INSIDE THIS ISSUE:
With this newsletter issue, we begin the process of electing Society officers for two-year terms to begin January 1, 2018.
Starting with this, the Summer Issue of The Bridger, the Board of Directors is asking the Vermont Covered Bridge Society Membership for candidates to run for the offices of president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer. Non-incumbent candidates are asked to introduce themselves to the membership by letter to The Bridger to tell us why they are seeking a leadership role. The letters will be published in the Fall Issue of The Bridger together with the ballot. Voters will return the ballots prior to the deadline for the Winter Issue in which the winners will be announced. The incumbent officers will serve until midnight, December 31, 2017.
The Society bylaws governing elections was changed by the Board of Directors on February, 2012. The bylaws now state that if there are no challenging candidates for any of the four offices, election ballots will not be issued and the Board of Directors will confirm the slate.
The cause for this change is the membership voting record - when incumbent officers are not challenged by new candidates, ballot returns have fallen off. In a past election, approximately 200 ballots were sent, only 14 were returned.
Every member in good standing is entitled to run for office and to vote. This includes the adult members listed on a Family membership and the contact person on a Business or Organization / Municipality membership.
This is an open organization and all members are encouraged to participate, giving of their time and talent. If you don't want to run for one of the four offices, volunteer to join the board of directors by chairing a Standing Committee, Bridge-watch Area, or as Election Coordinator.
Candidates or volunteers will please contact acting Election Coordinator, Joe Nelson, by e-mail email@example.com or by postal mail at PO Box 267, Jericho, VT 05465.
Terms of our officers all expire at the end of this year. It is not too early for interested members to consider running for one of our positions. I, for one, would like to see some younger person step forth to run for President. The position is not onerous as most of the business is conducted by email. The President should be at the once or twice per year members meetings as, by definition, the President presides over the meetings. In addition there is a serious need for members to take active roles in our committees. The VCBS is a membership driven organization, and is solely dependent on the membership taking an active role. Remember that the VCBS is what we make it.
Bill Carroll, President VCBS
Included within these pages are the results of a membership survey question about meeting attendance. Of the few responses received, it seems like most came from those who live out of state and are unable to travel to the meetings even though half of our membership lives within Vermont or in a bordering state close to the meeting locations. Due to the lack of attendance, there have been suggestions in this survey and during the Board of Directors meeting to reduce the number of meetings to one a year. However, I think we ought to try just the opposite. For those who cannot attend due to scheduling conflicts, providing fewer opportunities to attend seems counterintuitive. Personally, I would recommend more meetings to provide more opportunities for people to find an open time in their schedule. But, doing that will put an additional burden on whoever arranges for the speakers to find more presenters.
For those of you who have not attended a meeting, I recommend that you give it a try; you have missed some great presentations. As president of the National Society, I am not often able to attend myself due to conflicts with NSPCB duties or my personal schedule, but do get to meetings whenever I can. At the most recent gathering, our speaker, Kyle Obenauer, provided a very interesting presentation on the transportation history of Burlington plus some background on the Scott Bridge repairs. At the end of the presentation, he mentioned that he and Devin Colman (Vermont Architectural Historian) have been researching Vermont builder Nichols Powers. I have invited Devin to present his findings at a joint VCBS and NSPCB meeting next April. You won't want to miss that. Details will be published once we are able to set a date and secure a location.
If you have suggestions for other possible meeting speakers, I am sure that the officers would appreciate hearing about them.
Also, note the call for officer candidates. We have been incredibly fortunate to have such a dedicated group willing to lead our organization for so long. However, it is time for others to step up and allow them a well deserved break.
To Come To The Aid Of Their Society
Our Nominations Committee is once again searching for interested people to fill our many vacancies and to take an active role to help the VCBS live up to its mission: to promote the preservation of covered bridges.
