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The Vermont Covered Bridge Society Newsletter—Summer 2010


President's Column
Eleventh Annual Spring Meeting
Membership Column
Historical Committee Report
Question 12: When does a new CB become an Historic CB?
Bridge Watch
VCBS Library
Covered Bridge Community News
Important Notice!!!
Items For Sale

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President's Logo

We had an exceptional overall turnout for our 4/24 VCBS meeting. Some folks were local and only attended the presentation portion by Alpine Construc- tion, however many VCBS members attended the entire meeting as well.

During the meeting, a motion was made and approved to send some funds to Old Sturbridge Village for covered bridge rehabilitation work, provided that OSV was a non-profit organization and that the bridge was identified as originating from Dummerston, VT. I have followed up with OSV and they meet all criteria for award of the $250 VCBS funds.

I am looking forward to an excellent membership turnout for the VCBS meeting this October. Hope to see you all there.

Yours in bridging, John Weaver, President, VCBS

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Eleventh Annual Spring Meeting of the Vermont
Covered Bridge Society
Jeffersonville, Vermont. April 24, 2010

VCBS 2010 Spring Meeting with speaker Jim Ligon. Photo by 
Terry Shaw
VCBS 2010 Spring Meeting with speaker Jim Ligon. Photo by Terry Shaw

The 2010 Spring meeting was held in the Sugar House Gallery building on the grounds of the Visions of Vermont Art Gallery operated by VCBS Life members Terry and Jane Shaw.

President John Weaver called the meeting to order at approximately 10:20 a.m. with 17 attendees signed in.

Minutes of the Fall All-Member meeting held in Windsor Vermont were not read because all minutes are available in The Bridger and on the VCBS web site. A motion was made by Warren Trip and seconded by Terry Shaw to accept the minutes as printed in The Bridger. Motion Passed.


Historical Committee – Library
Warren Tripp, librarian - "We have around 70 different books in the library, multiple copies of some of them. I have the library with me, and the index, so if anybody is interested [in borrowing a book], you need to be a member of the society in order to borrow books and you need to return them to me in two months. There are some very interesting books, it’s too bad they aren’t used more. There are six that are out right now."
      Susan Daniels asks: "Do you have a list of the books that you have printed?"
      "Yes, I have a list with me and it is available on the web through Joe [Nelson]."

Bridge Watch: John Weaver, coordinator – I have received fairly steady reports from Ron Bechard (re: Poland CB), Warren Trip (re: West Danville CB), Bill Carroll (re: various, 5 or 6, SE CBs) and Ray Hitchcock (re: Worrall, Bartonsville, and Williamsville CBs.
      The Worrall and Williamsville rehabilitation projects should be complete this year. Members should give these particular construction sites a visit.
      We could always employ new volunteers for our Bridge-watch program. To my knowledge, a good many covered bridge sites are not presently covered.
      If anyone else is interested in covering an area or specific bridges, please let me know, I’ll get you the proper forms and the part of the handbook you are going to need to work with.

Communications Committee: Joe Nelson, Chair - The Communications Committee is the one that puts out the newsletter. Bridger Editor Ray Hitchcock, due to health, has notified us that he must consider leaving his post. He will continue as long as he can, giving us time to find a new editor.
      Since Ray took over the editorship to produce the winter 2008 issue, he has made remarkable improvements to the newsletters presentation with his personal style, but also, by introducing Microsoft’s Publisher to the process. A heartfelt thank you to Ray for his dedication. His problem is that he has developed ALS, so he won’t be functioning in time. If anyone is interested in taking the post of newsletter editor, please contact me.

Membership Committee: Joe Nelson, Interim Chair - The Vermont Covered Bridge Society memberships stand at 136 with only 14 memberships in arrears. We have gained two new members since the turn of the year, Angela Wilson of Austin Texas, and Cheryl Cullick, of Bellville, Kentucky. Welcome, Angela and Cheryl.
      Suzanne Daniels, who has been carrying the chairmanship of both the Membership and the Events Committee, is stepping down from the Membership Committee chairmanship, having found that the Events Committee business is sufficient to keep her busy along with her other commitments.
      Thank you Suzanne, for your valuable contributions to the Membership Committee. I’m sure you have some good advice for your successor in continuing the programs you have begun.
      I will be filling in as chair to the Membership Committee until someone steps forward. If anyone is interested in taking over this chairmanship, please contact me.

