MEETINGS and EVENTS for 2007
Sunday. April 22 at 1pm Meeting will be held at the
Plymouth Church, 87 Edgell Road, Framingham MA. Joe Cohen will be
the speaker. Topic will be "New Covered Bridges." He will talk and
show slides of newly constructed bridges and the ones they replaced
Sunday. May 20 Executive-Only Board Meeting.
Meeting will be held at the home of Joe and Marianne Cohen in
Holliston, MA. The meeting will begin at noon and will include
Sunday. June 24. at 1 pm Will be at the Contoocook
Covered Railroad Bridge in Hopkinton, NH. Tim Andrews and/or one of
his workers will demonstrate joints and items used in repairing the
bridge. This should be a pretty good demonstration.
Sunday. July 22. at 1 pm Will be the grand
rededication of the Contoocook Covered Railroad Bridge in Hopkinton,
NH. This will be an affair with representatives from the State of
New Hampshire, the town of Hopkinton and bridge builders. Our
Society has donated thousands of dollars for the reconstruction. If
you have photos of the previous work parties, bring them along. It
should be a gala event.
Sunday, August 26 As usual the August meeting is
the annual picnic in Westminster, VT. The cookout is at noon and the
meeting at 1 pm. The picnic will be held at the fire station
just off route 5 a short distance down Grout Avenue.
Sunday. Seotember 23 Time and place for this
meeting will be forthcoming.
If you are interested in getting on a mailing list for
information concerning the dates and times of the meetings, send
your e-mail address to Dickroycbl@verizon.net. If there are
major changes they will be distributed on the e-mail.
The next newsletter is scheduled for July 2007. Therefore, anyone
wishing to submit photos, articles, etc. should send them to Carmela
or KC by June 20, 2007. Newspaper or magazine articles must
include source information and details (such as name of publication,
date, etc.). Electronic submissions are preferred. THANK YOU!
Second Annual Covered Bridge Swap Meet
This year Olin's Museum of Covered Bridges will hold its se~nd
annual Covered Bridge Swap Meet. Everything covered bridges, nothing
but covered bridges. It's a great opportunity to sell those extras
or pick up that unique bridge item you've been searching for! Come
join us for what is sure to be a good time.
DATE: June 23,2007 Rain or Shine.
PLACE: Olin's Museum of
Covered Bridges. 1918 Dewey Road. Ashtabula, Ohio 44004. Two drives
east of Olin's Covered Bridge.
TIME: 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
PRICE: $10.00. Reserve by June 16. Call Julie Grandbouche at
OUTDOOR ADMISSION: Free
$2.00 ages 10 and over.
For questions or directions, check the website at
www.coveredbridgemuseum.org or call Julie Grandbouche at
A MESSAGE FROM YOUR PRESIDENT
Dear Fellow Members, Greetings!
The President's Message this quarter shall be a fairly short one,
due to the press of much other business.
First of all, work on a new edition of the World Guide to
Covered Bridges is progressing steadily. The current plan is to
have a corrected list of those covered spans still standing in the
United States, Canada, and Western Europe, ready by the end of June
of this year, a corrected list accompanied by a certain number of
short articles which, when married to the list in question, shall
make up the full text of this much awaited, much overdue, newly
revised re-edited, publication.
Members of the National Society being especially observant and
alert, most of you will have grasped, I am sure, one of the more
important implications of the previous sentence; namely, that the
corrected list of Covered Bridges still standing in the United
States, Canada, and Western Europe should be understood to be
more or less complete. It shall be, for the indicated
regions, but not necessarily anywhere else.
Unfortunately, the sad reality will be, even in the newly revised
World Guide, that many of the spans located in Eastern Europe
and Asia shall continue to escape the formal notice of the National
When I say, "Many spans," the phrase itself is feeble, extremely
feeble. A few numbers should serve to illustrate the point.
According to the 1989 edition of the World Guide, there were
a grand total of 1,492 Covered bridges still standing on June 1st of
that year, "Grand Total" here, meaning all the spans in all the
countries where such structures existed added together. This total,
just to dot every "i" and cross every "t," excluding Pony-Truss
Bridges. The same edition of the World Guide also claimed
that there are but 6 Covered Spans remaining in all of China.
