee is received. The borrower is then responsible to return the item(s) in a reasonable time, preferably not more than two months.
Contact Warren Tripp, P. O. Box 236, Groton, VT 05046, email@example.com, Phone (802) 584-3545.Return to top
Snow is on the ground, and cold days have been plentiful. Winter is a wonderful season for exploring our countryside. Hopefully you've had an opportunity to take in a covered bridge or two with the beautiful snow as a backdrop.
We're all a part of VCBS because we believe in the preservation of these historical bridges. We know that this preservation takes effort on the part of many people and organizations. And we're grateful that VCBS exists as one such organization.
Thank you to all who have already renewed your membership for 2016. We're happy to have you as part of the society, and we hope you'll continue for many years to come. If you haven't had a chance to renew, it's not too late. Simply make your check payable to VCBS and mail it to P.O. Box 267, Jericho, VT 05465-0267. If you are not yet a member, please consider joining us by visiting www.vermontbridges.com.
Everyone who renewed their membership prior to December 31 was eligible for a chance to win a prize. Congratulations to Cheryl Cullick, our lucky winner! Cheryl wins her choice of the book entitled Spanning Time, by fellow VCBS member Joe Nelson, or free membership for the following two years. Cheryl, I will be in touch with you to see which prize you'd like.
I'd like to extend a hearty welcome to our new members: Chris and Kellie Gonyar, Daniel Monger, and Priscilla Reyns.
Please help us grow our membership. Spread the word about VCBS and why it's important to you and to our communities. Invite your family and friends to be a part. Mention us on your Facebook page and encourage people to check out our website and join our Facebook page. Let's get the word out about VCBS.
If you'd like to help with membership activities, or if you have any questions for me, I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.Wendy Payson
Happy Birthday and Anniversary to:
Spanning Time: Vermont's Covered Bridges by Joseph C. Nelson
Spanning Time: Vermont's Covered Bridges features 102 color photographs of Vermont's covered bridges in fifteen chapters, each a guided tour. The tours are complete with maps, commentary on the uniqueness of each bridge, and historic highlights about the towns and villages in which the bridges stand.
An appendix provides: A Summary of Vermont's Covered Bridges, listing information on each; A Covered Bridge Glossary, describing the details of a covered bridge; A Bridge Truss section, explaining how trusses work with drawings of the trusses used in Vermont; The Bridge Builders, providing thumbnail biographies of people who designed and built the bridges; A Covered Bridge Reading List, for bridge and history buffs; A detailed Index. Spanning Time: Vermont's Covered Bridges: 7" x 10", 288 pages. Published by New England Press at P.O. Box 575, Shelburne, VT 05482. Spanning Time is available directly from the author for $39.00, free shipping. (Vermont residents add 6% sales tax)
Go to Spanning Time: Vermont's Covered Bridges Special Book Offer
When one typically thinks of covered bridges, New York is not the first state to come to mind, but New York once had over 300 covered bridges. Floods, fires and progress have claimed all but 32. Readers will enjoy seeing NY's current bridges, including the oldest existing covered bridge in the United States, the Hyde Hall Covered Bridge, located in Glimmerglass State Park, and the world's longest singlespan covered bridge in the world, the Blenheim Covered Bridge, washed away by Tropical Storm Irene in 2011. This book also highlights the Theodore Burr Covered Bridge Resource Center in Oxford, NY, the first ever center of its kind specifically designed for covered bridge researchers.
Connecticut and Rhode Island Covered Bridges
To order your signed copy, send $25.00 to:Bill Caswell
535 Second NH Turnpike
Hillsboro, NH 03244.
Covered Bridges of New England - DVD
There will be four beautiful Eric Tobin Covered Bridge signed prints for sale in three image sizes; 10x12, 16x20 and 20x30, the profits will be shared with the VCBS. The price range will be from about $100 to $500 depending on size and framing.
Watch for them in The Bridger newsletter, and on our website www.vermontbridges.com under Covered Bridge Market Place.