The VCBS Fourth Annual Meeting Held|
by Irene Barna
The Vermont Covered Bridge Society met October
25, 2003 at the Ilsley Public Library in Middlebury for its Fourth Annual Business Meeting.
Twenty-five covered bridge enthusiasts signed-in at the meeting and enjoyed refreshments
brought by Kathy Ramsey of Lyndonville. At 10:30 AM the meeting was officially called to order
by Vice President John Weaver in the absence of President Joe Nelson. Minutes of the previous
Annual meeting were not read since they had been printed in The Bridger; but
motions to accept as published were made and seconded by David Guay & Jeannette Wilson,
respectively, with no additions or corrections expressed. Self-introductions were requested and
we welcomed visitors Richard Cormier of Clarendon, VT and Gerry Cormier of Agawam,
Nominations Committee Report
The Nominations Committee Report was given by chair of that committee, John Weaver. After
reading the names of those agreeing to assume those responsibilities, John encouraged all to
submit ballots to the secretary at this meeting or to mail them before the deadline of November
15, 2003. John welcomed write-in votes as only one person was running for each office. Late
ballots would not be counted.
|VCBS Fourth Annual Meeting|
Photo by Pauline
and Don Prideaux, 10-25-03
The Treasurer's report was submitted by Ruth Nelson, Treasurer
and was read by Irene Barna in Ruth's absence:
Balance brought Forward Jan.1, 2003 $3914.54
Cash in 1 -1-03 to 9-30-03
Paid out 1-1-03 to 9-30-03
Cash on hand
The Membership Report was submitted in absentia by Trish Kane,
Membership Coordinator, and read by Irene Barna:
Total membership as of Oct 7, 2003 = 139
Total membership as of Oct 25, 2002 = 148
Of these memberships, 68 are residents of Vermont and 71 are from out-of-state.
The breakdown of these memberships are as follows:
New memberships from January 1, 2003 to date are 27 compared to 30 at this time 2002.
Personal e-mails and/or post cards were sent in August
to members in arrears on dues one year or more. Memberships were terminated for those who did
Other Reports - Bridge Watch:
1) Lyndon/Danville Bridge Watch: Kathryn Ramsey was welcomed as new bridge
watch chair for the Lyndon-Danville area.
2) Green River Bridge Mail Boxes: Will Thompson reported on the status of
the mail boxes in the Green River Bridge in Guilford. Two years ago Will had taken a
visitor to view the mailboxes in the bridge because of their unique location. They found
all of the boxes missing, having been removed by post office officials. Joe Nelson had
received word from Mark Parmenter, the Postmaster in Guilford, that because of vandalism
the Postal Department drop box was removed along with the several rural mail boxes. The
president of the Guilford Historical Society, Addison Minot, contacted Mr. Parmenter
about replacing the removed drop box. Contacts between the Brattleboro Post
Office, Addison Minot, the Guilford Post Office, and Joe Nelson resulted in Guilford Post
Office proposing to:
1. Install a dummy drop box with opening welded shut and an actual drop
2. Place a working drop box in sight of the bridge, several yards away.
3. Have a 2004 ceremony with special cancellation from this
A firm date of the ceremony in the spring, hopefully, can be announced in The
3) Cooley Bridge: Neil Daniels, Neil H. Daniels, Inc. Construction being the
low bidder on the project, reported that the work should be completed in about two
4) Hectorville Bridge: A motion to authorize $500 from the VCBS toward the
of the Hectorville Bridge in Montgomery was made and seconded by Rae Laitres and Marge
respectively. The Town of Montgomery is still working out approvals and grant requests to put
project together as it is still in the formative stages*. It was reported that last summer there had
been discussions in the Courrier as to what should be done.
