Back to News Notes

Covered Bridge Community News Notes - 2002

3rd Annual SummerFest July 25, 26
Whose Bridge Is It?
Knapp's Bridge - First Winter - March 12, 2003
A Covered Bridge Burning to be Celebrated
Pennsylvania's Knapp Bridge Open
Car Breaks Through Side of Sayres Covered Bridge
St. Michael's Online Magazine Explores Covered Bridges
Fire Damages Wilson Mill Bridge Again
News From Northeast Kingdom Bridge-watch
Two More Charged in Ryot Bridge Fire
A special cancellation highlights Athelstan's CB
Capelton Bridge Destroyed By Fire.
Tennessee's Bible/Chucky Bridge Survives Fire
Cedar Bridge Arsoned
New York's Buskirk Bridge Closed
Salisbury Center Bridge Gets Federal Grant
Bog - Cilleyville Bridge to be Rehabilitated

3rd Annual SummerFest July 25, 26

       The memberships of the VCBS and the NSPCB have been invited to participate in the Third Annual SummerFest at Troy, Vermont. The event will take place on the grounds of the Riverbend Bed & Breakfast off Route 100 next to the Missisquoi River one-half mile north of Westfield, or one mile south of Troy.
SummerFest 2002. Photo by Joe Nelson, 8/10/02
Ruth Nelson enjoying SummerFest II in North Troy
Photo by Joe Nelson 8/10/02
       On Saturday, July 26, beginning 10 a.m., we are invited to help celebrate the Town of Troy's Bicentennial with a family day including hay rides, horse rides, games for the kids, exhibits by local historical societies, the Vermont Covered Bridge Society, and the National Society for the Preservation of Covered Bridges, great food and more.
       The VCBS was represented by Joe and Ruth Nelson at SummerFest II last August and a fun time was had by all concerned. "Going to Troy was a lot of fun and we met some interesting people from several states," said Joe Nelson. "Many people stopped by our booth and enjoyed the covered bridge pictures and postcards. Many walked away with an application and the knowledge that the VCBS exists, and what its purpose is."
       Also, on Friday, July 25, 7:30 p.m. The event will present the group "Atlantic Crossing" from Vergennes, under the big tent. Hamburgers, hotdogs, desserts, and maple treats will be available beginning at 6 p.m.
       The Covered Bridge booth was set up on a three-by- eight table under a tent with the local historical societies. Joe and Ruth plan to attend again. Anyone who wants to join in the fun, call Joe Nelson on (802) 899-2093 or email
       For more details go to

Return to table of contents

Whose Bridge Is It?

"For Vacation Fun," reads ad. "We've got you covered. Covered Bridges and riverboat rides . . . " the ad continues. But wait! The Bridge depicted in the full color ad looks familiar!
       The bridge in the Kentucky Tourism ad, according to Lorna Calquhoun, Manchester Union Leader correspondent, was identified by Richard Hamilton, president of White Mountain Attractions, as the Albany Bridge near Conway, New Hampshire.
       Jayne McClew, director of media relations for the Kentucky Department of Travel insisted, on the contrary, it is the Goddard White Bridge in Fleming County, Kentucky!
       Apparently the photo used in the Kentucky Travel ad was a stock photo taken from a CD. "I was so adamant that it was our bridge until I looked at the right picture," McClew said, conceding that the photo was indeed of New Hampshire's Albany Bridge.
       The Albany Covered Bridge (WGN 29-02-06) crosses the Swift River adjacent to the Kancamagus Highway at Covered Bridge Campground near Conway, NH. The 120-foot span was built in 1858 using the Paddleford truss.
       The Goddard-White Bridge (WGN 17-35-06) crosses the Sandlick Creek at Goddard, KY. The 67-foot span is the only bridge using the Town truss bridge surviving in Kentucky's Fleming County. Fleming County is home to eight of the State's 13 covered bridges. For more on Kentucky's bridges see
       To keep the Kentucky Department of Travel on the straight and narrow, check out

Goddard-White Bridge. Photo by Elmer Jackson Albany Bridge. Photo by Dick Roy
Goddard-White Bridge. Photo by Elmer Jackson
N.S.P.C.B. Archives
Albany Bridge. Photo by Dick Roy
N.S.P.C.B. Archives
[Our thanks to Dick Roy of the National Society for the Preservation of Covered Bridges for clippings from the Manchester Union Leader - Ed.]

