About the Jay Covered Bridge [NY-16-01]|
- A history collected from the archives of the
New York State Covered Bridge Society*
New York State Covered Bridge Society Courier - October 1997
What Happened At Jay
by Dick Wilson
|Two sections of the Jay Bridge stand in the park
across the River fron Jay, N.Y.|
by Dick Wilson, June 12, 1997
We have kept up on the Jay Covered Bridge in these pages. I am not going to go over all that
has happened those years, but what I have seen since May. Any views I talk about are mine only
and not the Covered Bridge Society's. Jeanette is also writing a story on our visit to Jay when it
was removed.Jay Covered Bridge Removed
On May 14th the Department of Transportation
closed the Jay Covered Bridge. We were told the Board of Supervisors were going to vote on the
fate of the bridge on May 27, 1997. Jeanette covers this meeting in her story. We were there and I
didn't like what I saw. The fate of such an important historical part of the Adirondacks should not
be left to a Board of Supervisors who know nothing about such things.
Think about the Adirondacks for a minute. We have
the Adirondack Park and Forever Wild. We have laws and regulations about what you can and
cannot do, yet we can't save the only covered bridge on a highway in this vast wild area.
On that day, the only decision should have been to put a temporary bridge next to the covered
bridge and then have the Gratons repair the covered bridge.
On June 12, 1997, we saw the last two sections of the
bridge lifted off the river. I watched while the saw cut through the old truss members in four
places. All these timbers are now destroyed and new ones have to be used. After the last two sec-
tions were set down, they were inspected. I heard some of the workers comment on the good
condition the bridge was in. The trouble spots were at the ends where they sat on the abutments.
The very heavy floor which was put in a few years ago was a very good thing to get rid of. There
it sat, in four sections, on two sides of the river. A VERY SAD SIGHT!
What happens now is anybody's guess. I would like to
thank Phyllis Wells of Platts burgh, New York, for keeping me up-todate with all the happenings
at Jay with pictures and clippings. Phyllis sent me some clippings in August that told about the
two sections on the Village side that have been moved to the park to join the other two sections.
We would have been there to see the move if we had known.
We now must go ahead, get the new highway bridge
built, then do whatever we can to see the Jay Covered Bridge is repaired and put back across the
river where it belongs.
by Jeanette Wilson
|One-half of the Jay
Bridge has been moved to the park.|
Photo by Dick Wilson,
June 12, 1997
Dick had been hearing from people in Jay, New York, for a long time about their covered
bridge being in trouble. The powers that be wanted to take down the covered bridge so that a new
bridge could be erected. Bridge and Beyond, a local group made to save the covered bridge,
hoped to save the bridge.
While we were on Safari in May, our daughter Ruth
was at our house. When we got home she had many phone calls because the bridge had been
closed. Dick called Fred Balzac when we got home and he said there would be a meeting of the
County Legislatures on May 27, 1997. We were up and on the road by 6:00 that morning headed
for Elizabethtown, New York. We made it for the 10:00 meeting. It was decided then to remove
the covered bridge on June 10, 11 and 12.
As we left the meeting, I looked over and saw Stanley
and Arnold Graton exiting the courthouse by a different door than we had used. Dick and I
quietly talked to them and Stanley told us he had the contract for removing the covered bridge. At
that point, Dick and I felt better about the removal because we knew if a Graton was doing it, it
would be done correctly. We didn't tell anyone else that day that we had seen the Gratons
The week of June 8th was going to be a very busy
one for us. Dick had a slide show to do at the Crandall Library in Glens Falls on the 11th. Dave
and Marikka Guay very graciously invited us to have supper at their house. They also had Dave's
mom and Dave and Carol Frantz. The lasagna was delicious. Dave and Marikka have three lovely
daughters. (Does this sound familiar?) We always enjoy seeing the collection of other people.
Dave has made himself a great covered bridge room. After supper we all went to the slide show at
the library. After, we went back to the Guay's for dessert. As an added treat, Marikka's Dad was
there from out west for a visit. It was very late when we got back to our camp.
|The third of four sections
of the Jay Bridge is moved.|
Photo by Dick Wilson, June 12,
The next day Dick and I left early for Jay, New York.
We got there in time to see the crane hook into the roof of the 3rd section of the covered bridge
to be taken off the river. On this day the two sections on the Town side were to be removed. They
were having trouble with the computer in the crane so they were not able to lift the sections to the
far side of the river. They were each lifted onto a yard near the bridge site.
We sat on the far side of the river on some nice big
boards. There was another man there who lives in the area. There were also two fishermen in the
river under where the two sections of bridge had already been removed. They dispelled the old
myth about not making any noise when around fishermen. They took quite a few fish out as the
crane was making a lot of noise.
The 1st section we saw lifted was the one that was
attached on to the approaches. They had a little trouble lifting this piece away from the road. They
started to lift and back down it went. They had to do some sawing and then were able to lift it.
Stanley was on the roof and hooked up the chains to the steel beams that had been put into the
top of the bridge at each end of each section of bridge. The chains were hooked onto the crane.
Stanley had no shirt on and later when we went over to the side where the sections had been put,
his wife and children were there watching. His daughter, who was asleep in her stroller, had her
shirt off just like Daddy. The 1st section was finally lifted off and set down near the river.
|Section three swings over the top of section four of the
Jay Covered Bridge.|
Photo by Jeanette Wilson, June 12,
We went around to the other side of the river to
watch the last section be removed. We had to get back to our camp as Dick had another slide
show to do that evening near Albany, New York. We were hoping the last section would be
removed while we were still there.
We got to the other side as Stanley was hooking up
the chains to the last section. As they started to lift this section, Dick finished a roll of film and
had to put a new roll in the camera. I was able to get pictures developed the next day. This
section was lifted off the river and had to be lifted over the 3rd section that was already on the
lawn. This was quite a thing to see a bridge lifted over a bridge! We left shortly after this section
was moved and headed south.
The two sections of the covered bridge were moved
over the river to join the 1st and 2nd sections in August when the Bailey bridge was installed over
the river. There the four sections will sit until it is decided when (or if) the bridge will ever be put
back over the river where it belongs.
This was a very sad picture-taking day for us. The Jay
Bridge was a beautiful bridge in a beautiful site. It was the only covered bridge in the Adirondack
Mountains. Will it ever be put back? We can all hope so.
[*This material has been posted with the permission and support of Dick Wilson, President,
NYSCBS - Ed.]