(*For those with internet access this site is informative
Special Report--Toll House Windsor, VT:
Sue Richardson is now the owner of the house located
in Windsor, VT
being the Toll House at the Windsor/Cornish Covered Bridge. Archaeological excavations have
evidences of a grist mill on Bridge Street in Windsor. During bridge and mill foundation
and renovations to the house, it was revealed that the house exists in three parts. Sue realized that
the house had elements that needed to be shared and that the house belongs to history. Taking
floors revealed architectural features, including a beehive oven, which could be explained to
Sue contacted Joe Nelson wondering if the VCBS might be interested in participation to some
The House is a good spot from which to photograph
Bridge giving opportunity for vantage points rarely accessed (most photos are taken from the
side). This bridge was a significant part of early transportation in the USA. She has invited several
and organizations to join in committee, mentioning these: Neil Daniels, the Windsor Historical
Cornish Historical Society, the American Precision Museum, and the VCBS. The committee
would look into raising
money to restore the house. They would also discuss sharing the knowledge of hand tools
displayed in the American
Precision Museum, types of which would have been used to build the house and the bridge. There
are also significant
Victorian elements in the house added in a "remodeling update" in the late 1800s.
The house itself is divided in half: the east side is
facing the bridge
and the west side faces the town. Using the east side of the house for an educational facility and
for tools display, Sue hopes to involve schools and provide an opportunity to learn about the tools
technology of the time period. Also the bridge abutment is available for study.
The Toll House was used for the four bridges that
have existed on the
site. The 1790 cape has a basement door leading into an area having a fireplace far grander than
the main floor fireplaces since the basement level accommodated the ferry--the original means of
of the Connecticut River at Windsor.
A kitchen was added in 1920 and a new foundation
poured under the kitchen
portion. The president of the Mascoma Bank has restored a home in the area and is said to be
interested in the project.
A brochure is to be put together and application made
for grant monies,
501C3 status, and having the Toll House placed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is
it might be a part of the American Precision Museum, the VCBS, or for a library of covered
Dick Wilson interjected that the entire Richard Sanders Allen collection is currently housed in the
Ideas are welcomed for procedure. Sue Richardson is the newest life member of the
New Business - Open Floor Topics:
Dick Wilson reports: Richard Donovan is recovering nicely in a nursing home since
October 19th. A Canadian book to be out in March 2004 featuring 200 photographs.
The Hopkinton RR Bridge in New Hampshire has had repairs and fireproofing.
John Conwell of Maine book: "Images of America" features Maine bridges.
Dick offered a few copies of Walker's book "Ramblings" at a cost of $5.00.
Neil Daniels reports this Bridge Watch item: A Weathersfield fund of $700,000 of
Jeffords money to the
repair the stone abutment of the Downer's Bridge. Neil states that Joe Nelson, in his book*, calls
a striking piece of dry-laid stonemasonry as it is the width of the bridge and extends back 100
yards. The state,
VAOT, recommends tearing out and re-doing!!!!!!!! THE HISTORIC STONE ABUTMENT
WILL BE SAVED. Efforts of the
Bridge Watch Committee illustrate what joint effort can accomplish.
(* Spanning Time Vermont's Covered Bridges by Joseph C. Nelson p 169 - Ed.)
Bob Cassidy mentioned bridge construction in Rutland City
John Dostal raised the issue of fireproofing and questions the life of fire
The morning program consisted of an excellent slide
by Dick Wilson featuring his photographs of many Vermont bridges taken over the period of
years. The photographs illustrated the many changes over the years--some subtle, some not.
The Spring All-Member meeting of the VCBS will be
held in Rutland.
The meeting is planned for a weekend in early June 2004. Bob Cassidy will be arranging the
Tenative meeting sites will be either the Rutland Public Library or the home of the Rutland
Society, the former Nickwackett Fire House.
The Vermont History Expo 2004 will be the weekend
of June 26 and
27, 2004 in Tunbridge. The VCBS will have their booth in the same location in the Floral Hall as
and 2003. Volunteers to staff the booth are encouraged to participate so that a few don't have to
it all. Irene Barna is the VCBS contact person for this Vermont Historical Society event.
We thank Kathy Ramsey for bringing the goodies and
the way from Lyndonville.
Fifty seven dollars were realized as profits from the
Members took home many nice covered bridge paintings and memorabilia that had been donated
by the members.