Happily, the truth of that matter is somewhat different, as recent
research is beginning to demonstrate. For instance, according to the
estimates of Distinguished Professor Emeritus Ronald G. Knapp --
please see his letter-to-the-Editor in the winter issue of
Newsletter -- there may be as many as 3,000 of these
structures still standing in the People's Republic, a figure shall
we say slightly at variance to the one propounded by the 1989
To return to the "few numbers" which "should serve to illustrate
the point," 3,000 added to 1,492 yields the sum of 4,492. 1,492
divided by 4,492 equals 0.332416, say 0.33. In other words, if one
ignores whatever spans may still be standing in Eastern Europe and
Russia, and if one accepts the estimate of 3,000 as reasonable for
the remaining Chinese Bridges as oftoday, then the 1989 Guide
reported but 33% or so of the Covered Wooded Spans existing in the
world at that time. Well, 33% or so of anything is perhaps the start
of an accurate accounting, but it is far from being a definitive
one. A more precise title for our World Guide might therefore
be, A Guide to Those Remaining Covered Spans About Which the
National Society Has Some Knowledge. Such a title would be more
in accordance with one or the other current doctrines of "Truth in
Advertising," yet I rather imagine, were we to adopt this title,
that we should sell fewer copies of our perennial publication.
Seriously, the discovery that there may be as many as 3,000 Covered
Bridges still standing in China is tremendously exciting! For
example, think how many new things we may learn about the noble art
of timber framing as a result of a close examination of these
structures, structures which are so different from our own. Then
too, the sudden emergence of these hitherto unknown-to-us Covered
Spans illustrates once again the fact that historical research is
almost always an open-ended process, and that thus the conclusions
arrived at as the result of any research ought more often than not
to be tentative. New data are always capable of turning up,
sometimes to the very great embarrassment of the historian. To put
the matter succinctly as it applies to us: The next edition of the
World Guide will certainly be better than its immediate
predecessor, but it nevertheless still ought to be regarded as an
Richard R. Wilson: October 6th, 1937 Februarv 21st.
As the above headline starkly suggests, Covered Bridgers and
Covered Bridges lost one of their best friends and champions last
February 21st, Dick Wilson, as he was known to many of us, was a
splendid man who will be sorely missed by all those who were
fortunate enough to have known him. He was a driving force within
the New York Covered Bridge Society, having been one of its Charter
Members. He was also clearly one of the reasons why this society has
been so successful over the years, and is so widely respected now.
Dick served as President of the New York Covered Bridge Society for
twenty- five years, and led 37 extremely successful Covered Bridge
Safaris. He was as well, Editor of The Courier, the widely
read and always looked forward to, official publication of the New
York State Covered Bridge Society. His "Card Corner" was justly
famous for the wonderful photographs and informative commentary
which habitually graced the columns regularly appearing under that
rubric. All of us in the National Society hereby extend our deepest
condolences to Dick's family, and most especially to Jeanette, his
wife of some 46 years. Members who wish to honor Dick may do so by
sending a contribution for the Covered Bridge Preservation to the
New York Society in his memory.
Contributions should be sent to:
Mr. Henry Messing,
New York Covered Bridge
958 Grove Street
Elmira, NY 14901
I would also suggest joining that society, in homage to Dick,' of
course, but also because of the quality of its publication and the
value ofthe work that its members do.
David W. Wright
Society for the Preservation of Covered Bridges, Incorporated
Spanning New York State
Bob and Trish Kane
Mark Your Calendars! New York State is once again
celebrating ... this time in Washington County, NY. Isn't it great!
On August 4,2007, New Yorkers will once again be celebrating the
rehabilitation of three of our Covered Bridges, the Rexleigh NY
32-58-03, Eagleville NY 32-58-01 and Buskirk NY
32-42-02/5804 bridges. Repairs on the Buskirk bridge were
completed and the bridge reopened to traffic in April of 2005.
Repair work on the Eagleville and Rexleigh bridges are scheduled to
be completed this summer. There will be a dedication and celebration
at all three bridges on Saturday, August 4th so be sure to plan to
attend. For more information contact: Robbie McIntosh at
Beaverkill Covered Bridge - NY 32-53-02 - Exciting news!
The Beaverkill Covered Bridge in Sullivan County, NY has
finally been nominated for consideration for listing on the
State and National Register of Historic Places! This has been an
ongoing effort for some time. It will be considered for nomination
at the next meeting of the NY State Office of Parks, Recreation and
Historic Preservation. It is our sincere hope that the two remaining
covered bridges in Sullivan County, the Van Tran Flat NY
32-53-0 and the Halls Mills NY 32-53-01 will soon follow.
Beyond New York
Hall Creek Pony Truss. WGN 61-02-P11|
by Nicolas Lecomte December,
Quebec, Canada - Gerald Arbour recently sent along an
exciting find from Nicolas Lecomte from Beaucanton, Abitibi, Canada.
