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The Vermont Covered Bridge Society Newsletter - Summer 2007


VCBS Holds Annual Spring Meeting
VCBS Taking Covered Bridges to School    VCBS Jim Fearon Save-A-Bridge Fund
Ellen's Mystery Bridge    Covered Bridge Fiction or Fact - Roofs
A Look Back - The Covered Bridge Situation in Vermont
Covered Bridge Community News Notes    Membership Column
Prez Sez    Letters    In Memoriam - John Dostal
Events Committee    The Northeast POW/MIA Network

VCBS Holds Annual Spring Meeting

8th Annual Spring Meeting - April 14, 2007. Photo by Joe Nelson
8th Annual Spring Meeting - April 14, 2007
Bennington Vt. Covered Bridge Museum
Photo by Joe Nelson

April 14, Bennington, Vt. - President John Weaver called the meeting to order at the Bennington Covered Bridge Museum at approximately 10 a.m. "We were lucky to have good weather to get here, at least mostly, anyway—We're between two big storms."
    With thirteen members attending, the meeting was begun with the reading of the minutes of the Fall Annual Meeting held in Norwich, Vermont at the Montshire Museum. The minutes were approved without discussion.

Membership Report As of April 14, 2007
- Given by Trish Kane, Membership Coordinator:

Total Membership as of September 30, 2006       146
Deleted Memberships since September 30, 2006     -3

New Memberships since September 30, 2006          6
Total Membership as of September 30, 2006       149

States Represented in our Membership: AR – 1; CA – 3; CT – 8;
 DC – 1; FL – 3; IL – 1; IN – 2; MA – 7; ME – 1; MI – 4; MN – 1; 
MO – 1; NC – 1; NH – 11; NJ – 3; NY – 12; OH – 8; 
OR – 1; PA – 6; SC – 1; VA – 1; VT – 70; 
Ontario, Canada – 2 

Membership Breakdown:
Business – 1; Contributing Members - 6; Family – 23
Honorary Life - 5; Individual – 57; Life – 36; Life Business – 1; 
Life – Couple – 16; Organization – 4 
Members Removed: 3 
New Members: Robert Durfee (I); Robert Marro (L); Brian McKee 
(I); Kerry Potts (I); Richard Hart (I); Warren Tripp (L)

Treasurer's Report as of 12-31-0 - given by Neil Daniels
Income Statement

Bridger ads          $  36.00
Donations            $ 481.00
Dues                 $1615.00 
Events               $ 356.00
Misc.                $  40.26
Total Income         $2738.51
Communications Committee   $ 444.38
Crafts Committee           $ 279.49 
Events Committee           $ 491.17 
Legislation Committee      $  66.77 
Membership Committee       $ 188.89 
Office-postage             $  81.24
Total Expense              $1551.94 
Save-a-bridge-fund         $3891.50
Balance Sheet 
12-31-05                   $5697.25 

   To SAB Fund     $1554.29 

   Cash on hand    $4142.96 

12-31-06                   $5310.64 

   To SAB Fund  $ 481.00 

   Cash on hand $4829.64 

   Bank Balance $5120.46 

Events Committee Report
- given by Johnny Esau, Chair of the Events Committee:
"I'd like to thank everybody for coming a long way today. It's a great museum and John [Dostal] was supposed to be here, one of the reasons we [held this meeting] in Bennington, so he wouldn't have to drive all the way up north.
   "The History Expo is coming up; June 22nd and June 23 at the Tunbridge Fairground. Irene Barna has sent in a deposit [to reserve booth space, so we are registered, we don't know yet where the booth will be located, hopefully at the entrance of the Industrial Building.]" Irene Barna, who could not attend this meeting, sent a sign-up sheet for volunteers to participate.
   "In the Fall, I have not [decided where or when the meeting will be held], but I'll get back to you on that through the Bridger.
    "I don't know if there is interest to do just a bridge tour in the summer time, go to an area and just look at bridges. If there is interest, email me at I can work out a date in mid summer."

Communications Committee Report
-given by Joe Nelson:
"We now have 26 members opting for the PDF edition of the Bridger newsletter enjoying our issues in full color. We printed 167 copies of our winter issue to serve the membership, courtesy copies to other societies, VTrans, and extras for new members."