Historical Committee: Joe Nelson for Bill Carroll, Chair of the Historical Committee. Bill couldn’t be with us today, he has a touch of the flu, so he sent this to me by e-mail:
      At present, there are 44 separate archives collections processed. Each collection has been cataloged, and through the Library of Congress all are available on the internet through the OCLC database. The catalog records can be downloaded from OCLC into public library databases. This is an area to be followed up on, as it will be necessary to touch base with the Vermont state library commission and urge them to follow through.
      Our collection identified as VCBS-01, Vermont Covered Bridge Files, has information on some 160 present and former covered bridges in the state. This collection will be reworked into a separate collection for each bridge, and will encompass additional information, particularly as stated in Item #4 of the Burlington Charter. In addition, we will find the locations of other materials for each bridge - Historical Societies, Town and/or County offices, etc. - which will provide as much information as possible, and the location of that information, to benefit researchers and historians.
      Two basic needs of the Historical Committee are for interested people to help locate any bridge records, and a permanent home for our collections.

Events Committee Suzanne Daniels, Chair – I spoke to you [John Weaver] because I thought I had a wonderful idea for next fall, the meeting being in Middlebury, which I had thought, [instead] it’s Montpelier. One of these days, we should get to Middlebury if we can because there is a covered bridge there and there is an article in the latest Smithsonian magazine about Robert Frost and the area.
John Weaver responds: "Well certainly, Middlebury can be on the calendar for 2011. We have something from Bill Caswell: 'You guys will have to forgive me for having a senior moment. I hate to admit I'm getting to that age but I can't remember if I sent this information to you or not. Anyway, I wanted to ask you if you could mention the Pioneer Safari at the VCBS meeting tomorrow. It will be Sept. 25 & 26 along the Connecticut River. We are tentatively including bridges in the Newport & Cornish areas on the New Hampshire side along with ones from Saxtons River north to Woodstock on the Vermont side. We will be based out of the Holiday Inn in Springfield, Vermont. Rooms are $89/night for people needing them. More details will be available soon.'"

Treasurer’s Report, April 24, 2010 Neil Daniels, Treasurer – The society is a 501c3, we report to the IRS, being nonprofit, we are on a calendar year, so this report is for the calendar year ’09: Income Statement period 1- 01-09 through 12-31-10:
      Total Income   $1,521.95
      Total Expense   $2,375.57
      Expense w/o grants   $1,125.57
      Income less expense   $396.38
Balance Sheet
      Union Bank Checking 1-01-09   $5,392.74
      Union Bank Checking 12-31-09   $5,392.74
      Change in bank balance   -$566.9

Save-a-bridge Fund
      At 1-01-09   $4765.00
      Added in 2009   $0.00
      Amount in fund 4-21-10   $5002.00

[A more detailed review of the Treasurer’s Report is presented at the meeting: but in the interest of space in The Bridger, totals only are printed here. The full report is always available from Neil.]

Vermont Historical Society Expo at Tunbridge Neil Daniels coordinating – The Expo will be held on Saturday and Sunday, June 26 and 27, with Friday, June 25 as set-up day.
      Last year the Vermont Historical Society eliminated the event. This year, we have a booth and we are looking for someone to man the booth for Saturday and Sunday. So far we have Joe and John and Sue and I. I’d like someone to come forward today and let me know when you can come down to Tunbridge and be there.
      Said Bill McKone, "I’ll be there, so I’ll come by and put my oar in."
      Said Joe Nelson, "Bill Carroll has volunteered [by email]."

Said John Weaver: "We’ve got a request from Sturbridge Village for some aid to repair a covered bridge transported from Dummerston, Vermont back in the 1950s and it needs $50,000 in repairs and they have asked organizations to make contributions if they can. Is there any interest in doing this?
      "We have earmarked for 2010 budget for save a bridge actions, and I don’t think all of that is really committed at this point, so we do have some funds we could give."

Bill McKone moved that we support that in whatever amount seems appropriate if [Sturbridge Village] is a non-profit organization and that is a Vermont origin bridge. Seconded by Joe Bell.

Said Neil Daniels: "This may be a project that takes some time, we should give some now and give some next year. I would like to know from someone who has been there that it is a good project and worth doing."

The amended motion is to make a $250 grant for the repairs to the covered bridge in Sturbridge, if the bridge was moved there from Vermont, contingent on Sturbridge Village being a non-profit organization. Motion carried.

Said John Weaver: "We’ll have to research this a little further before we send anything."

Said Neil Daniels: .Mr. President, it may be appropriate for this body to vote to move that donations money of ’09 into the Save-a-bridge fund, $240.00. I make that motion."
Joe Bills seconded. No discussion. Motion to move the 2009 donations money into the Save-a-bridge Fund carried.