The group broke about 12:30 PM as lunch was "on
your own" in town. No one
returned for a bridge tour of area bridges so the meeting kind of… just… ended…….
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Book Documenting Covered Bridges Spurs
By Phyllis Johnson, Chesapeake-Clipper Correspondent
Leola Pierce loves to admire fall foliage, and during a
trip to western Virginia she discovered something that would inspire her to produce a book and
legislation to recognize what she saw.
What attracted the Portsmouth resident's eye that fall
day was a covered
bridge still in use. It made her wonder how many covered bridges could be found around the
state. So she and
her son, Steve, who's worked as both a former private investigator and real estate agent, set out
the structures in words and photographs.
Her love of covered bridges came naturally to Leola
Pierce, a retired
Virginia Department of Transportation bridge engineer with more than 50 years of drafting and
She first worked as an architectural draftsman then as
a civil engineering
draftsman at the Naval Operating Base in Norfolk.
"I also worked as a senior structural draftsman
specializing in bridges
and then as chief draftsman in the Suffolk District Bridge Office of VDOT," said Pierce. "My last
was that of transportation engineer (bridges) up until I retired in 1995."
Pierce, 80, and her son, 56, spent nine years visiting
and found nine: three in the south Piedmont area and six in the Appalachians. They captured them
in a book
titled "Covered Bridges in Virginia," which was published in the spring of 2002.
The 165 page book includes historical information
about Virginia and
structural data on the bridges. Pierce's original poems inspired by the bridges, and picturesque as
as technical photographs of the structures - all shot by Steve Pierce. The book also includes maps,
information and family data.
The book explains how the first timber bridges were
called corduroy bridges.
Covered bridges were made by carpenters on dry land, taken apart and reassembled over the
The bridges featured in her book are Meem's Bottom
Covered Bridge. Biedler
Farm Covered Bridge, Humpback Covered Bridge, Link's Farm Covered Bridge, Sinking Creek
Covered Bridge, C. K.
Reynolds Covered Bridge, Jack's Creek Covered Bridge and Bob White Covered Bridge.
Marysville Covered Bridge
was destroyed by Hurricane Fran.
Meem's Bottom Covered Bridge is located between
Mount Jackson and New Market
and remains usable, said Steve Pierce. "There is so much traffic on it, it is unbelievable. There are
Fed-Ex trucks everywhere."
"The Humpback Covered Bridge in Covington is the
oldest covered bridge in
Virginia and the only covered bridge in the United States with a hump," he added.
"There are three covered bridges in Giles County,"
Steve Pierce said.
"Two of them are on private property, but we know the owners of them very well."
Biedler Farm Bridge is the most protected. It is on a
private farm and is
rarely visited. C. K. Reynolds and Link's Farm Covered Bridges are also on private property.
According to the book, private property owners have
a difficult time
renovating the bridges due to having to meet ecology standards and because techniques and
to the original structure can be expensive.
Since the release of book, the number of enthusiasts
for these covered
bridges has grown, and in May she established the Covered Bridge Society of Virginia, which
meets the third
Wednesday of each month at the Western Branch restaurant.
Steve Pierce said interest is building to hold a Covered
at the Humpback Covered Bridge in Covington between the last week in May and the third week
in June. And,
he said, a Covered Bridge Day planned Sept. 27 at the Sinking Creek Covered Bridge in
A resolution was passed by the General Assembly
earlier this year to
designate the third weekend in June as Covered Bridge Weekend in Virginia.
That effort was sponsored by state Sen. Fred Quayle
who also helped establish license plates commemorating the covered bridges.
It takes 350 orders to begin production of these
Quayle attended the Covered Bridge Society's Aug. 20 meeting to discuss how selling the plates
"For every $25 spent on these, $15 will be allotted
toward the restoration,"
Quayle was named an honorary member of the society
at the meeting,
and he com mended Leola Pierce for her work in getting recognition for the covered bridges
through her book.
Joe Flasinski, a covered bridge enthusiast who is starting a chapter outside of Charlottesville, was
others who attended the meeting.