Mr. Lecomete reported the existence of an unknown pony bridge in
Quebec. The bridge is located on Hall Creek on an abandoned road
north of Val-Paradis, hometown of the Pionniers Bridge -- 61-02-32.
The World Guide number for this new bridge is 61-02-Pl1. Thanks to
Mr. Lecomete for sharing this photo with us and to Gerald Arbour for
sending this exciting news on to us.
Virginia - Thanks to Leola and Steve Pierce for sharing
this exciting news. During an interview with Leola on Thursday,
March 22,2007, in Charlottesville, Virginia, a VDOT representative
told her that VDOT will soon be producing a documentary on
Virginia's historic timber covered bridges. They hope to have it
completed within the next couple of months. Details are still being
worked out and Leola and Steve will keep us posted on the progress
of this endeavor.
New Hampshire - There has been a lot of focus recently on
the restoration of the Contoocook Covered Railroad Bridge in
Hopkinton, NH and that is wonderful! The efforts by the National
Society to preserve this fantastic historical structure by
committing substantially fmancially to the rehabilitation of this
historic structure are to be commended. But it's important to
remember that there are many other covered bridge efforts going on
across the country worthy of financial support by covered bridge
societies as well. Please keep this in mind as you work with your
society's budgets and do what ever you can to help support the
preservation of all our covered bridges. Currently, the Newport (NH)
Historical Society is raising funds for a $100,000, 20% grant match
(grant is for $500,000) for fire suppression and repairs for the
Pier Railroad Covered Bridge. If you can help, donations can be sent
to The Pier Bridge Preservation Project, c/o Sugar River Savings
Bank, PO Box 569, Newport, NH 03773. There are several fundraising
events being planned and your support is needed. They also have many
Pier Bridge items for sale. For more information on this project, or
to learn how you can help, contact: Jacqueline Cote, Treasurer and
Fundraising Chair at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (603) 863-3105
for more details.
Calendar of Covered Bridge Events - Thanks to the efforts
of Bill Caswell, Bob and Trish Kane, and the cooperation of covered
bridge organizations across the country, there is now a calendar of
all the known covered bridge events scheduled in 2007. It also
includes meeting dates for the various covered bridge societies,
membership dues dates and newsletter deadline dates for those who
report news on our covered bridges. This list took some time and
effort to compile and we hope you will find it a helpful tool as you
plan your covered bridge activities this year. You can view this
calendar by visiting the Covered Spans of Yesteryear website
lostbridges.org or Joe Nelson's website at
vermontbridges.com. We hope to be able compile this
calendar on an annul basis each December for the following year. If
you have an event you would like added to the calendar, please
contact Trish Kane at: email@example.com. Be sure to
check the websites often for any last minute changes or additions as
events do change.
News Clips - As part of our work with the Covered Spans of
Yesteryear project, we have been gleaning old covered bridge
newsletters for pertinent information on bridges that no longer
exist. It is amazing what little tid-bits of information we have
found as we read through them. Here is one we wanted to share with
you. This was taken from the April 1969 issue of Ohio's Covered
Bridge Chatter. The heading reads: My Drapes are Different
than Your Drapes. The clip begins ... Says Dick Donovan,
because Mom made them, and the picture he sent of an attractive bit
of drapery proves he is right. The drapes were made by sewing 127
linen towels together. Calendars of covered bridges are used and no
duplication of towels is apparent. Thanks for the picture Dick, and
congratulations Mom. We had to smile when we read this, as we
are sure many of you will as well. First, because if you ever
visited the home of Richard Donovan, you will no doubt remember
these drapes as he had them hanging in his living room. And
secondly, we all know you never called Richard, Dick! If
Richard were reading this right now ... we think he'd smile too.
Covered Bridge Websites Here are a few new/updated
websites you might like to bookmark or add to your favorites:
- This website is really neat and features New Brunswick's Covered
Bridges and lots of history!
www.indianacrossings.org - This is the new address for the
Indiana Covered Bridge Society which will be a companion to their
newsletter, which has been retitled Indiana Crossings.
Covered Bridges in China? Check this out -
For Immediate Release
Contact: Jackie Keren
Ribbon Cutting Event to Open Three Restored
Covered Bridges in Washington County, New York
CAMBRIDGE, NY - The Covered Bridges Advisory Committee of
Washington County, New York, will host a ribbon cutting event on
August 4,2007 to re-open three covered bridges, built in the 19th
century, and recently restored: Buskirk's Bridge, Eagleville Bridge
and Rexleigh Bridge. The events begin at 10:00 am at Buskirk's
Bridge, move to the Eagleville Bridge at noon and then to the
Rexleigh Bridge at 1:30 pm. All participants of the Covered Bridge
Tour will be welcomed at the Historic Salem Courthouse at 2:00 pm
for an afternoon celebration. State-level and local dignitaries will
be on hand to celebrate the reopening of these historic bridges.