Said Sue Daniels: I will continue as membership chairman. So, as membership chair, I will ask those of you who are here to stand up and say who you are . . ."
John Weaver, Montpelier, President; Joe Nelson, Vice President, Underhill, Vermont; Ron Bechard, Bridge- watch for Poland Bridge; Bill McKone Jeffersonville Marie Bechard, Jeffersonville; Glen Hall, Kingston, Ontario; Warren Tripp, librarian; Terry Shaw, Jeffersonville; Joe Bell, Wilton, New Hampshire; David Juaire, Georgia, Vermont; Fred pierce, from Morrisville, Will Thompson, Lebanon, Connecticut; Doug and Sue Chase from Acton, Massachusetts.
Said John Weaver "Thank you Sue for continuing [as Membership Chair].
Said Sue Daniels: "I’m interested in who you are and where you are from, because I sent out a note to the membership in the Burlington area hoping that they will come to our meetings, so if you have any ideas on how we can get more people interested to come to our meetings, that would be wonderful."

Arthur Hooper of Johnson, Vermont, shared his family tree with the meeting, which includes the Jewett brothers who built the six bridges in Montgomery and one bridge in Enosburg.

Said David Juaire: "I’m a part time photographer . . . in my travels I find a lot of brush around the bridges . . . it is discouraging to artists and photographers, after a long trip to find that the bridges are just covered with brush and it should take just an hour or two per year to clean up so it can be enjoyed."

Said John Weaver: "That’s one of the things we mark on the bridge-watch for the town. Thanks, very much."

Said Neil Daniels: I’ve spent a lot of years with the Select boards. The Bridge-watch people are the ones to notice the brush. The brush should be taken care of by the town, the Bridge-watch person just needs to go to the town to tell them to do what they should do anyway. The town has all sorts of people who can cut the brush."

Said John Weaver: "Any other comments? Do I have a motion to adjourn the business meeting?"
Motion moved by Warren Tripp, seconded by Bill McKone, All said Aye, Meeting is closed.

Jim Ligon, field supervisor for Alpine Construction, Inc. of Schuylerville, New York, gave a well received talk on the renovation of the Cambridge Center covered bridge. Thirty-two people attended the talk.

The drawing yielded $35.00, Covered Bridge Market Place sales yielded $31, Glen Hall made a contribution of $14.00, for a total of $80.00.

A Tour of North Branch and Montgomery covered bridges was conducted by Joe Nelson following Lunch at 158 Main Street Restaurant, Jeffersonville. Glen Hall, and Doug and Sue Chase participated in the tour.

Respectfully submitted,
      Joseph Nelson in the absence of Irene Barna, Secretary

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Membership Logo

By Suzanne Daniels, Chair, Membership Committee

      Please join me in welcoming new member Aime Cloutier of Derby, Vermont. A warm welcome to you.
      We have at this time 155 members (134 memberships), scattered from coast to coast and Canada. Thirty-one memberships have signed up for the PDF version of the quarterly newsletter, saving us printing and mailing expense. Thank you, we can use those funds for things like saving bridges.
      Unhappily, thirteen memberships are still in ar- rears with their dues, which is unfortunate—when we make donations to help save a bridge, that money comes from our general funds while we continue to build our separate Save-a-bridge Fund. The general funds come from dues and donations.
      So, you folks who haven’t paid your dues yet, please do so soon. Check your Bridger mailing label for your membership status code. If you see code (07), (08), or (09) in red—tag! You are it!

Membership Birthdays and Anniversaries

04 Charlie Elflein
07 Carolyn Clapper
07 Robert & Barbara McPherson
10 Ron & Marie Bechard
14 Dick & June Roy
20 Joanne Billie
20 Mark & Jan Bramhall
27 Glen Hall
27 Terry Shaw
28 Bob Kane
30 Lionel & Debra Whiston 
02 Dick & Kathleen Howrigan
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
28 Sandra Weaver 
01 Irene Mele
03 Joanna Titcomb
05 Joe Nelson
08 Evelyn Lovastik
08 Virginia Eckson
08 Joanna Titcomb
10 Thomas Carpenter
15 Ed Rhodes
17 Euclid & Priscilla Farnham
18 Ed & Irene Barna
23 George Conn
25 Jim & Linda Crouse
25 Leo Fleury
28 Mark Bramhall
29 Ray & Dolores Gendron
30 Ada Jeffrey
30 Robert McPherson
31 Kathleen Havranek
31 N. David Charkes 