Izzy de Jesus, a Deep Creek resident and president of
became interested in covered bridges originating with his love for photography.
"I was out with a friend to photograph lighthouses up
north, but it
was too foggy for good photos of them, took a detour from my usual trek and stumbled across a
he said. "We came across 10 different covered bridges."
This piqued his interest and later he found an article
about Pierce and her book.
"She later tracked me down and asked me to join the
society. I was then elected
president". The group now boasts 15 members and Pierce is hoping to interest others in helping
catalog and the bridges.
"Please ask anyone who is intrested in our historic
timber covered bridges
to attend our meetings and join the Covered Bridge Society of Virginia and help promote the
maintenance and memory of our bridges," said Leola Pierce.
(This article first published by the Chesapeake-Clipper, Sunday, Sept. 7, 2003; © copyright 2003
The Virginian-Pilot. Our thanks to the folks of the Virginian-Pilot/Chesapeake-Clipper for their
permission to post this article, and our thanks to Izzy de Jesus for bringing this article to our
attention - Editor)
To Learn More:|
For more information about Leola Pierce's
book, "Covered Bridges of Virginia," go to www.upstreampress.com
or call (877) 401-9500.
For more information on the Covered Bridges
Society of Virginia, e-mail Pierce at firstname.lastname@example.org or call
484-4404. The group meets the third Wednesday of each month at Dennis Spaghetti
and Steak House, 3356 Western Branch Blvd.
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A Visit to West Charleston
by by Charlie Elflein
In the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, situated
between two of the state's most beautiful lakes (Willoughby and Memphremagog), lies the Town
of Charleston. Settled in 1803, this remote corner of Orleans County was first called "Navy" in
honor of Commodore Whipple who was the grantee. He fought in the navy at a battle in
Charleston, South Carolina, and in 1825, the town name was changed in his honor.
Charleston once had its share of covered bridges. The
late Barbara Brainerd, a well-known writer who contributed many articles to our bridge
publications, described Vermont's old spans eloquently. Referring to this area's bridges she stated
that, "These structures are of a type which lends itself especially well to pictorial study, small in
size and with their graceful masses well proportioned."
|Twin Bridges East Charleston|
The Covered Bridge
By Herbert Congdon, ©1941 pg 58"
Probably the most famous covered spans in town
were the Twin Bridges spanning Clyde River in East Charleston. Situated near the village store
and post office, these two were constructed with steeply pitched roofs to accommodate the
frequent North Country snowstorms.
About 1.5 miles west of East Charleston was the
small Haystack Corners Bridge, a low queenpost truss also spanning the Clyde River With its
unpainted siding, dirt road, surrounding trees and schoolhouse, this little bridge was typical of the
many rural spans in Orleans County.
Continuing westward on Route 105, we pass
Pensioner Pond, Lubber Lake, then arrive in West Charleston. Nothing more than a small
crossroads today, here we find the site of the former Power Plant Bridge. This covered span was
located just a stone's throw east of the main highway on Durgin Road.
This post card identifies it as Clyde River Bridge, but
the Charleston Historical Society said the most common name is Power Plant. In this view
looking west, Route 105 would be to the left of the picture. This scene truly has "rural Vermont"
written all over it. I love the old wooden guard rails leading up the bridge, the weathered vertical
siding, shingled roof, granite abutments, tranquil river, winding dirt road, and open pasture in the
background. How we bridgers wish more places like this were still around to capture on film!
In this early view, a penstock is visible to the right of
the bridge. There is still a dam here, and the penstock goes to the electric plant of Citizens
Utilities. In the days of the picture, it went to the mills below. Many years ago, West Charleston
had a shingle mill, saw mill, and probably others.
|Clyde River Bridge Photo from Charlie
Power Plant Bridge was a four-panel combination
queenpost and kingpost truss. Approximately 50 feet in length, it had square portals and unusual
siding. The east side was boarded up 2/3rds of the way, whereas the west side only had vertical
siding below the horizontal beam of the queenpost. This was done, no doubt, for greater visibility
and more light inside the bridge.
