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Wandering By Some of Southern Vermont's Covered Bridges

Ssshh, don't tell anyone but I think underneath this tough exterior I have lies a true romantic as I seem to have a love affair going with both lighthouses and covered bridges. I've heard somewhere that both of those things appeal to the romantic in us and as both most definitely appeal to me, that must make me a closet romantic or something ... or maybe not so 'closet' for those that really know me! Anyway, enough about me, you don't come here to read about me (that's for my other blog) - you come here to read about wonderful places and things to see - places that maybe I've been fortunate enough to get to that you haven't gotten to yet or places that you've been to and you're here to reminisce about a little bit or places that you'd like to go to but you're wondering if it's worth it.

Most definitely worth it is a trip to Vermont to search out one of those things that appeals to me and a lot of other people - covered bridges.  For those like myself who enjoy history, a covered bridge is a piece of Americana that represents a way of life before things got too hectic; a time when life moved at a slower pace and people trotted through life slowly perhaps behind a team of horses rather than zooming through it behind several hundred horsepower and a steering wheel.

Sure, putting a cover on a bridge definitely had the practical purpose of protecting the wooden structure beneath but it also became the impetus for stories of both romance and ghosts over the years; as a prime example, I'm sure I wasn't the only one who shed a tear or two after seeing the movie or reading the book "Bridges of Madison County" by Robert J. Waller!  And anyone who's ever been to Stowe, Vermont may have heard the stories of Emily's Bridge and of the young woman who haunts it. So sure, a covered bridge is a structure but it's o' so much more than that!

Anyway, onto the bridges of Southern Vermont - not Madison County, mind you - but Bennington County and Windham County where the bridges are just as picturesque and just as romantic as any out there.  Take a look and hopefully you'll agree!

First up are five covered bridges from Bennington County in the southwest part of the state.

The Silk Road Covered Bridge

Originally named the Locust Grove Bridge, the Silk Road Bridge is an 88-foot-long Town Lattice design bridge built circa 1840 to span the Walloomsac River in Bennington. The builder is believed to have been Benjamin Sears.

The Silk Road Covered Bridge is located just off of Route 67A on - wait for it - Silk Road across from the entrance to Bennington College. 

A view inside the Lattice Truss design Silk Road Covered Bridge in Bennington, Vermont.

Originally named the Locust Grove Bridge, this 88-foot-long Town Lattice design bridge was built circa 1840 to span the Walloomsac River in Bennington. The builder is believed to have been Benjamin Sears.

A view of the southern portal of Bennington's Silk Road Bridge.

The Paper Mill Covered Bridge

The Paper Mill Village Bridge, also called the Paper Mill Bridge or Bennington Falls Covered Bridge, was built by Charles F. Sears in 1889 and named for an adjacent 1790 paper mill, one of Vermont's first such mills.  The 125-foot Town Lattice design bridge that crosses the Walloomsac River northwest of Bennington  was rebuilt in 2000.

The Paper Mill Village Bridge, also called the Paper Mill Bridge or Bennington Falls Covered Bridge, was built by Charles F. Sears and named for an adjacent 1790 paper mill, one of Vermont's first such mills.

Inside view of the Paper Mill Covered Bridge in Bennington, Vermont.

This 125-foot Town Lattice design bridge was built in 1889, demolished in December 1999, and rebuilt in 2000. It crosses the Waloomsac River in West Bennington.

The Paper Mill Bridge over the Walloomsac River in Bennington, Vermont.

The Burt Henry Covered Bridge

The Burt Henry Bridge aka the Henry Bridge in Bennington, Vermont.

The Burt Henry Covered Bridge, also known as the Henry Covered Bridge, in Bennington is a Town Lattice design spanning the Walloomsac River.

Inside view of the Henry Covered Bridge.

The 120-foot bridge, with a rare double truss, was originally built circa 1840 and rebuilt in 1989 by the Vermont Agency of Transportation.

The Burt Henry Covered Bridge in Bennington is a Town Lattice design spanning the Walloomsac River.  The bridge, with a rare double truss, was originally built circa 1840 and rebuilt in 1989 by the Vermont Agency of Transportation.

The Chiselville Covered Bridge

The Chiselville Covered Bridge in East Arlington, Vermont

The Chiselville Bridge spans the Roaring Branch Brook and was built by Daniel Oatman in 1870. The name Chiselville Bridge comes from a former chisel factory nearby but the bridge has been previously named High Bridge and the Roaring Branch Bridge.

Inside view of the Chiselville Covered Bridge.

Constructed of a Town Lattice design, the 117-foot bridge has a supporting center pier due to its height and is located approximately 2 miles east of Arlington village.

The Chiselville Bridge spans the Roaring Branch Brook and was built by Daniel Oatman in 1870.The name Chiselville Bridge comes from a former chisel factory nearby but the bridge was previously named High Bridge and the Roaring Branch Bridge.