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historical_committee logo

By Bill Carroll

Taft Bridge

Taft Bridge in Dummerston (VT/45-13-31x) was built around 1870 to carry the road which later became Vt. 30 across Stickney Brook. It was a lattice truss, about 65 feet long. It is described in Windham County's famous covered bridges as "rather unromantic for a covered bridge. Neither written records or local legend linked it with any unusual or interesting circumstance."
      In 1951 Taft Bridge was replaced with a modern structure, and was dismantled and moved to Old Sturbridge Village, Sturbridge, Mass., and reassembled above a mill dam at Quinebaug Reservoir.
      During the hurricane/flood of August 1955 the bridge was washed from its abutments and saved from destruction by tying the bridge to nearby trees. The following winter the bridge was moved to its present location, further downstream in a more secure location.
      The bridge is a part of the historical buildings display on the grounds of Old Sturbridge Village, and is called Vermont Bridge (MA/21-14-03), though sometimes Dummerston Bridge or Taft Bridge. It is used by pedestrians and horse-drawn rides around the village. There is an entry fee to access the bridge.
      The collection comprises photocopied articles and printouts from various sources, and copies of the U. S. Geological Survey maps showing the location of both Taft Bridge in Dummerston and Vermont Bridge in Sturbridge. Articles date from 1960, and maps date from 1893 to 1950's.

Salisbury Station Bridge

#65279;Salisbury Station Bridge, also known as Cedar Swamp Bridge, or Station Bridge is a lattice truss extending 155 feet across Otter Creek, connecting the Towns of Salisbury and Cornwall.
      Otter Creek valley in this area is broad and flat and largely swamp. The very extensive Cedar Swamp borders Otter Creek at the bridge site, largely on the Cornwall side.
      The Rutland & Burlington Railroad (later Rutland Railroad) was chartered in 1843, and in operation by 1848 near the east side of Otter Creek. The bridge was built in 1865 to provide access from Cornwall and the adjacent area to Salisbury Station. It is likely that the road was in existence for some years before the bridge, as there is an old ford at the bridge site. However it seems unlikely that the road across Cedar Swamp existed before the railroad was built.
      The bridge itself was originally a single span, and is notable in the wide spacing of the lattice planks, nearly 5 feet, as opposed to the usual 3 feet. In 1969 the bridge was repaired, and a center pier was constructed. In 2007/2008 major repairs were carried out, including replacement of lower chords and many of the lattice planks. New siding and a new roof were in place in late 2008.
      On the Cornwall side of Otter Creek, the terrain is wooded swamp, extending from Otter Creek nearly 2 miles to the terminus of the road on Vt. 30 in Cornwall. In Salisbury the road rises gradually to Salisbury Station, and is mostly cleared farm and pasture land. There is no indication that any structures ever existed at or near the bridge. Much of Cedar Swamp is now part of Cornwall Wildlife Management Area.
      As a historical sidelight, Salisbury Station Bridge is not far south of the monument to Ann Story, Revolutionary War heroine. A brief write-up about Ann Story is found in Spanning Time, by Joseph C. Nelson. There is also much to be found on the Internet by googling Ann Story.

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CB Fiction or Fact Logo

Question Number 12: At what point in time does a newly built, authentic truss Covered Bridge become an historic covered bridge?
      One would think it is determined by years, and if so, how many years does it take for it to be considered an historic covered bridge? For example, the Erwin Park Covered Bridge in Oneida County, NY; the Smith Covered Bridge in New Castle County, Delaware; the Bridgeton Covered Bridge in Parke County, Indiana, and so on with the newly built, authentic truss covered bridges. At some point in time, they too will be considered historic, but when? According to the National Register of Historic Places, in order to qualify to be listed on their national register of historic places, properties need to be at least 50 years old or older and have some historic significance to the surrounding area where it is located
      So, if this is the case, should newly built, authentic covered bridges reaching 50 years old, be considered historic?

Joseph Conwill - Covered bridges have been built in two different time periods. In the first, they were built for strictly economic reasons. I call this the historical period; it ended around 1940 in the eastern United States, and around 1960 and in the West and in Canada.
      A second period began afterwards when covered bridges became popular, and people decided to begin building them again in part for sentiment. I call this the revival period. Such bridges may be considered historical in their own way, but in a different sense. A Greek Revival house may be interesting and historical in its own way, yet it is not the same thing as the ancient Greek temple which inspired it, no matter how old it is. Likewise, I would never consider a revival covered bridge to be in the same class as one from the original historical period, no matter how well built it is, and no matter how old it is now, or ever. The National Register 50-year cutoff date is irrelevant here. On occasion I visit and photograph revival covered bridges, and sometimes find them a worthy addition to the landscape. I usually do not include them in Covered Bridge Topics.
      Efforts to divide covered bridges any other way than this always end up in a hopeless muddle. This is not to say that covered bridges should not be built nowadays. But including the revival bridges on an equal footing with the old historical ones, as is done in the World Guide, gives an overly rosy view of the preservation record. It also distorts the pool of data on subjects such as truss type and distribution, and introduces serious inaccuracies into historical studies.