Return to table of contents

Knapp's Bridge - First Winter

March 12, 2003 -
Dear Joe,
       We were down to Knapp's bridge on Feb. 21, 2003. In some ways we were disappointed in what we found. The thing that bothered me most was the standing water that was at each entrance to the bridge and flowing into it.
       Chuck & Nancy Knapp, Elmira, NY
Knapp's Bridge. Photo by Chuck & Nancy Knapp, March 21, 2003 Knapp's Bridge. Photo by Chuck & Nancy Knapp, March 21, 2003
Knapp's Bridge. Photo by Chuck & Nancy Knapp, March 21, 2003 Knapp's Bridge. Photo by Chuck & Nancy Knapp, March 21, 2003

Return to table of contents

A Covered Bridge Burning to be Celebrated

York, Pa. - The plan is to set a line of 25 fires across the Susquehanna River on the evening of June 28 to commemorate the burning of the Susquehanna River Bridge 140 years ago.        In 1863 Confederate General John B. Gordon led his brigade here after the capture of York Pennsylvania. Meanwhile, to the west, General Lee was leading the Army of Northern Virginia to Gettysburg.
       Union troops retreated across the bridge and attempted to blow up one of the spans to stop the advance of the Confederates, but the bridge caught fire.
       Today, all that remains of the old bridge is a row of vacant piers standing next to the Columbia-Wrightsville Bridge on Route 462. The plan is to place grills and firewood on top of the piers. The Rivertownes Development Committee, which is planing the event, is looking for volunteers to set up the grills in advance of the event, and then to set the fires. A civil war encampment is also planned.
[From the York Daily Record, by January 18, 2003. Contributed by Bonnie Shultz - Ed.]

Return to table of contents

Pennsylvania's Knapp Bridge Open
Chuck and Nancy Knapp report that the Knapp Covered Bridge is open to traffic. The dedication is to be held in the spring, date not yet set. When more information is available the Knapps will let us know, they said.
       For more on the Knapp Bridge go to bridger.winter02.htm#item12

Return to table of contents

Car Breaks Through Side of Sayres Covered Bridge
Thetford, Vt. 11-26-02 - Monday morning a car went through the side of the Sayres Bridge when the driver lost control. The vehicle landed in the water upside down, submerging the occupants, two 11-year-old boys and a woman, in the Oompompanusuc River.
Sayres Bridge. Photo by Joe Nelson December 13, 2002
A car went though the upstream side of the Sayres Bridge, hung momentarily, and dropped into the Oompompanusuc upside down.
Photo by Joe Nelson 12/13/02
       The boys got out of the car alright, but the woman, tangled in her seatbelt, was extracted by two passers by and successfully resuscitated on the upturned bottom of the car.
       The driver blamed new "treadways" ( running planks) for the accident. The town had recently widened the treadways and added asphalt ramps at the bridge portals to allow cars to enter the bridge smoothly.
       Another driver had complained that she had lost control in the bridge a week earlier, complaining that the ramps were too high. Residents say that the bridge was not considered dangerous prior to the change in the treadways.
       The driver of the car that entered the river claimed that she had not been speeding. Her rescuers, who were driving behind her, verified her claim.
       For details on this story, go to the Valley News website,, and check out news posted on 11/27 and 11/28.

Return to table of contents

St. Michael's Online Magazine, the ECHO, Explores Covered Bridges
       Three St. Michael's College Juniors took on a special project writing about the covered bridges of Vermont for the ECHO, the college's on-line magazine. The magazine serves the campus and the surrounding community.
       On Saturday, November 9, Michael O'Brien, Nathan Formalarie, and Zachary Cook "took a road trip acquiring footage of bridges in Tunbridge, Waitsfield, and some other areas around north central VT." They also did their homework, interviewing John Weaver, Vermont Covered Bridge Society vice president, and by e-mail, Joe Nelson, author of Spanning Time, Vermont's Covered Bridges. They recorded their experiences in their own unique way.
       Says Michael O'Brien ( "We are proud of our finished product. . . . It was tough because we only got to cover a small portion of the state, and we could have had much more info., but our goal was to focus on the technology and make the site mainly visual. We did the best we could condensing the info. We have, in the end, gained a great appreciation for covered bridges and rural Vermont."