Our by-laws require that we elect officers every two years. Candidates for the offices of President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer are wanted—an election without competing candidates is not an election. New blood helps keep an organization vibrant and alive. Please, if you want to see the VCBS grow and prosper, contact me, Joe Nelson, Nominations Committee Acting Chairman, firstname.lastname@example.org, or write VCBS, Inc., PO Box 267, Jericho, VT 05465. I'll happily put your name on the ballot for the office of your choice.
Of equal importance is finding volunteers to staff our Standing Committees. We need more members to come forward to join the stalwart very few who are making the VCBS function. Most of the positions require only a few hours of time each year, and because we work together mainly by email, face-to-face meetings are not required. Members interested in joining a committee are invited to contact me. You will be received with gratitude and rejoicing.
The Communications Committee publishes The Bridger quarterly newsletter. The staff includes the Newsletter Editor who collects stories, edits, and composes the quarterly issues; the Staff Writers who write feature articles, and assist the editor in the collection of stories; Correspondents to collect covered bridge items and stories and send them to the newsletter staff; and the Distribution Person who works with the copy center, labels and mails each issue of The Bridger.
The members of the Events Committee plan All-member meetings, bridge excursions, picnics, and dinners. This species of member are and have been in short supply, and are greatly needed. We need workers and hosts to make these things happen, like picnics, potluck suppers, finding speakers, and covered bridge excursions year-round, not just our usual annual spring and fall meetings.
Ask about our Membership Committee and our Publicity Committee. They will find something for you to do. Do you have a new idea? Tell us about it, we look for new ideas. Whatever it is you'd like to do, please join us in the trenches.Yours in Bridging,
or email at email@example.com.
Alpine Construction of Mt. Holley, VT, has begun construction of the new Longley covered bridge. Their bid of $1,035,899.80 includes "replacement of the town lattice trusses, installation of a new flooring system, replacement of siding and steel roofing, minor substructure and approach work, and removal of the existing temporary bridge."
West Dummerston, Vermont
In early February, a WW Building Supply delivery truck damaged the roof braces on the east side of the West Dummerston covered bridge causing an estimated $63,000 in damages. A representative of WW Building Supply notified police of the incident and will pay for the damages. The broken trusses do not impact the capacity of the bridge so it will remain open until repair work begins.
Our spring issue noted that repairs to the Scott Bridge were nearly complete. John Weaver provided the following VTrans photos of the completed project. Renaud Brothers Inc. of Vernon, VT performed the $2.35 million rehabilitation of the wooden structure that stretches 277 feet over the West River in Townshend. The bridge will only be opened to pedestrians and bicycles.
It's been a beautiful spring. I hope you've been able to find some time for a road trip to a covered bridge or two, or perhaps that road trip awaits you this summer. At VCBS, we're proud to support the preservation of these beautiful structures.
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 social media and encourage people to check out our website and join our Facebook page. Perhaps you could even post a photo or two that you've taken of a Vermont covered bridge on the VCBS Facebook page. Let's get the word out about VCBS.
We appreciate all of our members, and it's never too late to renew your membership. If by chance you've forgotten, which a great many of our members have this year, simply make your check payable to VCBS and mail it to P.O. Box 267, Jericho, VT 05465-0267. Thank you! And if you are not yet a member, please consider joining us by visiting www.vermontbridges.com. All are welcome!
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.Happy summer!
Happy Birthday and Anniversary to:
Vermont Covered Bridge Society
PO Box 97
Jeffersonville, VT 05464-0097
On behalf of The ALS Association Northern New England Chapter, thank you for your gift of $100.00 in memory of Mr. Raymond Hitchcock.
Your donation will make a difference by helping us fulfill our mission: To discover treatments and a cure for ALS, and to serve, advocate for, and empower people affected by ALS to live their lives to the fullest.
In addition to helping fund a research program dedicated to finding a cause, treatments and ultimately a cure, the Northern New England Chapter directly supports people living with ALS by offering educational resources, support groups, private consultations, a medical equipment loan program, and much more.
