Return to index of newsletters Return to Index of Newsletters

vcbs newsletter masthead

The Vermont Covered Bridge Society Newsletter - Spring 2013

President's Column Letters
Events Library - Books
Arlington Green Postage Stamp For Sale
Happy 13th Birthday VCBS Important Notice
Poem: To A Covered Bridge Historical Committee
Covered Bridge Community Notes Membership Committee
Bridge Watch A Look Back
President's Logo

I want to remind everyone, members and friends, of the upcoming spring meeting which will be held in late April at the Bartonsville Grange Hall. Our speaker will talk about the loss of the Bartonsville Bridge during Tropical Storm Irene, and its subsequent replacement. The new bridge is open and in use, and there will be opportunity following the meeting to look at it, as well as the other bridges in the area damaged by the storm. Details of the meeting are found elsewhere in this issue of The Bridger. Let's have a good turnout for this meeting, which celebrates the reopening of Bartonsville Bridge, as well as the 13th birthday of VCBS.

Bill Carroll, President

* * *
Return to top Return to top
Events Logo

Vermont Covered Bridge Society Annual Spring Meeting
April 27, 2013
Bartonsville Grange
Upper Bartonsville Road
Bartonsville, VT
Map to Bartonsville, VT

The Grange is about 3 miles south east of Chester just off Hwy 103. From Chester, turn right at the Rockingham State Police Barracks on to Town Farm Road. From the south, turn left at the State Police Barracks about 1/2 mile north of the road to the Bartonsville Bridge. Continue to the "T" intersection and then turn left. The Grange will be ahead on the left. There is plenty of parking space available.

The speaker will be Susan Hammond who led the local citizen's advocacy group and who filmed the bridge as it was washed off its abutments. This film was carried by the international news media.

We will have the Grange Hall from 9 a.m. to Noon. The business meeting will begin at 10 a.m. The speaker is scheduled for 11 a.m.

Dining arrangements and bridge tours will be discussed at the meeting.

* * *
Second National Covered Bridge Conference
Crowne Plaza Dayton Hotel, Dayton, Ohio
June 5-8, 2013

The Federal Highway Administration's National Historic Covered Bridge Preservation Program (NHCBP) will be sponsoring the Second National Historic Covered Bridge Conference in Dayton, Ohio, June 5-8, 2013. Co-sponsored by the National Park Service's Historic American Engineering Record and the USDA Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory, this event will be held ten years after the First National Covered Bridge Conference in Burlington, Vermont.

The second national conference will follow up on several themes: reviewing several of the NHCBP funded research and rehabilitation projects, exploring best practices for rehabilitation, and revisiting the Burlington Charter for the Preservation of Covered Bridges. We will also discuss the continuing threats and challenges to covered bridges, most recently illustrated by the flooding in New England from tropical storms Irene and Lee in 2011. These natural disasters resulted in the loss of the Blenheim Bridge, a National Historic Landmark, and damage to several others.

The Dayton Conference will feature presentations from some of the leading covered bridge engineers, scholars, and builders from across the country. Held in downtown Dayton, with additional events at the historic Engineers Club of Dayton, participants will also have the opportunity to tour several nearby covered bridges and local historic sites, such as the National Museum of the US Air Force.

The conference will offer the opportunity for exchange between a diverse audience of civil engineers, public transportation officials, academics, trades people, historians, architects, and covered bridge enthusiasts. Proceedings of the event will be published online. More information will be made available on the conference website, www.woodcenter.org. Mark your calendar and plan to attend!

* * *
Return to top Return to top
Arlington Green Covered Bridge Stamp
WGN 45-02-01
Arlington Green covered bridge stamp

On January 25, 2013, the United States Postal Service issued a stamp featuring the Arlington Green Covered Bridge. The $5.60 stamp covers the postage for priority mail flat-rate envelopes.

* * *
Return to top Return to top
happy birthday Logo

by Joe Nelson

February 2, 2013 - Yes, we are 13 years old. It says so right here on our charter as a Vermont domestic non-profit corporation. A gold seal featuring two shocks of wheat, a tree, and a cow confirms it.