Robert Durfee - I would say using the National Register criteria of a structure being at least 50 year old is a good baseline for considering new covered bridges as historic. After 50 years, the original design engineers, contractors and owners that influenced the project have long faded, and a new generation of individuals can make an independent and unbiased judgment of its historic significance.

Eric Gilbertson - The 50 years that is used for the National Register is a guideline to determine when a structure should be looked at for eligibility. That is houses built before 1960 should be evaluated. Structures that are newer than 50 can be placed on the Register if they are of special significance. The Dulles international airport was one of those.
      Documented reconstructions can also be eligible for the Register. Be careful of the word "authentic" To meet the reconstruction criteria the bridge would have to be a replication of a bridge that once stood at that site--more than just a traditional cover. It would depend on how faithfully the bridge replicated an original on the site and the view of the State Historic Preservation Officer in what ever state the bridge resides. There is not a hard line; there are lots of judgments based on philosophy and the actual construction of the bridge.....and lots of other stuff... If it is in a state with few covered bridges it might have a better chance than if it is in a state with many bridges that are historic by definition.

Bob and Trish Kane - Having worked with State officials to obtain listing on both the State and National Register’s of Historic Places for nine of New York’s covered bridges, we feel their guidelines are acceptable for determining if a bridge is historic. However, it is important to keep in mind that these are just that, "guidelines." Other factors could, and perhaps should, play into this determination. In time, authentic truss bridges built today will be classified as historic and the bridges we now classify historic will be considered ancient.

 The Vermont Covered Bridge Society reserves the right to edit all submissions to the Bridger. Those that are deemed deroga- tory in nature will not be printed. The views expressed on these pages are not necessarily those of the Vermont Covered Bridge Society.

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Bridgewatch Logo

As many members know, bridge-watch is one of the primary functions of our organization. This function requires volunteers to perform semi-annual inspections of selected VT covered bridge sites and to network with the owners of these bridges- usually the towns where they are located. The purpose is to arouse interest in maintenance and preservation of these vital historic structures.
      At present there are a number of individual members involved in this effort at various locations. However, as statewide coordinator, I am always looking for additional volunteers to carry on this work. Please let me know if you are interested in these duties. – John Weaver

About Bridge-watch and Adopt-a-bridge¹
Because nearly all of Vermont's covered bridges are owned by the towns in which they are located, the Vermont Covered Bridge Society in its mission to preserve covered bridges has an outreach policy for towns and communities where the covered bridges are. In pursuit of this policy, the Society organizes Bridge-watch Areas. The purpose is to promote covered bridge preservation by helping to organize the taxpaying, voting citizens of that particular area who, as such, can go to their town government to advocate the maintenance and preservation of the town’s covered bridges.
      A Bridge-watch area, or Regional Chapter of the VCBS, is presided over by a Chapter Chairperson who is, preferably, a resident of the area. The Chapter Chairperson is responsible for establishing relationships with the bridge owners of record in that area. The Chapter Chairperson is also a member of the Board of Directors of the VCBS.
      Society members may, as part of an organized Bridge-watch Chapter, or independently if the area is not organized, volunteer to Adopt-a-bridge, working directly with a town or other covered bridge owner with clearing brush, sweeping, painting, fire proofing, and removing graffiti, if safety and the town’s liability insurance permits. Otherwise, the volunteer(s) will monitor the bridge for wear and tear, and vandalism and alert the town when problems are found.
      A typical scenario would be a covered bridge on a town highway in Vermont. The town is sometimes doing minimal maintenance —replacing siding, patching the roof, etc. Bridge trusses and floor members are collecting layers of dirt, trash is piling up at joints, water is running onto the bridge from the approaches, approach railings are missing, the bridge is not insect, fungi or fire protected, etc.
      The most important things to look for are deterioration to the basic bridge structural components - the trusses, floor beams, top lateral bracing between trusses, etc. These same items are usually identified in the Vermont Agency of Transportation bridge inspection reports. Each town office should have copies of these on hand.
      To identify the truss type and other components make reference to the Bridge Watch Handbook and the 1995 consultant report diagrams. Remember that covered bridges were constructed with sacrificial elements that were intended to be replaced from time to time - the roof, floor and siding components.
      Try to establish a historical record of the use and developed uses of the bridge. Document and verify any changes to the bridge structure to accommodate original and later uses - such as the adding of floor beams, reconstructing floors with heavier wood decks, adding arches to the trusses, etc.
      Help in regard to the above may come from contacts with local and state historians or long time town residents, old photos, etc. Help in regard to bridge component identification and analysis can be obtained from your VCBS statewide covered bridge coordinator.
      Preservation tips for treating wood can be found on the website and by contacting your VCBS statewide covered bridge coordinator.
      How to organize and what to do depends on the size and abilities of your local Bridge Watch group. Groups may be as small as one member or as large as ten members. Members might be able to attempt on-site cleaning or brush removal projects or simply provide observation and reporting functions.
      Select board members should be contacted and consulted before attempting any significant local activities. This may be done through the town clerk or road foremen. Report any noted problems to the same authorities.
      Offer to help local authorities develop strategies for use and maintenance of covered bridges in your area. Encourage town authorities to participate in the Historic Covered Bridge Preservation Plan and The Vermont Historic Bridge Program. This Plan and Program are products of a collaborative effort between the Vermont Agency of Transportation and the Vermont Dept. of Historic Preservation. Through the Program, funds can be secured for continual major maintenance and rehabilitation of Vermont covered bridges. VCBS participation in all of the above activities will help towns fulfill their portion of easements (agreements) between local governing bodies and state agencies.
¹Based on workshop held 01/26/02 by John Weaver at: VAOT Lab Conference Room, Berlin VT.