To view the ECHO Magazine article, go to the Link Page on this website.

Return to table of contents

WEST MIDDLETOWN, OH - October 9 - Volunteer firefighters from West Middletown Borough,Avella, Slovan and Mt. Pleasant Township doused a rekindled fire at Wilson Mill Covered Bridge.
       For the second time in two weeks, emergency personnel responded to a blaze at the bridge.
       Washington County 911 said a passing motorist called from a cell phone at 6:36 a.m. to report the flames. The county plans to reconstruct the bridge in early spring and will be applying for state funds because the bridge is a historic structure.

[This article forwarded by J. Soroka and R. Wilson, news source undisclosed - Ed.]

Return to table of contents

We have today completed a $16,000 FEMA funded repair on the west abutment of the Randall Bridge. The work was done by Aquateck from Maine. Engineering studies are being prepared to complete the abutment work next summer. The Lyndon Historical Society has contributed 10 percent of the cost and will contribute again next summer when the entire work is complete. The Society expects to be able to replace the roof on the Randall Bridge with funding from the Freeman Foundation through the Preservation Trust of Vermont.
       The Chamberlin Mill Bridge on the South Branch of the Passumpsic received a new steel roof this summer as a part of the roof replacement program of VTrans.
       We are still looking for ways to do abutment work on the Sanborn Bridge damaged during the spring flood. This is of course privately owned although Mr. Elliott [owner of the Lynburke Motel and the Sanborn Bridge] may be interested in selling or giving the bridge to improve the situation. He certainly doesn't want to spend money on the bridge since he is still accounting for motel damages from the [spring] flood.
             - Jim and Mary Fearon at Cattail Corners

Return to table of contents

Two additional arrests were made Tuesday evening for the Aug. fire that destroyed a historical covered bridge in Bedford Co.
       State police said Joshua Bartholomew, 19 of Schellsburgh and a 16 year-old of Lancaster, PA. were each charged Tues. with arson, conspiracy, burglary, theft and causing or risking a catastrophe.
       The 16 yr. old was taken to the Cambria County Juvenile Detention Home to await his hearing in Bedford Co. Juvenile court. Bartholomew was placed in Bedford Co. prison in lieu of $100,000 straight bond. He must pay the entire $100,000 before being released. . . . . Commissioners have vowed to rebuild the historic bridge, despite a cost of about $300,000.
       Police charged that the trio stole a container of gasoline from a shed Aug. 14 and drove around looking for something to burn. Bartholomew and the 16 yr. old poured the galoline on the bridge, and Sanders lit the fire police said.
       In another related item in the Altoona Mirror dated 9/28/02, Kauffman Metals Inc. and Beford Materials, have agreed to donate materials to help rebuild the Ryot covered bridge. Kauffman Metals will provide the roofing, and Bedford Materials will donate the decking.

[This article forwarded by David Guay via Judy Guidara. It appeared in the Altoona Mirror 9/25/02. - Ed.]

Return to table of contents

A special cancellation highlighting Athelstan's covered bridge!
October 1, 2002

Montreal -- Did you know that the Powerscourt bridge in Athelstan, Quebec, rebuilt in 1861 is Canada's oldest covered bridge? To immortalize this precious gem of our heritage, Canada Post issued a special cancellation based on a drawing provided by the Quebec Covered Bridges Society.

Anyone interested in a copy of the special cancellation can bring their envelopes to be canceled to Athelstan Postal Outlet at the following address:

D.N. Racine Postal Outlet, 2899 de la Rivière Road, Athelstan Qc J0S 1A0

The postal outlet is open from Monday to Friday, 8 :00 AM to 5 :30 PM and on Saturdays, 8 :00 AM to 4 :00 PM (on Saturdays, between December and April, from 8 :00 AM to noon). You can also get copy of the cancellation by writing to the above-mentioned address.

How to proceed by mail:
       Place a stamp on each envelope you would like to keep as a souvenir;
       Write the addressee's address on each envelope;
       Include a self-addressed stamped envelope so Canada Post can return your envelopes bearing the special cancellation;
       Place your stamped envelopes and your return envelope in another envelope bearing the proper postage and mail it to Athelstan's postal outlet at the above-mentioned address.