The Charleston Historical Society does not have a
builder's name or record of when Power Plant Bridge was constructed, but a new span was built
at this location in 1926. They assume the covered one was removed or destroyed at the time.
While Orleans County remains one of the most rural
regions of Vermont, most of its covered spans have met a fate similar to West Charleston's Power
Plant Bridge. Let's hope that the two remaining old structures in Irasburg and Troy will be with us
for many more years as a reminder of early bridge building in the region.
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Poland Bridge Restoration Progress
by Joe Nelson
November 21, 2003 - The rehabilitation of the Poland Bridge is proceeding well.
According to Jim Ligon, construction foreman, the work is ahead of schedule in spite of repeated
heavy rains and high water.
|Flood waters came within 14 inches|
of the steel
from Joe Nelson Nov 21, 2003
Chord replacement at three of the four corners of the
bridge is completed, said Ligon. He expects work on the southwest corner chord to be finished
Monday. Two chord members in the center of the bridge and five kingpost replacements remain
to be done, he said.
New bed timbers will be placed under the chords at the
abutments and the end timbers of the Burr Arches will be replaced to terminate at the
Work was stopped October 28 when the Lamoille
River went out of banks and forced the construction crew to move equipment to high ground.
The rains came again on November 18 causing the river to rise once more, peaking on November
20, the waters rising to within 14 inches of the center of the steel scaffolding supporting the
Construction equipment at the north end of the bridge
had to be moved again, including the trailers. Stacks of bridge timbers, floating away, had to be
lassoed and tied to trees. The approach road to the north end of the bridge was washed
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Comstock Bridge Reconstruction Completed
By Joe Nelson
November 10, 2003 - A visit on November 6 found the bridge construction complete and
apparently ready for service, however the portals were secured with barriers. I contacted
Warren Tripp, VAOT project manager for the Comstock Bridge by e-mail. His
|View from the western approach|
by Joe Nelson
Nov 6, 2003
Once the last of the construction details, such as final guard rail work,
application of fire retardant, removal of office trailers, etc., are completed, the Construction
Section of VAOT will schedule a final inspection of the project. Following that inspection any
remaining problems or details brought up at that inspection will be completed and the project will
be accepted. At that time the bridge will be turned back over to the Town and it will be opened to
traffic. All of that should happen within the next couple of weeks. I also have been pleased with
the quality of workmanship on this project.
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Marshfield Makes a Bridge Deal
Tax bill traded for scenic 120 acres on Route 2
by Sky Barsch, Times Argus Staff
MARSHFIELD - A New Hampshire man's $1,300 school tax bill may become water
under the bridge, so to speak.
|Martin Bridge [WGN 45-12-06]|
by Joe Nelson March 1996
That will be the case when the town officially assumes
the deed of Charles Thorndike's 120 acres of property along Route 2, which include the historic
wooden covered Martin Bridge.
Thorndike, of New Hampton, N.H., is giving the town
of Marshfield the property, which is valued at $87,200.00, in exchange for the $1,321.08 he owes
in current school taxes.
The selectboard voted last week to agree to the deal,
and plans to sign the deed agreement Tuesday.
"We accepted the bridge because it's historic and it
was offered," said Marshfield Selectboard Chairman George Longenecker. Another reason, he
said, is, "One of my interests is history and historic preservation." Longenecker said he believes
there is grant money available to preserve what he calls one of the most historic places in
The Martin Bridge crosses the Winooski River and is
on the National Register of Historic Places. It is the only covered bridge left in Marshfield.
Historians believe the 45-foot long bridge was built in 1890.
Though the bridge is unsafe for automobile travel, it
serves as a handsome backdrop for a popular fishing spot.
The land included in the exchange is zoned in the flood
plain or in forestry, making the land unsuitable for development. Town officials are considering
selling a portion of the property.
Longenecker said the town will discuss what to do
with this and other properties the town has acquired through tax sales. "We don't need 120 acres
of land," Longenecker said. Attempts to reach Thorndike were unsuccessful.