Please feel free to call us toll free at 866-257-6663 or visit our website at www.alsanne.org to find out more about the Chapter's services and impact, the Walk to Defeat ALS, or other events and updates. Thank you again for your support of our work and our vision to create a world without ALS.Sincerely,
Editor's Note: See the In Memoriam for Ray in the Winter 2016 Bridger newsletter
We who put together the events for the Society, are at a loss to know why attendance of the meetings have fallen off. What is the cause of our poor meeting attendance? Maybe you can help us with the answer.
The formula we have been following is to hold a spring and autumn meeting for all members, and the public, in towns possessing covered bridges, with a business meeting, a speaker on covered bridge related matters, a sit down meal, and a covered bridge tour.
Roughly half of our membership are Vermont residents, most of whom live within reasonable driving distances of the meeting sites in Vermont. The same is true for many of our members in the neighboring states.
Our board of Directors met in February where the questions were asked in light of the poor attendances: Should we continue to have an Annual Spring Meeting and an Annual Fall meeting, each with a business meeting, or should we hold an Annual Spring Meeting or Fall meeting, with business meetings held separately? A consensus wasn't found.
What do you suggest we do to make our meetings interesting enough for you to want to come? Please contact me: Joe Nelson, email@example.com, PO Box 267, Jericho, VT 05489
The above was sent to some 144 members on May 7. At the time of this writing, we have received 10 replies:
(Continued from previous issue)
by Bill Carroll, Historical Committee Chair
This small unique bridge is located just off Sterling Valley Road in the southern part of Morristown. The 96 foot bridge, which has a truss which is a combined kingpost and queenpost supplemented by iron rods, was built in 1896 and crosses Sterling Brook. The original wooden deck was replaced with steel beams and concrete floor in 1971 during a rehabilitation project. The bridge is also known as Sterling Brook Bridge, or Chaffee Bridge (after a prominent neighboring landowner) and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. Our archives contain a Polaroid print and notes made in 1975, and copies of four Kodacolor prints taken between 1970's and 1990's.
This short (49 feet) Howe Truss bridge crosses Gold Brook in Stowe Hollow, east of the center of Stowe. It was built in 1844, and is the only Howe Truss highway bridge in Vermont. It is said to be haunted by the ghost of Emily, who hung herself at the bridge after being jilted by her fiancè. (One of at least three stories about Emily's ghost.) This bridge is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Our archives include copies of five Kodacolor prints, taken between 1970's and 1990's; a copy of a color Polaroid print with notes, made in 1975; a monochrome print of the bridge from a calendar; a color print of Gold Brook and the bridge, from a magazine; and a newspaper photograph of a car wedged in the bridge, Stowe Reporter, August 21, 2003.
This Queenpost bridge is located just off VT Route 109 at the center of Waterville. Built in 1877 it crosses the North Branch of the Lamoille River. In 1970 the original deck was replaced with concrete and steel beams independent of the truss. This bridge was placed on the National Register in 1974. In our archives are two copies of Kodacolor prints taken around 1990, and a copy of a color Polaroid print and notes made in 1975.
See the In Memoriam for Jean in the Winter 2016 Bridger newsletter.
The Union Village Bridge in southern Thetford was built in 1867, 150 years ago. The bridge carries Academy Road over the Ompompanoosuc River. The single-span multiple kingpost truss is 113 feet long with portals that flare outward. It rests on original abutments of dry-laid stone that have been faced or capped in concrete. The bridge is 19 feet wide, with a roadway width of 15 feet. The exterior is finished in vertical board siding, with three square window openings cut into the sides.
The bridge underwent a major rehabilitation in 2002-2003. It is the state's longest multiple kingpost truss bridge. A diagonal stiffening brace extends the length of each truss, rising from the floor at each portal to the top of the center kingpost. Two laminated stringers have been tie-bolted to the underside of the floor beams for reinforcement; each stringer comprises a number of shorter timbers which have been tie-bolted together. Iron rods extend diagonally between the bottom chords to serve as lower lateral braces.