The personnel at the counter will be pleased to place the special cancellation on your stamped envelopes before returning them to you in the return envelope you will have enclosed to this end.

For all questions on Athelstan's covered bridge, please visit the Web site of the Quebec Covered Bridges Society at

For information: Johanne Hallé, Communications, Montreal, (514) 345-4573 or

[U.S. residents should check with their local post office for cross border postal rates. Our thanks to Gerald Arbour and David Guay for forwarding this article. Ed.]

Return to table of contents

The Capelton Bridge [61-67-02] Destroyed By Fire.
Caperton Bridge. Photo by Andréé Cloutier 9/20/02
The Caperton Bridge
Photo by Andréé Cloutier Sept.20, 2002.
September 19, Sherbrooke County, Quebec - A suspicious overnight fire destroyed the Capelton Covered Bridge near lennoxville.
      The 114-foot bridge, built in 1862, spanned the Massawippi River using a Town truss augmented by a queenpost truss.
       A meeting of the town council had been scheduled to approve a $60,000 project to repair the bridge. (This article is compiled from email from Géérald Arbour, David Guay, Dick Wilson, and Dick Roy - Ed.)

Return to table of contents

Tennessee's Bible/Chucky Bridge Survives Fire
Sept. 24, Green County, TN - The Bible Covered Bridge, [WGN 42-30-01] the only remaining covered bridge in Greene County, is a well-known local landmark.
       According to a report filed the next day by Sheriff's Deputy Wesley Holt, two men returning from a late-night fishing trip discovered the fire at about 4 a.m. on Aug. 9 as they were driving along the Warrensburg Road.
Bible/Chucky Bridge. Photo:© 2001, DCF Engineering, Inc.
The Bible/Chucky Bridge [42-30-01]
Photo:© 2001, DCF Engineering, Inc.
       Holt's report states that Travis Seay of Hightop Road and Riley Cutshall of Midway Road told him they "saw sparks" coming from the wooden bridge at the intersection of Warrensburg Road and Denver Bible Lane, 12 miles south of Greeneville.
       Seay reportedly drove to the Midway Market and called 9-1-1 to report the fire. The Orebank Volunteer Fire Department and sheriff's deputies responded.
       After calling in the alarm, Seay and Cutshall reportedly returned to the bridge and fought the fire with blankets until firefighters arrived.
       The fire reportedly had been set in four different spots on the bridge. In addition, investigators found at the fire scene two paint-thinner cans, a soft-drink bottle that smelled of kerosene and a shirt that "had been soaked in an accelerant."
       A spokesman for the Orebank VFD estimated damage to the bridge at about $1,000 but said none of the wood had been burned through.
       Holt's report stated that the floor of the bridge was damaged but did not offer a damage estimate.
       A $1,500 reward was offered for information leading to the arrest of those responsible for the bridge fire. The Glenwood Ruritan Club, the Greene County Heritage Trust and Ross Hogan Roofing each pledged $500.
(This report forwarded by Janet Corby, David Guay, and Dick Wilson. The photo appeared in the NSPCB Fall 2001 Newsletter which appears on this web site.)

Return to table of contents

Cedar Bridge Arsoned [WGN 15-61-03]
Winterset, Ia. - The Cedar Bridge, made famous in "The Bridges of Madison County," was destroyed by fire Tuesday, September 3, 2002. The state fire marshal's office has confirmed that this was an arson fire.
       A passer-by called 911 at 8:28 p.m. to report the fire. Firefighters arrived in15 minutes, however, the wooden structure burned so quickly it couldn't be saved.
       The Cedar Bridge was built in 1883 by Benton Jones using the Town Truss. Seventy-seven feet long it crossed Cedar Creek serving U.S. Route 169 two miles northeast of Winterset. It was one of six covered bridges surviving in Madison County and the last in that county still carrying traffic. It was renovated in 1998 at a cost of $128,000.
       Ten covered bridges still stand in Iowa in four counties. All of them are on the National Register of Historic Places. The last Madison County covered bridge destroyed by fire was the McBride Bridge, which was torched by an arsonist in October 1983.
       The Cedar Bridge became internationally famous after it appeared in the movie The Bridges of Madison County, based on the novel by Robert Waller. The author has offered a reward of $10,000 for information leading to the arrest of the perpetrator.
       A meeting is planned for Monday, September 9, to decide what should be done and how much reconstruction would cost. Such a project could cost between $750,000 and $1 million, it was thought. The bridge was insured for $285,000.