(Copyright © 2003 The Barre-Montpelier Times Argus, www.timesargus.com
Contact Sky Barsch at email@example.com or 802-479-0191, ext. 1153. - Ed.)
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Marshfield's Martin Bridge Inspection Report
by By John Weaver
After reading about the gift of the Martin Bridge to
the town: "Marshfield
Makes a Deal", in the Barre-Montpelier Times Argus, John Weaver contacted George
Weaver, a Professional Engineer and Bridge-watch
Coordinator for the
Vermont Covered Bridge Society, volunteered to evaluate the bridge at no cost. The following
report was sent
to the Town of Marshfield Selectboard.
Bridge name(s):Martin Bridge, Orton Bridge
World Guide Number: 45-12-06
Location: Marshfield VT.
Type: 45' Queenpost.
Use: No vehicle use.
The overall conditions of the dry rubble masonry
abutments and wings are
poor. In particular, considerable (river) undermining and settlement of the northwest and
are evident. Individual stones indicate noticeable dislocation and large open gaps between stones
many places at both abutments.
Overflow areas in adjacent fields seem to provide
some channel flow relief
during flood events.
The wood superstructure demonstrates some merits:
The roof seems to be
tight enough to keep most of the structure dry, also, it has ample overhang and pitch. The siding
is in fair
condition and provides venting at roof soffit locations. The superstructure shows some evidence
and maintenance over the life of the bridge and still maintains a positive camber.
However the bottom chord indicates heavy areas of
rot at the end diagonal
joint locations and bearings. Due to this rot and settlements of abutment stones, the trusses have
(distorted) and do not bear on the abutments in a satisfactory manner. The entire bridge is racking
noticeably) toward the upstream side. Many truss joints are loose and distorted. The floor system
planks and the floor beams are spread very far apart. The queen posts seem to be connected to the
with metal straps - this was probably not the original design.
Judging from experience with Randall bridge in
Lyndon, the cost of
underpinning each abutment would be approximately $16,000. Rehabilitating the upper portions
of each would
probably cost the same, for a total abutment cost of $64,000. Repairing truss members, flooring,
and aligning the wooden superstructure would probably cost approximately $25,000 - $30,000,
for an overall
total of approximately $94,000. It is recommended that all wood members on the inside of the
bridge be treated
with a surface application of fire retardant.
Per site visit the bridge appears to be salvable, that is,
it to some stable condition. However, even rehabilitated, the structure may have only somewhat
capacity beyond carrying its own dead load. Final use and load capacity would have to be
determined by a
professional engineer. For now, continued deterioration of the foundations will probably cause
distress in the wooden superstructure, leading to its eventual collapse.
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Brighton Vermont Pedestrian Covered Bridge Nears
By Sean James
September 5, 2003 -Here is an update on the Brighton, VT Covered Pedestrian Bridge . .
by Hoyle, Tanner Sept 2003
After many years of hard work by the Town of
Brighton and support
from the Vermont Agency of Transportation, the Brighton Pedestrian bridge is nearing
bridge consists of three sets of elevated wooden stairs on timber piers, a 112 foot long Howe
main span and covered stairs on grade. The total length of the covered portion of the bridge and
is 327 feet. Design of the bridge and construction inspection are being completed by Hoyle,
Tanner & Associates.
The grand opening is scheduled for the end of September. We will forward the date and time once
it has been
Sean T. James, P.E.
Hoyle, Tanner & Associates, Inc.
150 Dow Street
Manchester, NH 03101
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Covered Bridge Community News Notes
Work on Buskirk Bridge Begun (WGN 32-42- 02)
Buskirk, NY - Closed since a cracked beam was found in August 2002, preliminary
repairs on the
Buskirk Covered Bridge have begun, with reconstruction to begin in the spring.The work will be
a $1.7 million contract awarded by the County in October. A temporary bridge to carry traffic
for but the land owner adjacent to the covered bridge refused permission to establish a temporary
|Buskirk Covered Bridge|
by Dick Wilson Aug 14 2002
The county wants to build a new bridge to augment
the covered bridge and
has applied to add the new bridge to a federal transportation package that will be available in
location for the new bridge has not been determined.