Crafts Committee Report
- given by Joe Nelson:
"Since the VCBS was organized covered bridge memorabilia has been trickling in, given by the survivors of departed covered bridge fans.
   "It consists of little gems like you see we have put up for the drawing; scrap books, and bundles of clippings, many with photos and stories of historical value.
   We also have received collections of covered bridge books that we need to make a decision for the disposition of.
   "We need a volunteer to take over the collection, sort it, save it, and make hidden treasures available to us. One of the more important objectives of this society is to collect and record historical artifacts and documents to preserve the record of our covered bridges.
   "We have an unmanned committee with a budget for this purpose. Whoever will take over this committee and make it work will be voted onto the Board of Directors."

Legislation Committee Report
-No new activity reported by Joe Nelson:

"You asked about the covered bridge signage. [Last year] Terry Shaw and I met with a member of the [House] Transportation Committee who told us that he was interested in seeing that those signs were posted wherever the covered bridges are, at the junctions of the main roads so that people can find them. The signs will also have information about the weight [capacity] and the height clearance of the bridge. He thought he could find the state funds to do this, however we seem to have run into a little problem with budget; not quoting anybody directly but he said the Democrats got the funds. So, we very patiently have to wait this thing out, or seek some other places where we might be able to get this done. The main problem is that federal highway regulations, which are in force in Vermont because of how much the feds do for the state roads, and the state regulations as well, make it very expensive and very difficult to put signs along these highways.

Questions from the floor: How many signs do you want? Two per bridge. The state recognizes about 75 or 76 covered bridges active on the highway system.
Who makes the signs? I guess by negotiation. The state was going to make the signs that we asked for.
How much would these signs cost? $60 apiece each year, [maintenance fee.] I don't have these numbers at the top of my head. I would have to get back to you.
So the state would pay to have the signs made? Yes, but before we put this down as record, what we'd better do is [retrieve the committee notes].

For the record; the following, published in the Summer, 2006 Bridger, is inserted here: We received the following letter on May 12, 2006:
Dear Mr. Nelson & Mr. Shaw: It was very nice meeting with you the other day regarding your covered bridge sign proposal. After doing some research and meeting with several different people, it became clear that according to the federal M.U.T.C.D. sign standards, that we would not be able to attach your sign to the "Legal Load Limit" sign post. The load limit signs are considered "traffic control devises" and installing what would be considered a non-conforming directional sign is prohibited.
   There are two other options. One would be to utilize an OBDS sign (Official Business Directory Sign) which would allow the use of your covered bridge symbol and could state the name of the covered bridge and the distance to it.
   However, you would have to purchase these signs at a cost of $75.00 (includes installation) and $60/yr. maintenance fee. I believe the cost would be prohibitive for you.
    The only other legal option available to us is to install a 10 x 18 inch sign above the load limit sign stating "Covered Bridge". This would cost the agency $40 per sign plus labor for installation. Currently, our agency revenue is declining and falling below projections. I'm afraid that justification for such an expense is not practical at this time.
   While we believe you have a valid point in trying to help people locate our historic covered bridges more easily, we are limited by state and federal law and our budget as to what we can legally do in terms of signage. Please feel free to contact us if you have any further ideas or questions. Thank you.
John LaBarge, Policy, Research & Development Information Coordinator, VAOT

Bridge-watch Report - given by John Weaver:
"I'm happy to say we picked up one person in bridge-watch, Warren Trip, who is going to watch the Greenbanks Hollow Bridge in Danville, but I couldn't get him to take on the rest of the Lyndon area. I haven't had any response from someone in the Lyndon area to take that duty on. We did have another caller from New Hampshire who took on the two bridges in Thetford, Sayers, and Union Village. He sent me some very good reports last fall, complete with pictures. As for projects this year, there are going to be quite a few rehabilitations in Vermont: Brattleboro's Creamery Bridge is being finished up this spring, and there will be running planks in that bridge when they get done. So far, all we've got to do is put the coatings and the fire alarm system in to finish the project. Shoreham Railroad bridge is going to be rehabilitated, the bids were opened and the low bidder is Blow and Cote, and that has to be completed by December this year. The Sayre Bridge in Thetford is being rehabilitated by Alpine Construction. Weathersfield's Downer's covered bridge, the bids are just opened Friday and it appears that Wright Construction is the low bidder. The Braley covered bridge in Randolph is going to be removed, put into storage until the final rehabilitation project can take place. This being done to keep it from falling into the river. A temporary bridge will be constructed adjacent to the bridge site. I expect that the rehabilitation project to put the bridge back on new abutments will be advertised for bids later this summer. The Troy River Road covered bridge will be advertised for bids in May.