Bridge Watch Report, Williamsville Bridge
WGN 45-13-05

- by Ray Hitchcock

Williamsville Bridge replica, East Portal View –Photo by Ray 
Williamsville Bridge replica, East Portal View –Photo by Ray Hitchcock

May 17, 2010 According to VTrans Engineer, Thomas Lacky, "Jim Ligon is preparing footings for the temporary shoring system. The system will lift the old bridge for demolition and support the new bridge for installation."
      On my visit things appear to be going well with the biggest challenge getting the new bridge to fit on the old footings. Meanwhile, they are prepping the old bridge site for the big move. Should be quite a show in a few weeks!

Bridge Watch Report, Cambridge Junction Bridge
WGN 45-08-02

- by Ron Bechard

April 13, 2010 - Winter barriers and protective decking have been removed by town work crews to allow regular traffic to pass through. Good Job! Everything appears ship-shape and in good condition, with no likely winter damage.
      Guide rails [curbing] still remain a problem at the approaches to both ends of the bridge but have suffered no additional damage since my last report.
      The bridge should show very well for upcoming annual meeting Saturday May 24, 2010.
Inspection Check list – Bridge components are free of accumulated dirt and debris, Drainage areas are free of debris. Run-off from deck drains and approaches is kept away from bridge elements below. Small trees and shrubs are kept clear of substructure. River channels beneath bridge are clear of major debris. Proper load posting and advance warning signs are maintained and visible. Roof system is maintained and watertight. Siding is repaired, replaced and maintained. Excessive snow accumulation is removed. Road- way approaches are smooth and maintained. Approach railings are reasonably straight, continuous and maintained.

Bridge Watch Report—Worral Bridge Restoration
WGN 45-13-10

—by Ray Hitchcock

Worrall Bridge. Photo by Ray Hitch-
Upstream lower chord from west portal - Photo by Ray Hitch- cock

May 19, 2010 - A five person crew was there and I talked with Engineer Dan Hull and Supervisor Alan Davis. They were making some measurements having to do with setting the bridge down in place. I believe they have to order some materials that may take a month to arrive
      The crew was aware of the pictures on the web site and Dan asked for a picture of the original lower chord showing the wave rather than the nice new nice camber. I sent it to him.
      The bridge looks some better with a natural camber and all the pieces of the lattice back together. They have a ramp set up to move the floor beams back in place.
      I couldn't help but notice that while looking up I could see sky in a couple of places. I know that the roof is relatively new and is not part of the project but it bears looking at. Its fun to compare the challenges of repairing an old bridge versus building a replica.

May 31, 2010 - A visit to Worrall finds that they have reinstalled the wood cribbing so that they can remove the steel support beams.
      Also the old bridge shows off its revitalized camber. Daniels Engineer, Dan Hull advised me that they would start residing the bridge on Tuesday so I thought I should get the above shot. The pictures in the fall of ’09 shows the bottom chord a bit wavy with no camber before the chord was reconstructed.