[This article is based on reports published in the Des Moines Register and other references. Bridgers can follow the developing story on - Editor]

Return to table of contents

New York's Buskirk Bridge Closed
Buskirk Bridge. Photo by Dick Wilson 8/17/02
The Buskirk Bridge
photo by Dick Wilson August 17, 2002.

BUSKIRK, N.Y. The Buskirk Covered Bridge was closed to traffic Wednesday afternoon, August 14 due to a "substantial new crack in one of the crossbeams," according to the Post-Star of Glens Falls, N.Y. The Bennington Banner of Bennington Vermont declares the closing was due to "a severe structural defect . . . . in one of the beams that holds up the bridge."
       According to the news items, the problem was found when the bridge was undergoing one of its twice annual inspections. Washington County engineers made the decision to close the bridge.
       The bridge connects Washington and Rensselaer Counties over the Hoosic River, the only crossing for five miles in each direction. The detour is a cause for concern for the Buskirk Fire Department and other emergency services. An estimated 700 cars each day will need to use the Johnson or the Eagle Bridge until the Buskirk span is returned to service.
       Renovations at an estimated cost of $900,000, to be shared by the two counties, had been scheduled for 2003. Interim repairs are being planned.
       The Buskirk Bridge (World Guide Numbers 32-42-02 and 32-58-04) is described in the newspaper articles as a 164-foot single span constructed in 1857 using the Howe Truss. The World Guide To Covered Bridges published by the National Society for the Preservation of Covered Bridges lists the bridge as having been built in 1880
       Many thanks to Dick Wilson, President of the New York State Covered Bridge Society, for forwarding the referenced newspaper clippings.

Return to table of contents

Salisbury Center Bridge Gets Federal Grant
SALISBURY, N.Y. The Town of Salisbury has received a federal grant of $153,500 to fund the restoration of its covered bridge. Steel beams will be installed under the bridge, the roof will be replaced, a stone retainer along the river bank will be mortared, and the wooden structure will be treated with fire retardent. Work is expected to be completed by next summer.
       The Salisbury Center Bridge, WGN 32-22-01, crosses Spruce Creek near the junction of NY 29 and 29A in Herkimer County. The 50-foot span was built in 1875 by Alva Hopson using a multiple kingpost truss with an arch.
       Many thanks to Dick Wilson for forwarding the clipping from the Aug. 16 Utica, N.Y. Observer on which this article is based.

Return to table of contents

Bog - Cilleyville Bridge to be Rehabilitated
WGN 26-07-01
by Sean T. James, P.E., Project Manager,Hoyle, Tanner & Associates, Inc.

Cilleyville-Bog Bridge. Photo submitted by Sean James 8/16/02

August 16, 2002 - We, the Hoyle, Tanner & Associates, are part of a design-build team with Tim Andrews of Barns and Bridges of New England on the rehabilitation of the Cilleyville-Bog Covered Bridge in Andover, NH. The scope of the project involves repairs to the abutments, new roof framing that will replicate the original framing (the current roof is not at all similar to the original framing and was installed after a heavy snow collapsed the roof), repairs to the trusses, and new floor beams and decking. Tim should begin work on the repairs within the next month and is taking great care to ensure that the work is true to the original and is done with traditional methods. I obviously do not have any construction photos but have attached a photo of the bridge as it currently stands.
       We also have three other projects in design or bidding. The Twin Bridge in Rutland, VT; a new pedestrian covered bridge in Island Pond, VT and the rehabilitation of the Comstock bridge in Montgomery, VT. In each case our client needs to make some decisions before we know the exact direction of the project.

Return to table of contents

Return to top

Joe Nelson, P.O Box 267, Jericho, VT 05465-0267

No part of this web site may be reproduced without the written permission of Joseph C. Nelson
This file revised December 28, 2003