Donna Freeland, President of the New York State Covered Bridge Society: "Jeanette Wilson asked me to extend to the Vermont Covered Bridge Society her thanks for sending the flowers on Dick's passing."

John Weaver: We were planning to have a moment of silence for Dick Wilson and John Dostal in commemoration of all the hard work and good service they provided this organization over the years. Let us take a moment to remember all of the things Dick and John did do for us. [Silence]
   Would anyone like to add a few words? Myself, I can remember Dick when I first met him back in 2000, he was instrumental in getting our covered bridge society off the ground. He came all the way from New York State to help us out and that was a long way to go. I can remember John driving up to Tunbridge every day during the history expo, amazing, at the age of 95 or 96.
Neil Daniels: I remember when Weathersfield was struggling and finally got together $30,000 to move the Salmond Bridge, to move it and make it into something, The New York Society, especially Dick Wilson, sent more than one contribution, and he was there more than once. We remember him as being one of the best supporters.
   John, I think we should have a discussion and maybe have a committee for the John Dostal Memorial, a lilac and a plaque.

A John Dostal Memorial Committee was [then]formed to be chaired by Johnny Esau. The first member to sign up was Neil Daniels.

ILEAD Program: reported by Suzanne Daniels:
At Dartmouth they have a program for adults, it is Institute for Lifelong Education At Dartmouth, and every year they have a program of whatever anybody wants to teach, and so I have submitted to ILEAD that Joe and Neil would do a program on the covered bridges of Vermont and New Hampshire. This would be open to everyone anywhere. ILEAD has over a thousand members … I have asked them at the ILEAD office to put Joe and Neal on the fall program … I am excited that this may get [the VCBS] new members.

No further new business, no old business - Trish Kane and Bill Caswell presented a PowerPoint program "Covered Spans of Yesteryear" featuring long-gone bridges crossing the Walloomsac, Hoosic, and Batten Kill rivers.

The meeting was adjourned following the presentation.
These minutes respectfully submitted, Joseph Nelson, VP

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VCBS Taking Covered Bridges to School

Vermont's covered bridges are going to school. Suzanne Daniels, VCBS membership chairman, has been collaborating with a Windsor high school teacher, and with Linda Parker, a fourth grade teacher at the Windsor State Street Elementary School.

Parker, who teaches Vermont History, is creating a curriculum with Suzanne Daniels to be taught in the fall of 2007. The students will be trained to be guides to their parents explaining the historical aspects of the Toll House and the Windsor/Cornish covered bridge, their purpose in the context of the early days of the town and the evolution of the town based on these two structures.

It is Daniels' intention to solicit memberships from the students and their parents who are participants in Vermont history classes. Other classes in other Vermont communities that have covered bridges will be planned for in the future.

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VCBS Jim Fearon Save-A-Bridge Fund

The 2004 Annual VCBS Directors meeting established a fund into which moneys may be deposited to grow for the purpose of making contributions to groups who are actively preserving a covered bridge. The fund was named in honor of the late Jim Fearon, Director of the VCBS Northeast Kingdom Chapter.

Jim Fearon, a member of the Lyndon Chamber of Commerce, recognized the value of the historic covered bridges located in the town and environs to the pride and prosperity of the town. He formed a covered bridge committee within the Chamber of Commerce, and working with town officials and citizen volunteers, including professionals from the medical center and students from the local colleges, planned improvements around the bridges, led work parties to landscape, clean and paint the bridges, and perform maintenance. Jim's efforts brought community focus to the bridges helping make it popular to support them. When the VCBS was formed in the year 2000, Jim linked his organization to this society as the Lyndon Bridge-watch Area, popularly recognized as the Northeast Kingdom Chapter of the VCBS.

Each year accumulated member donations and memorabilia sales profits are invested in a growth fund account set up for the Save-A- Bridge Fund.