The bridge is located in the Union Village section of Thetford in Orange County. 2.4 miles northwest of junction of US5 on VT132, then 0.5 miles right and just right on Academy Rd.
In 1867, James Tasker built this bridge over the White River at White River Junction with squared timber lattices and auxiliary arches that he used for crossing larger streams. Pedestrian walkways were added in later years. In March 1913, a continuous rain of three days and nights fell. At Sharon, ten miles up the White River, some 2,500,000 feet of logs were being held by a boom for the annual drive to the mills at Bellows Falls. On the morning of March 28th the boom broke. The logs collided with the bridge causing it to give way and pivot about its south abutment.
Eighteenth Annual Spring Meeting
Saturday April 22, 2017
The Eighteenth Annual Spring meeting of the Vermont Covered Bridge Society was held in Jeffersonville, Vermont on Saturday, April 22 2017.
Fourteen people were in attendance when President Bill Carroll called the meeting to order at 9:40 am.
Minutes of the Annual Fall meeting of the Vermont Covered Bridge Society held in Middlebury October 8, 2016 were not read as they appear in The Vermont Covered Bridge Society Newsletter - Winter 2016.
Neil Daniels reports the following for the period 1-01-16 thru 12-31-16:
Neil Daniels Treasurer
We have almost 190 members, and I'd really love to see it get to 200 next year.
I have reached out to some of our members for the purposes of getting updated contact information or reminding them to pay their dues. Virtually everyone who responds takes the time to mention how much they enjoy being a part of VCBS.
It really is a good organization we have here, and I would love to see it grow. If anyone has ideas on how we can reach out to people, I would love to hear them.
And if you'd like to help in reaching out, I'd love to work with you. The best way to reach me is by email at firstname.lastname@example.orgThank you,
We'll be holding elections for officers this fall, so the VCBS is looking for candidates for President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary for next year. If anyone is interested in one of these positions, please contact the Nominating Committee with an introductory letter: VCBS Nominations, P.O. Box 267, Jericho, VT 05465. The letter and the ballot will appear in the fall issue of The Bridger.
Joe also reported that he has problems with Windows Live Mail and it appears some people who should have received their PDF Bridger may not have. If you are one of "those people", please let him know. (It appears that the system tends to edit itself.)
Joe also noted that printing and mailing The Bridger is the most expensive item in our budget. The PDF version is "not only economical, it comes in full color".
The Townshend Bridge is the only project being worked on as of this time and they are finishing up, applying a coating of fire retardant.
They are in the process of starting to work on Montgomery's Longley Bridge which is under construction and is a replacement project.
Bill Carroll shared with the attendees a set of photos from the internet of the burning of the Cornwall-Salisbury Bridge.
Bill Carroll read an email from Irene Barna,
"I did speak with Ben Marks, Cornwall Selectboard Chair, on Tuesday and he said not much is happening; but Cornwall board folks are interested in having a gathering of interested folks from both Salisbury and Cornwall to talk about what the preferences are for the bridge replacement and what should be done now.
"Ben suggested following the Cornwall Selectboard minutes which are accessible on line http://cornwallvt.com
Joe Nelson received a call from member Richard St. Peter offering to speak at one of our annual meetings. Richard is a professional photographer, born in Vermont, living in Virginia. He has returned to Vermont in all seasons to photograph the bridges, and over the years, he has often contributed his photos to The Bridger and to the VCBS web site. He would like to display his photos and comment on them. Richard's offer will be remembered as the meetings are planned.
Irene has volunteered to make arrangements with the Isley Library in Middlebury if the annual fall meeting is to be held there.
No plans for the fall meeting were discussed, but comment was made about the ongoing discussion about how many meetings the society should have each year.Note: All reports were approved as read, unanimously.
Joe Nelson distributed a list of jobs that need to be filled:
Concern about low attendance at our meetings was discussed:
It was suggested that Joe send out an e-mail to all members asking for feedback on what they would like to see changed and would they become active? Ruth Nelson made that in the form of a motion and John Weaver seconded it.