There have been days when, to me, it seemed so much longer ago than thirteen years, but today, our beginnings seem just like yesterday. Such plans we had! We helloed them in our first issue of our newsletter, The Bridger, in May 2000:


Cambridge, VT, May 31, 2000 - The Vermont Covered Bridge Society, Inc., incorporated on February 2, 2000, is now open for memberships. The Society was founded to address concerns about the loss of Vermont's historically significant wooden spans. We hope you will join us in preserving, exploring, and enjoying our unique collection of covered bridges.

The Society owes its existence to William McKone, resident of the Town of Cambridge, member of the newly organized Cambridge Historical Society, and member of the local Chamber of Commerce. Cambridge is the home of two covered bridges, one of which is badly in need of restoration. When federal funds for restoring covered bridges became available through U.S. Senator James Jeffords, Bill McKone set aside his other affairs to aggressively rally concerned people to found a covered bridge society in Vermont.

McKone first recruited Joe Nelson, author of the book "Spanning Time: Vermont's Covered Bridges". He then approached Ed Barna, author of the book "Covered Bridges of Vermont". Ed Barna joined the cause with enthusiasm. Senator Jeffords' staff used photographs from Joe Nelson's book in the Senator's presentation to the U.S. Senate for the adoption of his funding bill. After passage of the bill, Jeffords' staff consulted Ed Barna on which of Vermont's covered bridges were most in need of funds.

Bill McKone, Joe Nelson and Ed Barna thank Richard Wilson, David Wright, Richard Roy, Terry Shaw, and Douglass Porter for joining the VCBS Board of Directors. Dick Wilson is President of the New York Covered Bridge Society, David Wright and Dick Roy are President and Vice President of the National Society for the Preservation of Covered Bridges. These two organizations have long been watching Vermont's covered bridges with loving concern and the VCBS will gratefully benefit from their long experience with speaking and acting for the preservation of historic bridges. Terry Shaw is a concerned citizen and Cambridge businessman and Doug Porter, a new resident of Cambridge, is a consultant in the field of the preservation of historic architecture.

We made our plans at the first meeting of the VCBS board on April 13 in Jeffersonville with the four officers, three directors, and several guests present. The agenda dealt mainly with basic administrative and organizational matters. Specific actions included:

  1. The constitution and by-laws were roughed out.
  2. A key position, the chair of the "bridge-watch" areas, was filled by John Weaver, P.E. to coordinate the establishment of the areas and the recruitment of volunteers to take responsibility for bridges throughout the state.
  3. It was agreed that additional committees will be established for publicity, membership, planning, and budget.
  4. Specific tasks and the members who have agreed to undertake them until volunteers are found are as follows:
    • President Joe Nelson will handle production of "The Bridger" newsletter in addition to his numerous other duties.
    • Vice-President Ed Barna will oversee efforts at publicity, as well as recruit for the Brandon area bridge-watch group and explore the use of GPS mapping data.
    • Secretary Bill McKone will continue to handle membership applications and work on submission of our application for 501 (c)3 non-profit status.
    • Advisory Director Dick Wilson will act as correspondent for the Bennington area.
    • Director Terry Shaw is checking on an insurance policy for the VCBS and bulk mailing requirements.
    • And thanks to our first life member Ron Bechard for his assistance at the meeting with the tape recorder.

Ah, how rosy was the outlook! And the best part is, it has worked beautifully for the most part. We are still looking for volunteers. See the Important Notice column in this issue. More later.

* * *
Return to top Return to top
Poem: To A Covered Bridge
Iona Woods Patch

When the Vermont Covered Bridge Society was founded in February 2000, Iona Woods Patch joined and sent us the poem she wrote for her mother's birthday thirty-six years before.

Iona wrote: "Over the years (my mother) had taken snap shots of as many Vermont covered bridges as we had visited, and made scrap books for each county, containing news reports and photos."

"We children and grandchildren have continued her interests, and are delighted that at long last Vermont has a C.B. Society."

"My son, Jim Patch, made this computer copy of "To A Covered Bridge" which I am glad to have you use in any way in which it might benefit V.C.B.S. inc."

Yours Truly,
Iona Woods Patch
"Oh, Covered Bridge -
Lovely, romantic spot -
The stories you would tell
If only you could talk.

Of your builders -
Unassuming, honest men,
Whose century-old work still serves
A good job well-done.

You are a memorial -
Silent, sturdy, useful yet. -
To those who here dreamed and built
And to their craftsmanship.