Other donations to the VCBS have been made in memory of deceased VCBS members Katherine Ramsey and Francis Converse. These donations have been added to the Save-A-Bridge fund, however when the donor has stipulated that the money be used specifically in the name of the deceased, the wish will be honored

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Ellen's Mystery Bridge
Ellens Mystery bridge
Photo from The Potash Kettle Newsletter
VCBS Member Ellen E. wonders if anyone can identify the above bridge photograph. If you can, please write Mystery Bridge, P.O. Box 97, Jeffersonville, VT 05464-0097

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Question # 3 - Often times during rehabilitation or restoration of our covered bridges, some contractor’s replace previous roofing with cedar shingles, others use asphalt shingles, and yet others use standing seam metal roofing in the process. Is there a specific reason for using one type of roofing material over another? -- Bob & Trish Kane

Joseph Conwill, ME
Thanks for the notes on roofing materials. This is a good dialogue. I’m glad the VCBS is doing this. The comments are quite thorough. I have just two notes to add:

--Metal roofing of some type goes back well before the 1800s, though not on covered bridges. I don’t know the history of copper and lead roofing but I think many of the roofs in old Québec are of this type.

--If cedar shingles are used, much depends on the species and quality of the wood. Shingles flat-sawn from second-growth northern white cedar don’t last very long. Shingles quarter-sawn to 5/8" butt from first-growth western red cedar have a very long life, but are costly. In western Oklahoma, fence posts made of western red cedar outlast steel, I’m told! There is no doubt that cedar shingle roofs are the most attractive, but cost is a major limitation, and I agree with all the comments that your roof had better not leak!!

Robert Durfee, P.E. - NH
Cedar shingles (shakes) - It is fairly well known and recognized by historians that cedar shingles were used on Covered Bridge roofs up to about the 1890"s. Cedar shingles, or shakes, were readily available and manufactured (split from logs) locally. Carpenters were experienced in working with the material and installation. Shakes were also being used on houses, barns, etc.

Cedar shakes are a historically accurate roof system for existing and new Covered Bridges. In our present day, a cedar shake roof is one of the more expensive roof options for a Covered Bridge. The shakes are subject to drying, warping, splitting, and eventually leaking. They tend to collect mold and fungus in shady areas. There are few carpenters experienced with installing wood roof shakes. There is a lot of craftsmanship that goes into shaping each shingle so that it fits tight. Shakes are installed over wood strips called furring strips or laths. The thicker shakes are desirable, but are not always readily available. The thinner shingles are more readily available, but do not last as long as the shakes, and warp and split easier than the shakes. A cedar shake roof will last about 20 to 25 years before wearing out and needing major repairs or replacement.

Asphalt shingles - Asphalt shingles are less expensive than Cedar shakes. They are easier to install, and there are more skilled craftsman (roofers) that know how to install them. They are also prone to collect mold and fungus in shady areas. Asphalt singles last about 20 to 30 years before wearing out and needing replacement. Asphalt shingles need to be installed over a substrate (plywood sheathing or solid boarding), which adds a lot of dead load weight to the bridge (not a good idea).

Asphalt shingles probably don't have a historical record of original use on a covered bridge. When replacing an asphalt roof, disposal of the old asphalt shingles can be problematic and expensive, and they are considered hazardous waste material requiring special disposal methods. This adds to the cost of roof replacement.

Metal roof - A metal roof is the least expensive of the three roofing materials. Metal roofing was first manufactured and became available in the 1890"s, as corrugated metal sheeting. It was used on barns, homes, and probably new covered bridge construction at the time. Today, there are several manufacturers of corrugated metal roofs, and the more popular standing steam (flat sheet) metal roofs.

Metal roofs can last 50 years or more. They come in a variety of colors. The standing seam roofs are guaranteed against fading and leaking for 20 years. They are available in steel or aluminum. There are several companies and skilled tradesmen available to install a metal roof. Metal roofing is installed over furring strips or laths.

Many covered bridges that had shake roofs were replaced with metal roofs beginning in the 1890's up to the present day. These older applications of metal roofs have achieved some historical significance. Several State Historical Preservation Offices recognize and approve of a metal roof as an historically accurate and acceptable roof system for a covered bridge (Vermont and New Hampshire to name a few).

Ben and June Evans
We have found that when roofing material is replaced with cedar shakes, asphalt shingles, and sometimes, slate, it is generally because the original roofing material was of that type. However, throughout New England, especially Vermont, when the roof has been replaced with a standing-seam (or rib) sheet metal roof, is has generally been one of practicality – cost of material and the shedding of winter snow. For example, the Power House / Johnson / School Street Bridge (VT08- 08) (2) in Lamoille County, Vermont, had its roof replaced with a standing-rib sheet metal roof after the cedar shake roof collapsed in 2001 because of excessive snow weight. Vermont has replaced many of the roofs on its covered bridges with standing-seam, sheet metal roofs since 2000, largely through the efforts of Senator Jeffords who was instrumental in acquiring over $460,000 largely for this purpose through the National Historic Covered Bridge Preservation Program.