At 10:00am John Weaver moved to adjourn the meeting seconded by Joe Nelson.
Next meeting date: Not set. The date and location will be announced in a future Bridger.
Welcome to new member: Donna Rooney.
Income from sales table: $5.00 (Used CB books)
Following the business meeting and a short break, we were entertained by Kyle Obenauer–Vtrans Historic Preservation Specialist who gave an excellent presentation on the early 1800's transportation and canal system of the Burlington Area. He also spoke on the reconstruction of the Scott Bridge in Townshend, Vermont.Respectfully submitted,
It's June already, mud time is long past, our world is greening up, and covered bridge touring season is warming up.
For the touring season, we have just the book for you! Joe Nelson's Spanning Time: Vermont's Covered Bridges!
The book features 101 full color photos of Vermont's covered bridges in 15 guided tours with detailed maps and a brief history of each bridge. The book also has an appendix loaded with wooden bridge information on how trusses work, and a glossary of covered bridge terms.
You may borrow Joe's book from The Vermont Covered Bridge Society 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 email@example.com, or go to the website and click the Vermont Covered Bridge Society button, then select About the VCBS, then The VCBS Lending Library. Or, visit: http://vermontbridges.com/whatis.vcbs.htm.
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.
And, if you have covered bridge books you would like to share with the society, the library will be pleased to accept them. Contact Warren Tripp, P. O. Box 185, South Barre, VT, 05670, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our Facebook page is alive and well, reports Steve Miyamoto, our website guru. "We just passed 500 "likes" a few weeks ago. All the news I get from you, Tom and others is posted on the Facebook page. We usually get a few visits a week."
Steve also reports that work continues on our new site; www.vermontbridges.org, "...and I hope to have something presentable by the Spring Meeting."
It will be a modernized, prettier, version of what we have. While we're planning what features will be retained on the new site, we are asking for suggestions from you, the membership, for new ideas. Send your suggestions to me, at email@example.com.
Our new site is part of our mission to advocate the preservation of our covered bridges. Hopefully it will make the public aware of our existence and of our mission. Covered bridge news and the activities of our society can be viewed on that site, and hopefully, we'll be attracting new friends and followers.
Another of our outreach tools is The Bridger, our newsletter. We like to share our PDF version with other organizations, costing us nothing but the time it takes to issue it by email. Many of our members are signed up for the PDF version, saving us the cost of printing and mailing, one of the largest expenses we have. The bonus? All of those beautiful covered bridge photos in each issue are received in full color. Try it, you might like it. firstname.lastname@example.org.
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)
New York State's Covered Bridges
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 U.S., 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.
To obtain a copy of the tour, contact:
Bob and Trish Kane
167 Williams Rd.
Sherburne, NY 13460
Visions of Vermont Art Gallery Jeffersonville, Vermont
A special sale for the benefit of the Vermont Covered Bridge Society featuring the works of Eric Tobin. All proceeds of the unframed prints go to the VCBS. Sale of the framed prints will be shared 50/50. They are all Giclèe on acid free paper. The glass is non-glare artist's glass.
Connecticut and Rhode Island Covered Bridges
During their heyday in the mid to late 1800's, more than 150 covered bridges dotted the landscape of Connecticut and Rhode Island. Since that time floods, fires, and progress have claimed all but two of the historic structures. With over 200 images, this book provides insight into the covered bridge history of an area that has not been well documented in the past.
To order your signed copy, send $20.00 to:
535 Second NH Turnpike
Hillsboro, NH 03244.
Covered Bridges of New England - DVD
Produced by Ocean State Video of Rhode Island for Public Television. On Sale: $20.00. Profits will go to the Vermont covered Bridge Society's Save-A-Bridge Program. For your copy send $20.00 plus $2.50 shipping to:
P.O. Box 267
Jericho, VT 05465-0267.