West Dummerston covered bridge

Selected for Google Maps and Google Earth

Comments (6)

cbaisan on December 6, 2008

Constructed in 1872 to replace a bridge washed away by flood in 1869, this bridge was recently refurbished in order to strengthen it to carry modern traffic loads.

May M. B. (Swissmay) on December 7, 2008

Great shot, Chris! Aren't they lovely! I see, that in the Eastern parts of the USA it's also quite a tradition. Foxx Trotter has done some work on Wikipedia about the wooden bridges.

Good thing they are keeping those beautiful bridges. Wood is a wonderful material for constructions. In the Emmental it is a tradition to build houses of wood. In a distance of half an hours drive from where I live are 27 covered wooden bridges, some are only used as foot bridges, but the bigger part for daily modern traffic. The oldest covered wooden foot bridge of Europe is from 1333 in Lucern.

Best wishes, May

cbaisan on December 7, 2008

Thanks for the links May :) The history of European settlement here rather shorter than in your country ;) Settlement really began at the end of the French and Indian war in 1763 and increased following the Revolutionary War as returning soldiers were seeking land to settle. The oldest buildings in the area date to the 1780s or 90s.

I have a special affection for this bridge for, besides the fact that it has a nice swimming hole in the bedrock pools beneath it, I acquired wood from it during the repair which I used to construct a tree-ring chronology. I was able to use this to date other wooden buildings in the area whose construction date was unknown like this one or this. There is a little write-up on the Guilford meeting house here.

There is a little irony in the fact that just downstream there is a steel arch bridge that was built in the 1920s and is now closed because the steel has rusted and it cannot be repaired.

Wood has so many uses :)

May M. B. (Swissmay) on December 9, 2008

Thank you very much for the links! I have spent happily quite a time with you and enjoyed the views and just as much their history.

I opened the link to the Guilford meeting house last and was delighted to find your article, photos and drawings. I was very much interested in the plan of the roof construction. I have done myself several plans of wooden construction in different scales, while studying architecture in the pre-computer time. ;)

Friendly regards, May

cbaisan on December 9, 2008

The Town of Guilford wished to know if the stories about their meeting house were true and so I was invited to investigate and try to puzzle out its history. The roof plans were done on a computer drawing program from notes and sketches. The rafters and trusses were made from very tall, very straight trees - the like of which I have never seen in this region as the forests have been cut repeatedly over the last 250 years. They must have been quite something to behold.

This bridge was constructed of spruce and hemlock - including some very old trees - in part because they provide strong, light-weight timber - but also because those species live on mountain slopes and cold valleys not suitable for farming, so one could still find large timber there in 1870. After the 1840s most wood construction used hemlock - before it was beech, oak, and pine. Before 1776 all tall pines in New England were claimed by the King of England for use as ship masts.

Pleased you enjoyed the links May - I very much enjoy touring Switzerland through your gallery :)

Best wishes, Chris

Vyacheslav L on December 11, 2008

Very wonderful bridge!

Best wishes, Vyacheslav

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Photo details

  • Uploaded on December 6, 2008
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    by cbaisan