Jan Lewandoski - VT
Restorers use cedar because it is lightweight and historic and metal also because it is lightweight, slips snow well and is sometimes historic (It began appearing on bridges in the late 19th c.) Asphalt strikes me as a poor choice, relatively heavy, short lived, unattractive and with few or no historic precedents. Some bridges in the slate region use slate, perhaps OK on short strong spans but too heavy for most longer ones, it will increase the rate of sagging of the bridge.

Phil Pierce, P.E. - NY
Wood shingles were the available material at the time of initial construction of historic CBs. Hence, according to the degree of concern for that historic precedent, replacement shingles over the years were oft times wood shingles. In my somewhat limited experience (both firsthand and observed work by others), the installation of wood shingles may still lead to leaks in the roof, regardless of the degree of care with the installation. And they are prone to breakage quite easily. Needless to say, a leaking roof is the bane of CBs.

I believe the use of asphalt or other synthetic shingles has attempted to address these issues, while still providing the appearance from a distance of shingles. The use of metal roofing has provided a great improvement in the ability of the roof to shed heavy snow loading - such loading can be deadly to CBs - so much so, that some CB owners have regularly shoveled snow off of the roof of a CB. I am a strong advocate of the use of metal in those areas where snow load can be significant. And according to a study of the roof material on 75 bridges in VT as of the mid 1990s, metal was in place on a large percentage of them, and reportedly, had been used for a very long time. Again, in my experience, historic preservation interests often accepts the use of metal as a prudent means of prolonging the life of CBs and recognizes the prominence and long-time use.

Sylvain Raymond (ATAWALK) Canada
Cedar is costly, heavy, time consuming but authentic on older structures. Asphalt is modern. Metal is common on late 1800s and 1900 bridges. Cedar ads a rustic touch, example - the Speed River Bridge at Guelph here in Ontario, built in 1991.

It must also be noted that some European bridges are covered with terra-cotta tiles. The new Büren an der Aare bridge built in 1991 was done using the original roofing technique used in the previous bridge built in 1816. It also ads quite a bit of weight but in the case of Büren, it probably also serves as an "anchoring technique" for the Aare is known to be tempestuous waters!

John Weaver, VT
I agree with Phil Pierce’s statements 100%. Although Vermont Agency on Transportation has repaired/maintained some slate CB roofs, the material of choice for most rehabilitation projects has been standing seam metal roofing.

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The Covered Bridge Situation In Vermont
A Look Back*

Vermont is a state famed for "men, women, maple sugar and horses." A mental "picturization" of the state is bound to conjure up wooded green hi11s, swift, cascading brooks, white-spired valley villages, and old covered bridges.

For in Vermont can be seen more covered bridges in the least area than in any other state. This does not mean that tourists will not have to travel over hill and dale and into some out-of-the-way corners of the countryside, for the covered bridges have all but gone from the state's main routes. But last summer's census, taken by A. W. Coleman, of the Vermont State Highway Department, with additional notes from Edmund H. Royce, of St. Albans, lists a grand total of 168½ covered bridges still standing in the Green Mountain State—or 166 if the five Connecticut River bridges are awarded to Vermont's New Hampshire neighbors. (This could be on geographical grounds only. The Vermont shoreline is New Hampshire's boundary. But Vermonters pay well for the upkeep of the river bridges.)

Seven of the 166 are covered railroad bridges—on the Rutland, St. Johnsbury and Lake Champlain, and the Montpelier and Wells River Railroads. The rest are highway spans, scattered about the state in unexpected places—some on back-country roads, while others still serve the villages clustered on the banks of the mill ponds.

A surprising fact brought to light by the census is that Vermont has lost (or is due to have replaced) only ten covered bridges in the past four years. This does not denote lack of progress, but rather lack of necessity. Vermonters repair their bridges so long as it is possible to do so economically.