Invited guests include US Senators Hillary Clinton and Chuck
Schumer of New York and Jim Jeffords of Vermont; US Congresswomen
Kirsten Gillibrand of New York; New York State Senators Joe Bruno
and Betty Little; and New York State Assemblyman Roy McDonald. Local
guests include the town supervisors of Cambridge, Hoosick, Jackson
and Salem, and representatives of the Preservation League of New
York, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic
Preservation, and local volunteer fIre departments.
Acknowledgements will be offered at each bridge. In addition a
group of Irish step-dancers will dance "The Bridge of Athlone" to
live music. Following the ribbon cutting, a procession of ox-and
horse-drawn vehicles and antique cars will cross each bridge.
Participants will proceed to each bridge on roads that were in use
at the time the bridges were built, winding their way through the
hills and valleys of southern Washington County. The tour will make
its way through the hamlet of Shushan, where the Shushan Covered
Bridge will be open to the public.
At 2:00 pm, all are welcomed at a celebration at the Historic
Salem Courthouse, just a few miles from the Rexleigh Covered Bridge.
The Courthouse, built in 1869, is listed in the National Register of
Historic Places and is one of the most important historic public
buildings in the region. Designed by noted Troy architect Marcus F.
Cummings, the Old Courthouse contains one of the best preserved
late-nineteenth century courtrooms in the entire state. The entire
complex includes the adjacent jail, a rare, intact facility from
1906, the jailor's house, and several bams.
The celebration includes refreshments, door prizes, covered
bridge artists, period music, and an opportunity to purchase a
souvenir booklet as well as Eric Sloane's book "American Barns and
Covered Bridges." At each bridge, volunteer docents will distribute
a free brochure with a ticket. Visitors who get their tickets
stamped at all three bridges will be eligible for door prizes at the
Courthouse. A commemorative T-shirt will be available for sale
throughout the tour.
The day concludes with a chamber music concert by Music from
Salem at historic Hubbard Hall, an opera house built in 1878. The
program will highlight composers of the period during which the
bridges were built, including Samuel Barber's "Dover Beach" (string
quartet and voice); and the songs of Steven Foster. The music ofJohn
Adams will also be featured with "Shaker Loops," one ofthe best
minimal pieces about the ecstatic "shaking" of the Shakers (for
For more information about the ribbon cutting events and the
celebration, call Jackie Keren at 518-854-9120 or email
firstname.lastname@example.org. Information will also be posted at the
website for the Towns & Villages ofthe Battenkill Valley at
Update on Covered Spans of Yesteryear
by Bill Caswell
The winter months provide some time to stay inside and get
pictures scanned. As a result, many Pennsylvania pictures have
recently been added to the website. Information about some of the
former covered bridges in California, Washington and West Virginia
have been added along with Columbiana (312 bridges) through Erie
Counties in Ohio. Work has begun on New York, which, with Ohio, is
the last of the "big" states to compile. You may see the Rensselaer
and Washington County bridges appearing shortly.
This year is the 80th anniversary of the 1927 flood that
devastated Vermont. I have been working on compiling a list of the
covered bridges lost during that great storm. If anyone has
information or photographs they would like to share in regards to
the flood, it would be greatly appreciated. Some of you have already
seen the beginnings of the presentation I am preparing on this topic
and I hope to have it completed during the summer.
To hear about updates as they become available visit the website
-- www.lostbridges.org -- and sign up for our mailing list.
In addition to exploring the website, repor:ts from the states and
provinces that we have researched to date are available at the
Covered Bridge Museum in Bennington, Vermont.
If you are interested in offering pictures of the lost bridges in
your area and have the ability to scan them, please contact me.
There is still a vast amount of territory to cover and any
assistance will be greatly appreciated. Email is usually the most
effective way to contact me -- email@example.com.
Here is an official State ofIndiana website which should be of
interest. The study is 192 pages, so if you down load that, I hope
you have a fast connection. It looks to be very interesting.
A MESSAGE FROM THE MEMBERSHIP
This will be your last Topics/Newsletter. When you
read this notice and see (07) on the mailing label, it means that
your dues are due. If (07) does not show up then you are paid
through June 2008. Please look at the following information and
write me a note with your renewal. Please be prompt, if possible, in
order that Topics and the Newsletter be delivered by bulk mail
process. Thank you very much for your
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