The West Arlington Covered Bridge

The 1852 West Arlington Bridge is one of Vermont's best loved and most photographed covered bridges situated nearby the former home of artist Norman Rockwell which is now a bed & breakfast called the Inn on Covered Bridge Green.

The 1852 West Arlington Bridge is one of Vermont's best loved and most photographed covered bridges situated nearby the former home of artist Norman Rockwell which is now a bed & breakfast called the Inn on Covered Bridge Green.

Inside view of the Bridge on the Green in West Arlington, Vermont.

An 80-foot Town Lattice design spanning the Battenkill River, the West Arlington Covered Bridge is also known as the Bridge on the Green.

An 80-foot Town Lattice design spanning the Battenkill River, the West Arlington Covered Bridge is also known as the Bridge on the Green.

It should also be noted here that the Bridge on the Green was damaged in the flood waters following Tropical Storm Irene in August of this year. A large tree was uprooted and went under the bridge striking it and causing damage to the truss system.  As of this writing, the bridge will be closed for at least several months while repairs are being made.

The next covered bridges are located in Windham County in southeastern Vermont.

The Green River Covered Bridge

Built in 1870, the  single-lane Green River Bridge is a 104-foot Town Lattice design that spans the Green River on Stage Road in Green River Village near Guilford.

Built in 1870, the single-lane Green River Bridge is a 104-foot Town Lattice design that spans the Green River on Stage Road in Green River Village near Guilford. That's a lot of 'Green Rivers', isn't it?

Inside the Green River Covered Bridge

The sign above the portal on the bridge reads, "Two dollars fine to drive on this bridge faster than a walk."

The Green River flows beneath the appropriately named Green River Covered Bridge!

The Creamery Covered Bridge

The Creamery Covered Bridge in Brattleboro, Vermont.

Brattleboro's 1879 Town Lattice design Creamery Bridge had a sidewalk & slate roof added to its design in 1917. Found on Guilford Street, it spans the Whetstone Brook.

Inside view of the Creamery Covered Bridge

The 80-foot Creamery Covered Bridge is open only to pedestrian traffic.

Brattleboro's 1879 Town Lattice design Creamery Bridge had a sidewalk & slate roof added to its design in 1917. Found on Guilford Street, it spans the Whetstone Brook..

The Hall Covered Bridge

Another view of the Hall Covered Bridge in Rockingham, Vermont.

A 120-foot Town Lattice design spanning Saxtons River on Paradise Hill Road in Rockingham, the Hall Covered Bridge was destroyed by an overloaded truck in 1980.

Inside view of the Hall Covered Bridge in Rockingham, Vermont

The authentic replacement was built in 1982 by the late Milton S. Graton, who insisted on strict authenticity which included using a team of oxen to haul the bridge into place.

A view out of a window at the Saxton River from inside the Hall Covered Bridge.

A view out of a window at the Saxton River from inside the Hall Covered Bridge.

View of the Hall Covered Bridge across the Saxton River in Rockingham.

The picture above is a good example of how hard it can be to get a good picture of a covered bridge when there are still leaves on the trees!  Sometimes you just can't get the right angle to get the whole bridge!

The Kidder Hill Covered Bridge

The 1870 Kidder Hill Covered Bridge in Grafton.

The Kidder Hill Covered Bridge was built in 1870 and spans the South Branch of the Saxton River just south of Grafton Village.

Inside view of the single-lane Kidder Hill Bridge in Grafton.

Using a modified Kingpost truss, the Kidder Hill Covered Bridge has a span of 67 feet.

The Kidder Hill Covered Bridge is a single lane 67-foot Kingspost design built in 1870 that spans the South Branch of the Saxton River just south of Grafton Village.

The MacMillan Covered Bridge

The MacMillan Covered Bridge, aka the Cheddar Cheese Bridge, adjacent to Grafton Village Cheese Company on Townshend Road in Grafton, Vermont.

The MacMillan Covered Bridge, aka the Cheddar Cheese Bridge, is located adjacent to the Grafton Village Cheese Company on Townshend Road in Grafton.

A view of the South Branch of the Saxton River from a window in the MacMillan Covered Bridge.

Not necessarily a "true" covered bridge in the classic sense of the term in that it was never intended to carry traffic, the MacMillan Covered Bridge was constructed in 1967 by the non-profit organization which refurbished much of Grafton village.

Not a true covered bridge in the classic sense of the term (i.e., intended to carry traffic, covered to protect structural members); the MacMillan Covered Bridge was constructed in 1967 by the non-profit organization which refurbished much of Grafton village.

No matter whether it's a "true" covered bridge or not, it's one of the most photographed covered bridges in Vermont due to its easy accessibility.

The Scott Covered Bridge

The Scott Covered Bridge over the West River in Townshend, Vermont.

The Scott Covered Bridge was built by Harrison Chamberlain in 1870 and is constructed of a Town Lattice design with an added arch plus two Kingposts with Howe-type metal rod verticals.

A side view of the Scott Covered Bridge over the West River near Townshend, Vermont.

The bridge has a 276-foot overall span across the West River and at 166-feet, the Town Lattice section of the bridge is the longest single span in Vermont.