The four best-known bridges to be removed were those at Stowe over the Waterbury, or "Little" River; Woodstock, over the Ottauquechee, Cambridgeport, over Saxton's River, and the Newfane "1841 Bridge" over Newfane Brook. All of these were on main, well- traveled highways, and had borne heavy traffic for years. Newfane Bridge may be re-erected next year by an association of Newfane citizens formed for the purpose.

Victim of a spring freshet in March, 1942, was the bridge serving a few farms on the other side of the First Branch of White River between Tunbridge and North Tunbridge. Others replaced by the highway authorities were the spans at North Ferrisburg over Lewis Creek, south of Fairfax over Brown's River, and between Sharon and Barnard over Broad Brook in the town of Royalton.

The "Oakes Bridge", first one over Mill Brook west of Brownsville (in West Windsor) was due for replacement in 1945. Farther down, Mill Brook at the foot of Ascutney Mountain in Windsor stands the skeleton of another bridge. Last winter's heavy snow collapsed the roof. The bridge is due to be replaced as soon as bidders can he found to build a new one.

A fertile field for collectors, Vermont is still comparatively rich in covered bridges and offers a great variety of settings for its scores of interesting old spans.

[*This article was taken from the December, 1945 issue of Covered Bridge Topics, a newsletter founded by Richard Sanders Allen in 1943. The article is unsigned. Today there are 100 covered bridges remaining, 75 of them on Vermont's highway system. Three of the five are all that remain of New Hampshire's Connecticut River bridges, and there are but two of the seven covered railroad bridges still with us. - Ed.]

Vermont Covered Bridge Trivia

Q: Why are covered bridges covered? A: To keep the trusses dry. Timothy Palmer, b. 1751, d. 1821 believed to be the first American bridge builder to advocate roofing bridges, estimating that the life of a wooden bridge would be extended by as much as forty years.

Edited from the book:
“Spanning Time” by Joseph C. Nelson
Appendix D; The Bridge Builders, Page 259; Timothy Palmer

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Ribbon Cutting Event to Open Buskirk,
Eagleville, and Rexleigh Bridges

Cambridge, NY - The Covered Bridges Advisory Committee of Washington County, New York, 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.

Acknowledgments 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. The celebration includes refreshments, door prizes, covered bridge artists, period music, and an opportunity to purchase a souvenir booklet

For more information about the ribbon cutting events and the celebration, call Jackie Keren at 518-854-9120 or email Information will also be posted at the website for the Towns & Villages of the Battenkill Valley at

Low's Bridge Destroyed, 1987, Story & Slides

March 31, 2007 - Here's a link with a slide show of Low's Bridge being destroyed in 1987: oneid=500

Low's Bridge, 130-foot long in a single span, was built in 1860 using Long's Truss to cross the Piscataquis River near Sangerville, Maine.
Tom Keating
[Our thanks to Tom Keating for sharing his find on the internet - Ed.]

The above link may also be found at the VCBS Webs site:

Brattleboro's Creamery Bridge Reopened

Brattleboro's Creamery Bridge 
Photo by Joanne Esau, 2-9-07
Brattleboro's Creamery Bridge
Photo by Joanne Esau, 2-9-07

Brattleboro, VT, March 7, 2007 - The Creamery Bridge, WGN 45-13-01, is reopened temporarily until the prevailing weather moderates allowing completion of the project.

The bridge will be closed again later this spring for about three weeks to finish the work, which includes painting.

The new laminated floor is without the familiar longitudinal oak running planks but features new 8" x 8" bumper timbers to guide vehicles away from the bridge trusses. The Renaud Brothers, Inc. are the contractors.

Perry County Covered Bridge Damaged

March 28, 2007, Newport, PA - A truck passed through the Fleisher Covered Bridge [WGN 38-50-17] on fairground Road, west of Newport damaging seven tie beams.

According to the state police the incident occurred on or about March 8. Anyone with information are asked to contact the state police at (717) 567-3110.

One hundred and twenty-four feet long, the bridge was built in 1887 using the Burr Truss to cross Big Buffalo Creek.
[Thanks to Tom Keating for sharing his clipping from The Patriot News - Ed.]

Official State of Indiana Web-Site

January 19, 2007 - There is an official State of Indiana web-site which should be of interest. There ia a study containing 192 pages, so if you download that, I hope you have a fast connection. It looks to be very interesting
Jim Crouse

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Membership Logo

by Trish Kane, VCBS Membership Coordinator

Are you seeing dots before your eyes…? Perhaps you need to adjust your glasses?