You are History -
A quiet, peaceful path
For the onward march of progress
Across this great land,

You are a symbol
Of a way since gone;
But you still stand firm
and beckon us on.

Oh, Covered Bridge,
You do seem to speak today -
"Build well for those who follow,
that their crossing may be safe."

* * *
Return to top Return to top
Covered Bridge Community Notes Logo

Jon Bright #2 Covered Bridge Damaged
WGN 35-23-10

A fire was set about mid-span on the Jon Bright#2 covered bridge on the Ohio University campus in Lancaster, Ohio, shortly before 6 a.m. January 16th.

A passer-by tried to put the fire out before calling the fire department. Up to four joists and adjacent decking will need to be replaced. Initial estimates put the damage at about $20,000. The full cost won't be known until the bridge is inspected.

The 75-foot bridge was built in 1881 using an inverted Bowstring truss to span Poplar Creek near Carroll. It was relocated to the O.U. campus in 1988 where it serves as walkway during the Lancaster Festival. The bridge is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is closed to the public until further notice.

For the full story and photo, go to www.wkyc.com/news/ article/278447/3/Firedamages-historic-covered-bridge-on-OU-campus

[Thanks to Tom Keating for sending the story - Ed.]
* * *
Parr's Mill Bridge Repaired
WGN 38-19-29
Parr's Mill PA covered bridge
Photo by Carl McDaniel
February 2013

The Parr's Mill bridge in Columbia County, Pennsylvania has received new siding and repairs to the roof. The approach road was repaired and the steel pony truss adjacent to the bridge has been replaced.

* * *
Maxwell Crossing Bridge's Future Uncertain
WGN 55-03-04
Maxwell Crossing covered bridge - New Brunswick
Photo by Bill Caswell
July 5, 2012

On January 21st, a car crashed into the side of the Maxwell Crossing Covered Bridge near St. Stephen, New Brunswick, causing significant damage to the structure. A representative of the Department of Transportation has stated that the government is not that eager to restore the bridge. The solution, he stated, may be to install a modern bridge at $300,000, rather than repairing the covered bridge (a cost of perhaps $500,000) - some of which may come from the vehicle's insurance company. Anything less than full restoration is not acceptable to the rural residents.

On February 6th, the Local Service District of Dennis Weston, the local government in the area of the bridge, hosted a public meeting with representatives of the Department of Transportation. Residents expressed their desire to have the bridge repaired, not replaced. The LSD of Dennis Weston circulated a petition to "urge the Department of Transport to undertake any and all actions that will ensure the full restoration of the Maxwell Crossing covered bridge". The petition drive ended on February 21st with 831 valid signatures.

* * *
Bloomfield Creek Covered Bridge
WGN 55-06-01

Bloomfield, New Brunswick, March 1, 2013 - The Bloomfield Creek Covered Bridge in Kings County, New Brunswick, will be closed to traffic until further notice due to recent damage. The Department of Transportation and Infrastructure will be carrying out repairs to the bridge during the closure.

* * *
Green Sergeants Bridge Damaged
WGN 30-10-01
Green Sergeants covered bridge
Photo by Bill Caswell
May 14, 2012

Delaware Twp., NJ, February 24, 2013 - A Canadian truck driver damaged the inside of New Jersey's last surviving covered bridge on Sunday, Feb. 24, at about 11:45 p.m., police said.

Michel Gauthier, 47, of St. Paul-de-L'Ile-aux-Noix, Quebec, drove his Freightliner through the bridge, knocking loose an interior support beam. Gauthier was charged with careless driving. The county was notified of the damage, but township police said the bridge was open to traffic.

[Hunterdon County Democrat, February 26, 2013]
* * *
Cabin Creek Bridge Work Begun
WGN 17-68-03
Cabin Creek covered bridge - New Brunswick
Photo by Bill Caswell
Novenber 5, 2011

Arnold Graton has begun the restoration on the Cabin Creek Bridge in Lewis County, Kentucky. The bridge was originally built in 1873 by William Henderson as a 114-foot, single span, multiple kings post bridge, according to Patrick Kennedy, preservation officer in the Kentucky Heritage Council. It was closed in 1983 to foot and vehicle traffic, due to storm damage. It fell into disrepair after flood waters damaged more of the bridge. They have a year and a half to complete the work, but do not expect it to take that long.

