This is the fourth and final bridge in Cornish, NH, the Cornish-Windsor Bridge. It crosses the Connecticut River between Cornish, New Hampshire and Windsor, Vermont. It is 449 feet long, making it the longest wooden covered bridge in the United States and the longest two-span covered bridge in the world.
This bridge was built by James Tasker and Bela Fletcher in 1866 for $9,000. Like the Dingleton Hill Bridge, it was framed on land and then moved to this location. For a time in the 1930s and 40s, it was operated as a toll bridge.
It’s had several restorations over the years, the most significant being a reconstruction in 1989 at a cost of 4.45 million dollars. I’ve photographed this bridge on a few different occasions and these are photos from various visits.
If Stephen King were to set a story in a spooky old school, this would be it. I was in Orford, NH and pulled into the driveway of a newer school building to reprogram my GPS. Losing the signal on backroads is getting to be routine. Signs at the school directed me to exit out the back of the school property where I found this old school building.
It was built in 1851 and was then called the Orford Academy Building. It was in use until 2002. From the back, I could see the bell is still in the tower. An article I found in the local paper said the town is trying to work with a developer to convert it into ten senior housing units.
Looking at the back of the building, it’s amazing how nature just begins to reclaim things that we don’t continue to maintain.
The third bridge that I visited here in Cornish was the Blow-Me-Down Bridge. It gets its name because it spans a deep gorge on the Blow-Me-Down Brook.
It was a little more challenging to photograph. The steepness of the gorge below and the heavy brush growth made it too risky to try to go down into the gorge to make images from the side showing the span of the bridge.
The property owner on one side of the bridge dissuaded photographers with one sign that said “no parking” and another that said trespassers would be shot and those that survived would be shot again. So much for Yankee hospitality. I ended up parking in some weeds on the other side of the bridge.
There is not a lot of history noted about this bridge. It was built in 1877 for $528 and is another bridge built by James Tasker.
Normally, when you think of the town common in a small New England town, you picture a white church with a steeple, maybe a Civil War monument, and perhaps a gazebo. My guess is that you don’t picture a vintage Redstone rocket but that is what sits on the town common in Warren, NH.
It began when a town native, Ted Asselin, was station at the Redstone Arsenal in Alabama. This was the height of the space race, around the time that Apollo 11 landed Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the moon. Ted noticed several obsolete Redstone rockets lying abandoned in a field at the arsenal. He thought that if children in New Hampshire, who were far removed from America’s space program, could see a real rocket, then perhaps it would inspire them to go into the sciences.
Thus, began the back and forth between the Department of Defense (DoD) and town officials. The DoD agreed to release the rocket for display purposes as long as it didn’t cost them anything. (They also stripped out the engine and guidance system.) The town agree to receive and erect the rocket in the town common if they didn’t have to pay to ship it.
All Ted had to do was get it the 1,300 miles from Alabama to Warren. He and a friend borrowed a truck and drove to Alabama where engineers at the post loaded it onto a 60-foot trailer. Then they set off for New Hampshire but not without a couple of adventures. They were fined in Ohio for not having a permit for transporting it through the state. (Really, there is a permit for this sort of thing?) They broke down in the state capital, Concord, and had to be towed to a ceremony at the state house. Finally, it arrived and was dedicated on July 4, 1971.
I’d heard of the Warren rocket many times but had never seen it. The town is small and not close to the highway or any city. My travels to take pictures of covered bridges brought me close enough to Warren to make a detour to see the rocket. It stands about 70 feet (21m) tall and was designed as a ballistic missile for the military. It was used in the space program. New Hampshire native Alan Shepard, the first American in space, was launched in a modified Redstone rocket.
The Dingleton Hill Bridge is another James Tasker bridge and is located a mile or so from the last bridge I visited. He did not constuct this over the river but rather built it in a local school yard and then it was moced here. Which I think is just amazing given that it was built in 1882 and this likely involved some strong oxen.
The state numbers each covered brige and posts one of these signs nearby or on the bridge.
This bridge and the Blasksmith Shop Bridge were both restored in 1983. When it reopened Tasker’s great-grandnephew came up from Connecticut to attend the opening. The cost to restore both was $30,000 and paid for by a mix of federal, local, and private funds.
Last weekend as I drove the backroads between covered bridges, I had amazing luck as a photographer. Several times, I turned onto a side street or into a parking lot to reprogram my GPS or to check out something that caught my eye. Each time, I found something photoworthy. This old logging truck overgrown with brush was no exception.
It’s been here a long time. When I enlarged the image, I could see the license plate expired in 1995.
What were you doing in 1995? I was in my first job after graduate school. My wife and I were together but not yet married. That year we went to Montreal on vacation.
The Blacksmith Shop Bridge is closed to vehicular traffic and practically in the woods, but it’s one of my favorites. Many people liked the bridge with the picnic table that I showed on Sunday, but the secluded nature and rustic charm of this bridge make it my pick for a picnic. Just bring a blanket, your lunch, and perhaps a bottle of wine.
Cornish, NH is home to four covered bridges. All four were built by one person, James Tasker, and one is the longest bridge in the United States.
It was built in 1881 by James Tasker at a cost of $873. Tasker was a prolific bridge builder and is known to have built at least eleven bridges in this area.
It was given the name because it was located close to a local blacksmith shop. Interestingly the bridge was only used by one family.
We still have lots of colorful lilies as well as zinnias and a few others. I’m sorry there are no vegetable garden photos this week. We’ve been eating green beans and blueberries from our garden. My wife things we may get our first tomatoes this week also. Enjoy the flowers.
And for those who stayed to the last picte, you get to see a bit of fun in our gardens.