For a few months now, people have been asking if I have a favorite covered bridge from those I photographed this year. I told people I wanted to see all of them before deciding. I had one in mind but felt like I needed to be fair. My favorite is a little bridge that you can’t even see from the main road. It is called the Blacksmith Shop Bridge. I returned to photograph it a few weeks ago. I’d hoped there would still be a lot of colorful leaves all around it, but it’s a little too far north and the trees were mostly bare.
It’s located in Cornish, NH and was built in 1881 to serve a single family who lived down this road. It was constructed by James Tasker who built several covered bridges in the area. It was restored in 1963 and then again in 1983. Tasker’s grandnephew attended the rededication in 1983.
With so many pretty bridges, why is this my favorite? Those who follow my blog carefully know that I love all things rusty and rustic. In my life, I’ve always favored the underdog. I fell in love with the bridge this summer as I made my way down the weed-lined path and saw the chain and “pass at your own risk” sign. The wood is all weathered and natural. My love for it deepened when I returned in the fall because without the vegetation, I would see that upstream there are a beautiful cascade and the foundation of what must have been either the blacksmith shop or perhaps a mill of some sort.
There are so many wonderful covered bridges in New Hampshire with creative features and interesting stories but this one is my favorite.
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.
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.
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.