* * *
Return to top Return to top
bridge watch logo

By John Weaver
Bridge-Watch Coordinator

Bartonsville Bridge Opens
WGN 45-13-11#2

Considering what weather could be like in January, it was a beautiful day for the ceremony. Sunny, calm and an invigorating 13 degrees. About 200 people attended the event.

Governor Shumlin and Rep. Welch both noted the event as a fine example of Vermonter's pulling together during times of tragedy to do what needs to be done. The large number of vehicles parked along Lower Bartonsville Road bearing "Vermont Strong" license plates was evidence that the attendees shared that thought.

After the speeches thanking everyone for their roles in getting the new bridge funded and constructed, they cut the ribbon. The crowd walked through the bridge checking out the new construction. After having our chance to look it over, it was opened to traffic. Susan Hammond was the first person to drive through.

Governor Shumlin stayed long after the ceremony ended to visit with the attendees.

The new Bartonsville covered bridge
Gov Shumlin & Rep. Peter Welch at Bartonsville CB opening
* * *

Taftsville Covered Bridge Progress
WGN 45-14-12

We set the pier stonework off a week to let the temperature get back up away from the deep freeze. Timbers in the pier area are being fitted and set aside until grouting and anchors are complete. The roof is coming off span two now and post replacement/top chords will follow. They're not having us replace much.

West abutment excavation is complete down to bedrock and formwork for the new concrete structure is starting. We've left the sub-deck off temporarily to give ourselves better access to install all the new steel plates when they come in at the end of the month.

Jim Ligon
  Alpine Construction Field Supervisor

Taftsville CB 2005
Taftsville Covered Bridge
Photo by Tom Keating
September 2005
Taftsville CB 2013
Taftsville Covered Bridge
Photo by Bill Caswell
February 18, 2012
* * *
Quinlan Covered Bridge Repairs
WGN 45-04-03
Quilan CB 2009
Quinlan Covered Bridge
Photo by Bill Caswell
September 18, 2009

The Quinlan covered bridge in Charlotte will be closed to traffic from the first week in March until late July, said Vermont Agency of Transportation project manager Mark Sargent. Deteriorating timber trusses and wear on the joints of the arch-truss system have concerned town officials for several years about the ability of town plow and sand trucks to continue to use the bridge. The bridge was built in 1849 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. When steel floor girders were added in 1985, the bridge was strengthened enough to allow school buses weighing 17 tons and infrequent fire trucks at 24 tons to use the span. But continued crossings by heavier town maintenance trucks could damage the bridge's structural integrity. Wright Construction is the contractor.

* * *
Poland Covered Bridge Closed
WGN 45-08-02
Poland CB closed for repairs Jan 2013
Photo by Harold Stiver
January 2013

The Poland Covered Bridge in Cambridge (WGN 45-08-02) has been closed to vehicle traffic while repairs are being made.

* * *

Return to top Return to top
Letters Logo
Covered Bridge Speaker Wanted:
Civil War Era

February 5, 2013

Thanks to all of you for the work you are doing with the VCBS. My energy these days is going toward commemoration of the sesquicentennial of the War of the Rebellion, commonly called the American Civil War, the War between the States, or in Texas, where I come from, the war of northern aggression or the late unpleasantness.

Bridges were an important feature of that conflict and I'd like to find a volunteer from the ranks of the VCBS to speak on that subject. In my research, I came across official field instructions for raiding Union cavalry units how to destroy a covered bridge most efficiently since they seem to withstand most efforts. Burning was an option when the weather and time permitted, but the troopers were apparently issued special charges to be placed in key points in the truss to bring down the bridge all at once.

It would be an interesting lecture and I can provide multiple opportunities to present it with the attendant exposure for the VCBS, chance to recruit, get donations, etc.

The plans for a prototype trail-head facility for the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail project centered on the Cambridge Junction covered bridge (now closed to motor vehicle traffic) are well under way and I'll provide an article for the Bridger over the next few months.

Bill McKone
* * *
Covered Bridge Photo Contest Opportunity

Dear Covered Bridge Enthusiast:

November 29, 2012

I would like to make you aware of the following opportunity. In conjunction with the 2013 International Bridge Conference® and our annual magazine publication, we are conducting a photo contest this year centered around "the 20 most beautiful covered bridges". From entries submitted nationally, we will select the most beautiful covered bridges and feature them in our conference magazine and showcase them at our conference (June 2 - 6), which typically draws attendance in the range of 1,500 persons from around the world.