The covered bridge spans the Hoosic River, joining
Rensselaer and Washington
counties. For commerce and emergency services, it is important that a bridge be available at all
community around the bridge is served by the Buskirk Fire Department on the Rensselaer County
side. When the
covered bridge is reopened it will be rated for 12 tons. A new steel bridge will carry 25 tons,
support emergency vehicles.
[Our thanks to Dick Wilson for forwarding the news
clipping on which this
report is based. For a history of the Buskirk Bridge since the August 2002 closing see the two
on the VCBS website: www.vermontbridges.com/newspage.htm - Ed.]
Wind-toppled tree smashes roof of Forks Twin Span (WGN 38-19-10, 11)
Iowa's Delta Covered Bridge Arsoned (WGN 15-54-01)
By Susan Schwartz, Press Enterprise Writer
Forks, PA Nov.18, 2003 - A tree fell through the roof of one of the twin covered bridges
here during last
week's high winds. The bridge is the second of the two bridges, located farthest from Route 487
in Fishing Creek
Township in Columbia County. To read the copyrighted story go to
[According to the world guide the bridges serve PA 487 over the Huntington Creek. One of the
is 110 feet long using a burr truss, built in 1875. The other bridge is 79 feet long using a queen
built in 1850. Our thanks to Dick Wilson for alerting us to the story - Ed.]
September 5, 2003 - Sad news again. Just learned that the Delta Covered Bridge in
Keokuk County, Iowa was arsoned
on Wednesday night about 8:30 p.m. Ironically or perhaps intentionally, the bridge was arsoned
exactly to the day
that the Cedar Bridge was arsoned in Madison County a year earlier. For more info go to
You can view some photos of the burned bridge there.
Sincerely, Tomas E. Walczak
[The 76-foot Delta covered bridge was built in 1869 using a Burr truss to cross the North Skunk
River at Delta, Ia. - Ed.]
Hogback Bridge Fired (WGN 15-61-04)
September 7, 2003, Winterset, Iowa - A third historic covered bridge has been set on fire
by an arsonist.
The Hogback Bridge near Winterset in Madison
County was not severely damaged
thanks to a passer-by who saw smoke and threw water on the flames.
The fire was spotted at 5:45 p.m. Saturday. Sheriff's
Deputy Craig Dusch said
only about one square foot of the bridge was damaged. The Hogback Bridge is one of the famed
bridges featured in
Robert Waller's "The Bridges of Madison County."
It is the third wooden covered bridge in a year to be
set on fire. The Delta
covered bridge [15-54-01] near Delta in Keokuk County was destroyed in a fire last Thursday.
That fire was set by
an arsonist on the one-year anniversary of the fire that destroyed the Cedar Bridge in Madison
Officials in Keokuk and Madison counties said they
plan to meet this week
to compare the fires to see if there are connections. Details are at
[Thanks to Dick Wilson, Michael Chorazy, Janet Corby, and Gerald Arbour for forwarding the
article - Ed.]
Madison County Arson
On the front page of the Wall Street Journal (11/18/03) there is an article about the efforts of the
County Sheriff to catch the arsonist burning covered bridges in Madison County. Among other
things, he looked
up all marriages that took place at any covered bridge and then cross referenced these against
divorces. He then
interviewed all of the separated couples. So far, he has not found the guilty party(parties).
Tom Keating, 11/20/03
The Beausejour Bridge Taken Down (WGN 61-58-07)
November 10, 2003 - News from Amqui, Quebec: The Beausejour bridge, bypassed and
abandoned in the 70's
was removed from its abutments and stored in a field two years ago. The town of Amqui (many
miles away from
the bridge location) is planning to move the bridge to a park. A contract has been given to
dismantle and store
the bridge and the work has begun.
by Gerald Arbour Nov 10 2003
The chords have been cut at the floor level and trestle
in the middle. The bridge
has been loaded on two floats for the move to Amqui and storage. This is a bridge I do not see
anymore as "historic".