No, not really. But if you have a red dot on the mailing label of your newsletter, then yes indeed, you are seeing dots. This is to remind you that we have not yet received your check for your 2007 membership. Would you please send in your membership fee as soon as possible? If you don’t see a red dot on your mailing label, then you are all set, and we send along our sincere thanks for being so prompt in sending in your membership fee.

If you are able to travel this summer, please remember to assist us in promoting the Vermont Covered Bridge Society to folks you meet along the way. Carry a few of the society’s brochures in your vehicle should you meet a “new” Bridger at one of our bridges. The brochure includes a membership form right inside. If you are interested in having some brochures sent to you, please contact Joe Nelson at You can also print them off directly from our website at:

Please join me in welcoming the following new members to our group. Donna Freeland from Middletown, NY and Loren Fisher from Sommerville, NJ. A warm Vermont welcome to each of you!

Enjoy your summer everyone!

Trish Kane

Upcoming Birthdays and Anniversaries:

04 Charlie Elflein 
07 Carolyn Clapper 
07 Robert & Barbara McPherson 
09 Carleton Corby 
10 Ron & Marie Bechard 
14 Dick & June Roy 
20 Joanne Billie 
27 Terry Shaw 
28 Bob Kane 
30 Lionel & Debra Whiston 

04 Neil & Suzanne Daniels 
05 Bill & Ada Jeffrey 
11 Charles & Evelyn Lovastik 
11 Marie Bechard 
20 Bob & Trish Kane 
22 June Roy 
22 Lou Zabbia 
28 Ray Gendron 
28 Dick Roy 
28 Jan Lewandoski 

03 Joanna Titcomb 
05 Joe Nelson 
08 Evelyn Lovastik 
08 Virginia Eckson 
10 Thomas Carpenter 
15 Ed Rhodes 
18 Ed & Irene Barna 
23 George Conn 
25 Jim & Linda Crouse 
25 Leo Fleury 
29 Ray & Dolores Gendron 
30 Ada Jeffrey 
30 Henry Messing 
30 Robert McPherson 
31 Kathleen Havranek 
31 N. David Charkes 

Please note: If you would like your birthday or anniversary listed, please send me an email with the dates.

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President's Logo

Dear Members:

There is much covered bridge rehabilitation activity (and anticipated activity) this year. Some ongoing projects are Brattleboro Creamery CB, Braley temporary bridge/rehab. bridge project, Sayre CB, Weathersfield CB, Cedar Swamp CB, shoreham RRCB, and Troy River Road CB. I have not seen any bridge watch report for months now, but expect to see some coming in soon.

We had an excellent spring meeting in Bennington this year - a wonderful site for a meeting - however membership turnout was light. I hope to see everyone at our next major event - the Tunbridge History Expo. We are fortunate to be supportive in and part of such an excellent annual undertaking.

John Weaver, President, Vermont Covered Bridge Society

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Letters Logo

Dear Trish and the VCBS,

What a pleasant surprise that Bill and I were the first place lucky winners of the before the deadline dues paying group! We were happy to receive the free one year membership. Thank you very much!

We spend summers in northern Vermont, so hope to attend one of your meetings. Since we love covered bridges, Bill developed a 7-hour bridge tour in northern Vermont which many of our guests have enjoyed. May 2007 be another good year for the VCBS.

With our thanks again, Beverly and Bill DeLaney.

Dear Mr. Nelson:

Regarding the "Origin of the Name of the Lemon Fair River:" Some Time ago, I read that the name "Lemon Fair" was acorruption of the French Les monts verts, or "green mountains." Naturally, I have no citation available so that you may check thisout. Sorry!

Yours Truly, Ira J. Cohen

Dear Mr. Cohen:

Thank you for your letter in regard to the origin of the name ofour little river, I very much appreciate your input. I have added it tomy collection of Lemon Fair name origins.

Should I find your source of "Les monts verts," I will certainlyput it in the newsletter.

Sincerely yours, Joe Nelson

[The article "The Origin of the Name of the Lemon Fair River" appeared in the Spring 2006 issue of the Bridger newsletter. The issue is currently on the website - Ed.]

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Events Logo

A Sad Passing - John Dostal

Long time Bennington resident John Dostal passed away at his home Friday, March 23, at the age of 98.

Dostal was active in his community, working on beautification and historical projects. He became known as "Mr. Lilac," having planted over 500 lilacs around town at his own expense.