Please forward this request for photo entries to members of your society and encourage them to enter our contest. The entry requirements and deadlines are contained in the following web link: www.eswp.com/bridge/PhotoContest.html.

All winners will receive a courtesy copy of the magazine. If you have any questions please let me know.

Thank you,
  Cori Stellfox
  Conference Manager
  Engineers' Society of Western Pennsylvania
  337 Fourth Avenue
  Pittsburgh, PA 15222
  Phone: 412-261-0710 ext. 11
  Fax: 412-261-1606
  E-mail: c.stellfox.com

* * *
Return to top Return to top
Book Logo

VCBS Lending Library: a Learning/Research Source

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 book list complete with a description and critique of each book. Copies of the index are available by mail, or you may contact Joe Nelson for an electronic copy at jcnelson@together.net.

A borrower can contact Warren Tripp who will send the book by Postal Service Media Mail. Books are returned the same way.

Send Warren the complete title of the book(s) you wish to borrow. He will respond with the mailing cost and mail the order when the fee is received. The borrower is then responsible to return the item(s) in a reasonable time, preferably not more than two months.

Contact Warren Tripp, P. O. Box 236, Groton, VT 05046, fftwbt@yahoo.com, Phone (802) 584-3545.

* * *
Return to top Return to top

Spanning Time: Vermont's Covered Bridges by Joseph C. Nelson

Spanning Time: Vermont's Covered Bridges features 102 color photographs of Vermont's covered bridges in fifteen chapters, each a guided tour. The tours are complete with maps, commentary on the uniqueness of each bridge, and historic highlights about the towns and villages in which the bridges stand.

An appendix provides: A Summary of Vermont's Covered Bridges, listing information on each; A Covered Bridge Glossary, describing the details of a covered bridge; A Bridge Truss section, explaining how trusses work with drawings of the trusses used in Vermont; The Bridge Builders, providing thumbnail biographies of people who designed and built the bridges; A Covered Bridge Reading List, for bridge and history buffs; A detailed Index. Spanning Time: Vermont's Covered Bridges: 7" x 10", 288 pages. Published by New England Press at P.O. Box 575, Shelburne, VT 05482. Spanning Time is available directly from the author for $39.00, free shipping. (Vermont residents add 6% sales tax)

Go to Spanning Time: Vermont's Covered Bridges Special Book Offer
Also see: www.vermontbridges.com/bookreviews.htm.

* * *

World Guide to Covered Bridges - 2009 Edition
Published by the National Society for the Preservation of Covered Bridges
. On Sale: $15.00. Profits will go to the Vermont Covered Bridge Society's Save-A-Bridge Program. For your copy send $15.00 plus $4.95 shipping to Joe Nelson, P.O. Box 267, Jericho, VT 05465-0267. (Vermont residents add 6% sales tax).

* * *

Covered Bridges of New England - DVD
Produced by Ocean State Video of Rhode Island for Public Television.
On Sale: $20.00. Profits will go to the Vermont covered Bridge Society's Save-A-Bridge Program. For your copy send $20.00 plus $1.88 shipping to Joe Nelson, P.O. Box 267, Jericho, VT 05465-0267. (Vermont residents add 6% sales tax).

* * *

Connecticut and Rhode Island Covered Bridges
During their heyday in the mid to late 1800's, more than 150 covered bridges dotted the landscape of Connecticut and Rhode Island. Since that time, floods, fires, and progress have claimed all but two of the historic structures. With over 200 images, this book provides insight into the covered bridge history of an area that has not been well documented in the past.

To order your signed copy, send $25.00 to:

Bill Caswell
535 Second NH Turnpike
Hillsboro, NH 03244.
* * *

New York State Covered Bridge Driving Tour Now Available! - Would you like to see all of New York State's Covered Bridges at your leisure in the comfort of your own vehicle? Well now you can! The New York State Covered Bridge Driving Tour is a spiral bound, full color tour which includes turn by turn directions and color photographs of each of New York's authentic and historic covered bridges. Included are the statistics on each bridge and an interesting history of the bridge and the surrounding town, and old postcards of how the bridges looked during an earlier time.