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Book Logo

A Reminder; Don’t Let A Learning/Research Source Go To Waste

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 booklist complete with a description and critique of each book. Copies of the index are available by mail, or you may contact Librarian Warren Tripp at, or Joe Nelson at for a PDF copy.
      To borrow a book 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, Phone (802) 584-3545.

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2010 Pioneers Safari, Saturday, September 25th & Sunday, September 26th

by George Conn

Hi Everyone,
      I just want to let you know that plans, al- though far from complete, are being worked on for the 2010 Pioneers Safari. As usual, our safari will be held on the last full weekend in September (25th & 26th). Bill Caswell has been laying out and .running. possible routes. He has also secured our motel accommodations for the safari. Bill and I will continue to refine the routes, plan the rest stops, decide on restaurants and arrange for our meetings.
      There are so many bridges in the area that we are seeing that you should definitely figure on more than two days in the region. If you are traveling a long distance, I hope that you can spend many days enjoying the beautiful countryside, many attractions and, of course, the abundance of beautiful bridges.
      This article is to inform you of the general area that we will be visiting, to give you the infomation on the motel accommodations and to give you an idea of the bridges that we are expecting to see.
      The area we will be visiting can be described as southern Vermont and New Hampshire. It straddles the border between eastern Vermont and western New Hampshire. We will be "headquartered" in Springfield, Vermont which is close to both the Connecticut River (the border between VT and NH) and I-91.
      The motel Accommodations are at the Holiday Inn Express at Springfield, Vermont, Room Rate: $89/night + 9% tax. NOTE: By the end of September, this area of New England is getting into the fall tourist season. The room rate we have is well below the motel’s regular rate. As an additional favor, management has agreed to honor that rate for the two days prior to our safari (Wednesday & Thursday) and the two days following our safari (Sunday and Monday). So, if you are staying extra days, be sure to request the rate for the Pioneers Safari group.
Room type: double beds.
Reservations: Reserve by phoning (make sure you let them know that you are with the Pioneers Safari group).
Complete motel information: Holiday Inn Express at Springfield, VT, 818 Charlestown Road, Springfield, VT 05156, (802) 885-4516. More information, including photos, is available on the internet. A block of rooms has been set aside for our group and reservations are being accepted now.

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Letters Logo

Dear Friends:

When someone says, "Old Sturbridge Village," lots of happy visions come to mind. Our Village Green, our family of costumed interpreters...even our world-famous Chocolate Chip Cookies. But there is one treasured icon at the Village that is in trouble, and I am writing to ask for your help.
      The covered bridge at Old Sturbridge Village was recently closed down for structural repairs. This past winter was hard on the bridge, and the heavy rains of March took their toll. Our dedicated team of carpenters estimates the cost of repair at $50,000.
      We did not plan for this in our budget. But the work must be done. Our "high season" is coming soon - when thousands of visitors will look forward to experencing the bridge as part of their immersion into early American life. We must do what it takes to make sure our bridge is ready for them by Independence Day.
      The Old Sturbridge Village covered bridge was moved to its current location from Dummerston, Vermont in 1951. It survived the flood of 1955, and is one of the most photographed structures at OSV.
      This treasured icon has served generations of visitors. Will you help us restore and preserve it for future generations by making your most generous gift right now?
      Old Sturbridge Village would not be the same without its covered bridge. I really appreciate any amount of help you can dedicate to its restoration. Thanks so much in advance for your support. I know I can count on you.
      Sincerely, Jim Donahue, President and CEO OSV
Please donate on line at giftform.php, or mail donation to: Old Sturbridge Inc., 1 Old Sturbridge Village Rd., Sturbridge, MA 01566. For further information, please call 508-347-0210.

(Editors note: As recorded in Prez Says and minutes please note that VCBS made a contribution.)

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Grand Celebration To Be Held in Moscow, Indiana

Moscow, Indiana - On June 3, 2008, a devastating tornado swept through Moscow, Indiana and the surround- ing community, destroying or severely damaging many homes and buildings, including the old Moscow Covered Bridge (WGN IN-70-07). The force of the tornado dislodged the bridge from its abutments and sent it crashing into the Flatrock River below. Immediately following the storm, the County Commissioners took swift action to salvage and preserve as much of the bridge's structure as possible with the hope of rebuilding the bridge in its original location.
      The Moscow Covered Bridge is now almost re- built and a grand celebration will take place June 4-6th, 2010. The three day festival includes a parade, musical entertainment, vendors and much more. You won't want to miss this event and join area residents and county officials in the celebration. Congratulations to everyone involved in the rebuilding of this bridge.
– Trish Kane, New York Covered Bridge News, 5/31/2010