He was an active advocate for preservation and appreciation of covered bridges and was a key player in the founding of the Vermont Covered Bridge Museum at the Bennington Center for the Arts. John, a member of the VCBS, was a regular attendee of the society's meetings, no matter where held.

Bennington Center for the Arts, home of the Vermont Covered Bridge Museum announced a "Celebration of John Dostal's Life," to be held June 2, at the Center to share Memories and Stories of John Dostal in the Theatre followed by a walk in his lilacs and light refreshments in the lobby.

"I am ever so saddened to learn about John Dostel's death, writes John Weaver, President of the Vermont Covered Bridge Society (VCBS). He was a very outstanding member of our organization - someone we could always count on to be supportive of whatever events we were trying to promote.

"It always amazed me when he would drive such long distances from Bennington (even daily during the Expo at Tunbridge) just to be there for a VCBS meeting or event. John was certainly an exceptional person when it came to covered bridges and civic events.

He was also a very sharp and experienced business man - he knew just what needed doing to get a project done. He often helped other people get motivated and involved as well. We will all miss John. I already do."

"Very great loss, but I suspect by the time we get there, he'll have a covered bridge for us rather than the pearly gates--with lilacs at the portal. I'd feel sadder if he hadn't lived such a full life. What a man. He was the kind of meek who might very well inherit the world from the blusterers who are running it now." - Ed Barna, VCBS member.

"It is always good to read about a person who gives so much to one's community, either with lilacs or preserving our covered bridges. What a beautiful life he must have had. I did not know him personally but he is someone who will be missed especially by the Vermont community." - Mary Ann Waller, VCBS member.

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Events Logo

by Johnny Esau, VCBS Events Committee Chair

For the fifth year, the State Chamber of Commerce has designated the Vermont History Expo as a "Vermont Top Ten Summer Event." VERMONT HISTORY EXPO 2007 will be held the weekend of June 23rd-24th, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., at the Tunbridge World's Fair Grounds.

The 8th Annual Fall VCBS meeting will be held in Northfield, Vermont on Saturday, October 13, 2007. Details of the meeting will be in the fall issue of The Bridger

Vermont History Expo 2007 coming in June Tunbridge Fairgrounds June 23, 24

The Vermont Covered Bridge Society will again have a booth at the Expo, hopefully in the Industrial Building, same as last year.

Our presentation will be about the national project of documenting North America's lost covered bridges, of which there have been thousands. The purpose of this national project is to compile a listing of all known covered bridges in the United States and Canada that are no longer in existence. Bill Caswell of Boscawen, New Hampshire has a presentation describing the project and featuring photos of lost bridges.

Fellow bridgers are needed to staff the booth Saturday and/or Sunday. A very few of us have given our time and every-day drives to Tunbridge year after year to get awareness of the VCBS out to the public. Your participation in staffing the booth is welcomed.

Staffing the booth is fun; Interesting people stop to chat. Irene Barna will be creating the schedule for Saturday and Sunday. Please phone her at 802-388-0247 or e-mail for a time convenient for you to help out at the booth. Booths are open from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. both days.


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MIA Logo

The goals of our organization is the return of all LIVEAmerican POW/MIAs, repatriation of the remains of those whohave died, and explanations for cases where the two options do notexist.

Great attention is paid to maintaining physical reminders of theissue's continued significance. The international logo's appearanceon flags, pins, decals, articles of clothing, and accessories bolstersawareness. Wearing POW/MIA bracelets honors those individualswho still wait and evokes conversations on the issue.

We are involved in presentations with schools, veterans'organizations, and through a broad spectrum of events allowing usto convey our concerns to the public. We are involved in thelegislative process, as we attempt to provide protection for thosewho serve our Country, and for their families and loved onesshould loss occur. We attempt to address the needs of families andreturned POW/MIAs, and assist in coordinating activities withassociated groups and promoting information flow.

We are a volunteer organization, veterans and non-veterans, using awareness, communication, education, legislation, andcompassion to assuage the pain associated with one of the mostdevastating outcomes of service to one's Country. As we honorPOW/MIAs, returned and still waiting to come home, weaggressively pursue means to return the missing and protect thoseserving.

Don Amorosi, NY Chair Vets Serving Vets 1-518-792-2057

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Joe Nelson, P.O Box 267, Jericho, VT 05465-0267
This file created July 8, 2007