To obtain a copy of the tour, contact:

Bob and Trish Kane
167 Williams Rd.
Sherburne, NY 13460
Email: bob-trish68@frontiernet.net
* * *
Vermont Magazine notecard set

Vermont Magazine Covered Bridge Notecard Sets
The work of Vermont artist Don Martin is shown in an 8 card set featuring 2 cards each of 4 different covered bridges. The cost is $9.95 for a packet of 8 cards with envelopes, plus $5.00 shipping. Add $1.00 shipping for each additional packet. (Cards measure 4.5"x 6"). Visit the Vermont magazine online store at www.vermontmagazine.com.

* * *
Covered Bridge poster for sale

Covered Bridges of Vermont Print - The Covered Bridges of Vermont features 19 photographs of covered bridges taken throughout the state by photographer, and VCBS member, Ray Arsenault. The print is beautifully printed on professional high quality 100lb paper, and measures 18" x 26.5". Order now at: www.coveredbridgesofvermont.com.

* * *
Return to top Return to top
Notice Logo

  • Wanted: Reporter/correspondents to bring local covered bridge news to The Bridger.
  • Wanted: a VCBS member to share the duties of the webmaster of www.vermontbridges.com.
  • Wanted: Volunteer to take charge of Covered Bridge Market Place.

For more information or to sign up for any of these three positions, please contact Joe Nelson, Communication Committee Chair, jcnelson@together.net or Bill Carroll, wcarroll@crocker.com

* * *
  • Wanted: Volunteer worker-bees are needed by the Events Committee to help set up meetings and assist in hosting them.
  • Wanted: Volunteer to serve as membership coordinator assisting Membership Committee Chair. The Membership coordinator needs not be a resident of Vermont. The Coordinator will maintain the membership roster and serve as contact for the membership

For more information or to sign up for any of these two positions, please contact Bill Carroll, wcarroll@crocker.com

* * *
  • Also Wanted: Vermont Covered Bridge clippings from your local newspaper. Please send them to Joe Nelson, jcnelson@together.net, or to P.O. Box 267, Jericho, VT 05465
* * *
Return to top Return to top
Historical Committee Logo

By William Carroll
Historical Committee Chair

Received for our archives are a number of articles and prints relating to covered bridges in Vermont as well as in other northeastern states and Canada. These are still to be sorted and preserved (mostly by good quality photocopies on acid-free paper) and will be added to our archives collections.

Our archives collection not only include a collection for each covered bridge in Vermont, but also a collection for each other state which has covered bridges.

We are always looking for any articles about covered bridges, primarily in Vermont but anywhere. Thanks to Joe Nelson for forwarding these.

Greenbanks Hollow Bridge
WGN 45-03-01 (#2)

The section of Danville known as Greenbanks Hollow, or sometimes as South Danville, is many miles by gravel road from the nearest paved highway. The area is largely woods and fields, and except for a single dwelling, is far from any neighbors. Years ago, though, this was a busy village, with several homes, store and post office, a grist mill and likely a sawmill, and a 5-story woolen mill that employed 45 people, most of whom lived in the village of Greenbanks Hollow.

The South Danville area was settled by the Greenbanks family, probably earlier in the 1800's although possibly in the late 1700's, as the grist mill is said to date from 1793. In any event the Greenbanks family developed the village and built the woolen mill and other structures. Although the village itself was apparently called South Danville, the post office took the name Greenbanks Hollow.

A major fire occurred in 1885, which burnt down the woolen mill and the entire village, including the bridge over Joe's Brook at South Danville. Nothing in the VCBS Archives suggests what this bridge was or even if it was covered. The new bridge was built in 1886, 75 feet long with a Queenpost truss. In appearance, the bridge was very similar to some of the covered bridges in Lyndon, and if not built by the same builder, at least influenced by their design. By the 1970's the bridge was failing, and was nursed along with steel beams supporting the truss and an auxiliary pier in the center.

In 2000, the Town of Danville received grant money to rebuild the bridge. This was completed in 2002. Because so many elements of the 1885 bridge were damaged and could not be used in the rebuilding, the present Greenbanks Hollow Bridge is considered a new bridge, dating from 2002.

Sources: Archives of the Vermont Covered Bridge Society, especially articles published in the North Star Monthly, September 2001.
* * *
Return to top Return to top
Membership Logo

Membership Committee Chair
Sue Daniels

Please join me in welcoming new members to our group: Eduard and Judy Lowe of Assonet, MA, a warm welcome to you!

