Maine’s Covered Bridges

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babbspicOnce there were a hundred and twenty covered bridges in the state of Maine, but fire, flood, ice, progress and the Great Freshet of 1896 have removed all but eight original bridges. Two other covered bridges, recently lost to fire and flood, have been reconstructed  and are considered to have historical importance. 

The roof and siding of a covered bridge are the features that give the structure its familiar outlines. Some are thought to be more picturesque than others-Maine’s Artist’s Covered Bridge over the Sunday River in Newry. for example, has always been a favorite, and someone has said that artists have daubed more paint on their canvases depicting structure than was ever slapped on its venerable sides. Other bridges look a little like barns unexpectedly left stranded across a stream.

The bridges were covered for one reason- to keep the rain and snow from the massive working timbers. The alternative wetting and drying out of uncovered wooden structures would have resulted in rot and failure decades sooner.

Many people think of covered bridges as quaint relics of the past. Others become expert in describing the manner in which they were built. But, In either case, they represent  the inventiveness and know-how of out forefathers, and it seems fitting that they should be saluted for their engineering as well as their charm.

The ingenious way the old bridges were fitted together becomes apparent as soon as you pass through one of their portals. There, under the  protecting roof, on either side, are the posts and crisscrossed braces extending from top to bottom “chord” ( the chords are the heavy beams parallel to the line in the roadway). The planks of the floor are supported by the bottom chord in the typical covered bridge, which makes it a “through” truss structure.

Now, with all of this detail, the most interesting thing about covered bridges is their charm and the warm, old-fashioned feeling one gets when going through one of them. If you “Google” Maine Covered Bridges, you’ll get access to a list of wooden covered bridges with photos, location and description.

The rest is up to you…….

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One Response to “Maine’s Covered Bridges”

  1. Sunny Says:

    I just wrote a entry about a dear old historical covered bridge. I love them! Your article is very interesting, too! 🙂

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