Inside view of the three-span Scott Covered Bridge. The bridge is made up of one Lattice Design truss and two Kingspost trusses put together for a combined total of 276-feet.

The Scott Covered Bridge is located off of Route 30 in Townshend and has been listed as a State Historic Site since 1955.  It is only open to foot traffic as, truth be told, it's in pretty bad shape due to its age and length.

The Scott Bridge was built by Harrison Chamberlain in 1870. It is a Town Lattice design with an added arch plus two Kingposts with Howe-type metal rod verticals giving it a 276-foot overall span across the West River.  At 166-feet, the Town Lattice section of the bridge is the longest single span in Vermont.

The West Dummerston Covered Bridge

The West Dummerston Bridge was built by Caleb B. Lamson in 1872 and at 280-feet is the longest covered bridge in Vermont.  The bridge, which spans the West River off of Route 30, is of a Town Lattice Design and was completely rebuilt in 1998.

The West Dummerston Bridge was built by Caleb B. Lamson in 1872 and at 280-feet is the longest covered bridge in Vermont.

A side view of the West Dummerston Covered Bridge in Vermont.

The bridge, which spans the West River off of Route 30, is of a Town Lattice Design and was completely rebuilt in 1998.

An inside view of the West Dummerston Covered Bridge, the longest covered bridge in Vermont.

I should probably mention that this was also the busiest covered bridge that I have come across so far in Vermont!  It seemed like there was never more than 2 or 3 minutes when there wasn't a car crossing the single-lane bridge.

The 1872 Dummerston Covered Bridge spans the West River in West Dummerston, Vermont.

The Bartonsville Covered Bridge


Lastly in Windham County, this picture of the Bartonsville Covered Bridge is that of a ghost (and not one that I took) as the 151-foot Town Lattice design bridge that was built by Sanford Granger in 1870 fell victim to the swollen waters of the Williams River as a result of Tropical Storm Irene on August 28th, 2011. 

Site of the former Bartonsville Covered Bridge, a wooden covered bridge in the village of Bartonsville, in Rockingham, Vermont. Built in 1870 by Sanford Granger, the bridge was a lattice truss style with a 151-foot span across the Williams River. The bridge was built after the great flood of 1869 that changed the course of the river replacing another covered bridge about 1/4 mile up the road where the river used to flow. The bridge was swept into the river during Hurricane Irene on August 29th, 2011.

Sadly, this is all that remains of what was once one of the three remaining original covered bridges in the town of Rockingham.  With a portal overhang to portal overhang span of 159-feet, the Bartonsville Bridge was the second longest timber span in the state.

View across the Williams River at the site of the former Bartonsville Covered Bridge that was washed away during the flood waters of Hurricane Irene in August of 2011.

It was also located not very far from the Inn Victoria in Chester and had been on my list of "must sees" but the time was just never right to get there.

The remains of the Bartonsville Covered Bridge in Rockingham, Vermont.

It is hoped that through donations, the Bartonsville Bridge will one day be rebuilt and, as such, the Town of Rockingham has set up a PayPal Donation button on their website for those who might wish to contribute to the cause.

A view from the other side of the Williams River where the Bartonsville Covered Bridge formerly stood until washed away by flood waters in August of 2011.

On a personal note, as I stood there and looked at the spot where the Bartonsville Covered Bridge once stood I couldn't help but feel sad.  Not only was the bridge gone but I had missed the chance on several occasions to walk across the bridge and photograph it before Mother Nature cruelly ripped it away and carried it downriver.  It was a piece of history that I could have visited and captured but that opportunity, like the bridge, was lost.  These pictures stand as a reminder to me that just because something lasted for 140 years, that doesn't mean it's going to last forever and if I have the chance to get to it, then I need to make sure that I do.

And that, my friends, is one of the reasons that I wander like I do.  

Comments

  1. Too bad about the Bartonsville Bridge. So sad indeed. The rest of them are beautiful though.

    Have a terrific day and weekend. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. thank you for taking me on a tour of some fantanstic bridges,bummer about the last one.

    ReplyDelete
  3. so true about grabbing the opportunities as they come

    I love the way the light comes thru the lattice work
    and the falls are lovely

    ReplyDelete
  4. Amazing. Awesome photography, too. :)

    I loved looking at these pictures. It is such a shame to lose a piece of history to mother nature. It's a lesson to be learned; nothing lasts forever.

    Really good job on this one, Linda.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I hope you never delete this blog.I have this link with all the Covered Bridges stashed in my covered bridges folder in my computers Hard Drive.BIG TIME HUG!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Linda! You started a new blog! Cool! I really like the design. I'll have to come back later to explore. :) Love all the photos! You have such a keen artistic eye--especially in the photos of the river framed with the windows of the bridge. Growing up in New Hampshire, I've always had a soft spot for covered bridges. These are wonderful. :)

    BTW, don't you just love SmugMug? I have ALL my photos stored there.

    ReplyDelete

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