Oxford Library Expansion builds bridges to the future|
by Jeanie Petersen
Oxford, New York, Sept. 21, 2005 - Plans are underway for the kick-off, fund
raising, chicken barbecue on Sunday at the Oxford Memorial Library, located at 8 Fort Hill Park
Oxford Library Board members and staff have all been putting in loads of mental and physical
overtime for months, to make this project a success. A million dollar expansion and upgrade has
been planned for the 200 year old, Federal-style library facility. The historical integrity of the
building has been of utmost importance, since this was once the home of the famous bridge
builder, Theodore Burr. A slogan of "Building Bridges to the Future" refers to the expansion and
to a unique individual.
Theodore Burr is an historic figure, whom county residents are (or should be) very proud of.
Although he was born in Connecticut, he chose Oxford, in Chenango County, (around 1809), to
construct his family home in. Burr was very famous for building covered bridges, and inventing
the patented Burr Truss. In those days, he built nearly every bridge that crossed the Susquehanna
from Binghamton, to Baltimore, Md., with arches from 60 to 367 feet span. His successes made
him the most distinguished architect of bridges in the country. Today's modern bridges, with their
graceful arches, can be traced back to Theodore Burr and his contemporaries. For more
information about Theodore Burr visit:
Talk of Burr' s accomplishments and enthusiasm for his arch truss still goes on quite actively
today. Author Joseph Nelson published a book titled, "Spanning Time: Vermont's Covered
Bridges," which discusses Burr and gives a description on how his truss works. Nelson stated,
"Here in Vermont the Arch' bridge construction is referred to as 'multiple kingpost truss with Burr
Arch.'" Although Burr never built a bridge in Vermont, modified versions of his plan are
implemented, proving that Burr's ingenious design is still timeless and noteworthy.
On the Internet, you can learn more about Nelson's book and read news from members of the
National Society for the Preservation of Covered Bridges, Inc., at: www.vennontbridges.com..
There is also a Theodore Burr Covered Bridge Society of P A, Inc. where covered bridge
enthusiasts, from all over, are active in promoting, preserving and restoring covered bridges in
Pennsylvania. Their website is: www.tbcbspa.com.
There are two remaining bridges in New York that utilized the Burr Arch truss system. One is
the Hyde Hall Bridge, built in 1823, by George Clark, which spans 53 feet. It is the oldest covered
bridge in New York, and it's located in Glimmerglass State Park, in East Springfield. The second
is in Rifton, NY - Ulster County, called the Perrine's Bridge. It was built by Benjamin West in
1844, with a span of 154'. Visit www.coveredbridgesite.com and www.nycoveredbridges.org for
additional bridge info.
In 1900, the Burr House and grounds was given in memory of Eli Lyon Corbin and Abigail
Taintor Corbin, his wife, by their children to the Village of Oxford. It was dedicated as a free
public library. As pointed out by Oxford Town Historian, Charlotte Stafford, Burr incorporated
his signature Palladian inspired arch into his home, as a reminder of his architectural bridge
design. Today, the library stands as an historic landmark and a media and community center, with
the potential to be even greater. The expansion will afford the library with a handicapped
accessible meeting/children's room, more efficient office space, youth reading areas, and lots
more. The improvements will bring the facility up-to-date electronically with new computers and
work stations. Even a space in the library will be dedicated to honor the original patent holder of
the Arch truss. The great inventor and innovator, Theodore Burr, would be very proud.
The chicken barbecue dinner, sponsored by the American Legion and Auxiliary, will be from
1 to 4 p.m. on Sunday. The community is invited to buy a dinner to support the project, share in
family games, storytelling, festivities, music and most of all fun.
For further Library Expansion Project information, brochure or donations call Oxford
Memorial Library at 843-6146, or Christine Gregoire at 843-5051. Tax-deductible donations can
be made to the "Oxford Memorial Library Capital Campaign Fund" through the Oxford NBT
Bank. The Oxford Memorial Library is a member of the Four County Library System. All
proceeds to benefit the Oxford Library Expansion Project.
Posted with permission of author Jeannie Peterson and Snyder Communications. Copyright
© 2005 Snyder Communications. All Rights Reserved.]