Tractor Trailer Magnet Mt. Orne Bridge Struck
Again, And Again

WGN 29-04-08/45-05-03

Mt. Orne Bridge. Photo from Pamela 
Maza Thurber, 2001
Truck wedged into Mount Orne Bridge, Photo from Pamela Maza Thurber, P.E. VTrans, June 6, 2006

Lancaster, New Hampshire, May 31, 2010 – The Mount Orne covered bridge which links Vermont and New Hampshire, was severely damaged on Wednesday, May 26 after a tractor trailer truck drove through it. The driver, Sergo Niko, 59, of Pacoima, CA, had driven the truck cross country from Sun Valley, CA to Maine and was returning to California. The driver commented, "This was the way his dispatcher told him to go." The driver failed to stop after hitting the bridge but a Lunenburg resident saw the stopped truck and the driver picking pieces of wood from it. Niko was arrested by the Gilman, VT Constable and was charged with conduct after an accident, failure to display trailer plates and for the truck being over-height. He is currently free on $500 personal recognizance and is to appear in Lancaster District Court on June 30. – Trish Kane, New York Covered Bridge News, 5/31/2010
      OnJune 6, 2006, a tractor Trailer imbedded itself in the Mt. Orne at the Lancaster New Hampshire end, destroying the portal boarding.
      On May 9, 2005, there was a similar incident. Sean James, P.E., of Hoyle, Tanner & Associates looked at the bridge for the Town’s insurance company after a truck hit it, damaging the New Hampshire portal framing.
      The 267-foot Mount Orne Bridge was built in 1911 by Charles Babbitt using the Howe truss. Mr. Bab- bitt built the Columbia Bridge at Lemington the follow- ing year using the same truss. The longer Mount Orne Bridge uses a mid-stream pier.

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Notice Logo

Wanted, a newsletter editor trainee to ultimately take over the editorship of The Bridger, a key position in the Vermont Covered Bridge Society’s outreach.

Wanted, reporter/correspondent to bring local covered bridge news to The Bridge.
For more information or to sign up, please contact Joe Nelson, Communication Committee Chair,

Volunteer worker-bees are needed by the Events Committee to help set up meetings and assist in hosting them. For details contact Suzanne Daniels, Events Committee Chair: 802.885.5517 or

Needed: Volunteer to serve as membership coordinator assisting Membership Committee Chair, Suzanne Daniels. Contact Suzanne at: 802.885.5517

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For Sale Logo

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 are found.
      An appendix provides: A Summary of Vermont's Covered Bridges, listing vital information on each bridge; A Covered Bridge Glossary, naming and describing the details of a covered bridge; A Bridge Truss section, explaining how trusses work with drawings of the several trusses used in Vermont; The Bridge Builders, providing thumbnail biographies of the people who designed and built the bridges;
      A Covered Bridge Reading List, for bridge and history buffs who want to read more; 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:
Also see:


To place your ad in the Bridger, contact Joe Nelson, The ad must be about covered bridges and you must be a member of a covered bridge society.

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Events Logo

By Suzanne Daniels, Chair, Events Committee

Mark Your Calendars
It’s Expo Time at Tunbridge Once Again Once again we are approaching those June dates 26 and 27 ( Sat. and Sun. ) for our participation in the Vermont History Exposition. This is our golden opportunity to put VCBS before the public for two whole days. We also get several new members each year. We need your help.
      Participating members get a free pass and usually get to see all the other activities there as well. We need volunteers to man the VCBS booth either Sat. morning or afternoon and Sunday morning.
      Please call Neil Daniels at 802-885-5517 or Joe Nelson at 802-889-2093.

Annual Fall Meeting Slated
Our Annual Fall Meeting will be held on October 23, 2010 at the Montpelier Library. The speaker will be Robert McCullough.
      The topic will be Preservation Treatment 4 in the Vermont Historic Covered Bridge Preservation Plan: Co-functional, reversible, secondary structural systems employing glu-laminated girders. The goal is to engage in dialogue about what are sometimes very difficult choices. For example, I would be much happier with that solution on the Williamsville Covered Bridge than the complete reconstruction currently underway.
      Bob McCullough, author of Crossings A History of Vermont Bridges (2005), teaches in the graduate Program for Historic Preservation at the University of Vermont and is co-manager of the Vermont Historic Bridge Program of the Vermont Agency of Transportation.
      There will be more information in the fall issue of The Bridger.

Newsletter Deadlines
Spring Issue - February 28
Summer Issue—May 31
Fall Issue—August 31
Winter Issue—November 30 

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Joe Nelson, P.O Box 267, Jericho, VT 05465-0267
This file posted 09/07/2010