And now, our Early Renewal Drawing. Many thanks to each of you who mailed your membership dues on time. As in years past, Ruth Nelson's first grade reading group at the Jericho Elementary school drew the winners. (The little rascals have fun doing it.)

Here are the prizes for this year's contest: A two year free membership to the VCBS or a signed copy of Spanning Time, Vermont's Covered Bridges by Joe Nelson, or the cost of the book to the VCBS ($30). The winners are:

Robert McPherson of Akron, Ohio, and Robert Page of Brattleboro, Vermont.

Congratulations and thank you for your membership.

Membership Birthdays and Anniversaries

2 John Billie Gordon O'Reilly
4 Sarah Ann Gallagher
8 Neil Daniels
12 Priscilla Farnham
16 Bruce Laumeister
21 Thomas & Lisette Keating
23 Steve Miyamoto
24 Adrienne Hitchcock
13 Gary Krick
22 Anthony Daniels
3 William Carroll Thomas Keating
4 Sarah Ann Gallagher
6 Debbie Whiston
9 Erwin Eckson
10 Charles Lovastik
11 Steve Wheaton
12 James Crouse
15 Andy Behrens
17 Ron Bechard
19 Mary Ann Waller
22 Irene Barna Lisette Keating
27 June Gendron
28 Bill McKone

* * *
Return to top Return to top
A Look Back Logo

Cheshire Toll Bridge

Compiled by Bill Caswell from research done by Bunni and Hugh Putnam of Springfield, VT, and the late Richard Sanders Allen.

Cheshire Toll Bridge with log drive

The photo below from Dick Roy's collection shows a log drive at the Cheshire Toll Bridge which crossed the Connecticut River between Springfield, Vermont, and Charlestown, New Hampshire.

The exact history of the wooden bridges between Springfield and Charlestown is not clear but there were many repairs to be sure. In 1804, incorporation of the Cheshire Bridge Company (named for Cheshire County, NH) was recorded in the land records in Keene with a total investment of $1,350. This money was paid to John Putnam of Springfield (formerly of Charlestown) who owned the ferry rights originally granted by the Governor of New Hampshire to Simeon Olcott. The grant ran one mile north of the mouth of the Black River to four miles south along the Connecticut River.

Isaac Fisher, a millwright and one of the investors from Charlestown, is credited with building the first bridge. It was completed on October 10, 1806 although one source notes it as a 3-span, Town lattice truss bridge, this is not possible since the Town lattice had not been developed until 1820. It is not clear where the funds to build the bridge came from but, like most of the bridges across the Connecticut, it was a toll bridge.

The Sullivan Mercury, 1831, tells of the western part of the bridge unexpectedly going out at 9:30 pm on March 24, "...the river appeared to be nearly clear of ice at sunset...and the water rather lower than usual at this time of year" [probably an ice jam upstream]. During the repairs the bridge proprietors launched a ferry a few rods upstream so passengers could continue to cross the river. The 1832 records in Charlestown list $10,000 for supplies for the bridge repairs.

There are many stories of various bridges, or parts thereof, going out in 1824, 1839 and 1841. The 1839 bridge was more likely the Charlestown Bridge at South Charlestown that was built in 1828 and washed out in 1839 [Martha Frizzell, The Second History of Charlestown, NH, page 128]. Richard Sanders Allen's research indicated that the first covered span at this location was built in 1827 by Isaac Damon of Northampton, Massachusetts. Six years later, in 1833, Damon returned to build a replacement bridge.

In either 1859 or 1862, a freshet carried out the eastern two-thirds of the Cheshire bridge. [MF page 126] It was probably 1859 because in 1860 the bridge was only valued at $1,000 for tax purposes. The Springfield Electric Railway Company bought the old wooden bridge and ferry rights for $8,400 in 1896. Because of weight of the new train and its cargo the bridge was replaced and, in 1897, the first train crossed the new iron bridge.

Cheshire Toll Bridge under repair

The photo below, also from Dick Roy's collection, was probably taken shortly before the bridge was replaced. Note the extra supports added to carry rail traffic and metal span on the eastern end of the bridge.

* * *
Return to top Return to top
Joe Nelson, P.O Box 267, Jericho, VT 05465-0267 This file posted 12/11/2013

Valid HTML 4.01 Transitional