It is a shame to do such a job.
Sincerely, Gerald Arbour
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Interest in Bridges Yields Covered Bridge
I have always been interested in bridges growing up
first design exposure I had was in college in a strength of materials class. The task was to build
a truss out of raw sheet metal to hold 100 lbs. I chose a Parker truss to build and found all the
tension and compression members. From there I found all the loads on the members using the pin
method and then calculated the width of each member. The bridge went together well and held the
100 pounds fine. It was a very rewarding project.
Years later I started to notice covered bridges and
to myself how rewarding a job that must have been to the engineers, designers and builders at
the time. I built a post and beam model of a "x-truss" covered bridge just to have over the
mantle in my house. I feel it is a nice conversation piece. I then wondered if other people
would like to have a covered bridge. I decided instead of a model on a mantle, to have the
bridge functional for people. If it had a function, more people might find it more attractive.
I decided to model the mailbox bridge after actual bridges. I picked two styles to begin, the
Swift River bridge in Conway Village, New Hampshire and the Jackson Honeymoon Bridge in
New Hampshire. I picked these two because they share a lot of similarities: They both are
trusses and look very similar except for colors, end caps and side skins. I am a mechanical
by trade and always enjoyed working with wood. This project took a lot of research, skill and
|Swift River Bridge mailbox.|
Photo by Tim Turner, Nov. 2003
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by Trish Kane, Membership Coordinator
We are in the midst of the holidays and I don't know
you, but I'm certainly glad they are here. Although a wonderful time of year to spend time with
those we love, they are also very busy times. So busy, that we sometimes forget to renew
that come due at the end of the year. Memberships with the Vermont Covered Bridge Society end
December 31. Getting your memberships in on time saves your officers a lot of time and effort. If
you haven't already renewed your membership, please do so as soon as possible.
Please join me in welcoming the following new
our Society: Fred and Linda Spink, Harrisville, RI; Patrick and Carol Farmer, Montgomery
Center, VT; Charles and Evelyn Lovastik, Whitestone, NY; and Jacqueline Tremont, Averill
Park, NY. A warm welcome to each of you. A special thanks to Suzanne Richardson for
her membership from Individual to Life. And to Henry Sweeney of Sweeny Construction in West
Dover, VT for his new Life membership as well.
Exciting New Membership Renewal
Contests are always fun, especially when you stand a good chance of winning! The Vermont
Bridge Society is pleased to announce our new Membership Renewal Contest. It will be fun and
everyone in our membership is eligible to win some nice prizes. Here's how it works. Renew your
2004 membership with the Vermont Covered Bridge Society before February 15,
2004 and your name
will be placed in a drawing for one of four prizes listed below. If you have already renewed
your membership for 2004, that's terrific and your name will automatically be included in the
drawing. Please note that in order to qualify for the drawing, we must receive your
fee on or before February 15. So send in your renewal membership today before you forget.
names of our four lucky winners will be announced in the spring issue of the newsletter. Prizes
are as follows: Spanning Time, Vermont's Covered Bridges donated by Joe
Covered Bridges of Vermont donated by Ed Barna,
Covered Bridge gift basket items donated by Bob & Trish Kane, or a 1 year free membership
to the VCBS.
A Word of Thanks...The nominating committee would like to thank each of you who
returned your ballots
for election of officers for the 2004 term. It makes our jobs easier when information is returned
to us promptly. To date, 46 ballots have been returned. If you haven't returned your ballot yet,
please do so as soon as possible.
Happy Bridging to each of you.
Upcoming Birthdays and Anniversaries:
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and Marikka Guay
and Marjorie Converse
and Sue Miyamoto
Mr. & Mrs.
Hi All: We've had a good year and 2004 will be better
Our next event will be the Annual Directors
Meeting in the February/March time-frame.
will be planning new events and cleaning up old business.
See you next issue. Meanwhile, I wish you all happy
holidays and that all of your bridges are covered.
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Joe Nelson, P.O Box 267, Jericho, VT 05465-0267
This file coded by Steve Miyamoto
This file posted January 8, 2004