Originally built in 1845, the bridge burned in a suspicious fire May 25, 1993. The town was described as being “devastated’ at the loss. Covered bridges are not the most practical means to cross a river in the modern age and the town and state made plans to replace it with a modern bridge made from concrete and steel.
The residents of Newport petitioned the town and state to replace the bridge with a wooden covered bridge, raising thousands of dollars to cover the difference in cost. A little more than a year later, on Columbus Day weekend, the new bridge was pulled into place by a team of oxen. I spent about an hour trying to locate a photo of the oxen pulling the bridge but was unsuccessful. I did however find this video of oxen pulling a different bridge into place.
This was the first bridge on my last covered bridges of New Hampshire outing. There are only three photos of this bridge because other than the one image inside the bridge, I did not venture to walk around inside. There was some moderate traffic, and it moves quickly through the bridge. Self-preservation kicked in.
Most of the bridges that I photographed were on side roads or out of the way places. There were usually only a few homes nearby, if any. The Mechanic Street Bridge is located in a busy residential neighborhood.
The bridge spans Israel’s River. The river provided water power for local mills. As the mills and the town grew, a bridge built in the 1780s quickly became inadequate.
This bridge was constructed in 1862 to replace the original bridge. An interpretive plaque on the bridge said that this bridge allowed horses and carriages to cross at a faster speed, but the State’s history said that in that same year, the citizens voted to put signs on the bridge prohibiting driving across the bridge at a pace faster than a walk. So did people get to go faster on the new bridge, or not?
Back in the 1860s or 1870s, this area needed a bridge to connect the two towns. An enterprising company called “The Union Bridge Company” built and operated it until 1908 when a log jam destroyed the bridge. A ferry then operated for three years until a new bridge could be built.
The towns on either side of the “new” bridge each contributed $2,500 for the cost. The state’s history says that another $1,678 was “raised by subscription”. I’m not sure if that means people contributed to the bridge and if there was any additional benefit to them beside not having to use a ferry service.
In 1969, a truck loaded with highway salt fell through the floor of the bridge. The rear of the truck rested on the ice and the front was caught on a piece of the bridge. Meanwhile, salt spilled out of the truck, weakening the ice below.
They had to raise the truck to disengage it from the bridge and then lower it carefully onto the now weakened ice. (How it avoided going to the bottom of the river, I’ll never know.) It was dragged off the weak part of the ice, turned upright and then taken off the ice.
In more recent times, it’s had difficulties (plural) when GPS directs truck drivers across it. I included this image from The Caledonian Record website.
Years ago, I took photos of most of the bridges in the southwestern corner of the state. Somehow this bridge had missed my attention before.
On a cold late September morning, I put on a winter jacket and gloves for the drive west. This bridge is only about an hour from our house. When I arrived the cold air was causing steam to come off the river and the leaves on the hill behind the river were just beginning to turn colors.
There was not a lot on the history of the bridge. It was named after the original builder and owner, Anthony Coombs. It’s difficult today to think of someone owning a bridge. The state history of these bridges said the bridge aided in the “social and commercial development of the area”. The historical record was written nearly thirty years ago and describes the bridge as needing major repairs and that there was talk of bypassing it. From the looks of it, I tend to think that it had been repaired at some point in the past twenty-five years.
This is the bridge I almost missed. When I planned these shoots, worked from a list in the state’s guide New Hampshire Covered Bridges. I obsessed over it and thought I had all of them but I missed this one. The ironic thing was that I obsessed over the list because I didn’t want to drive three hours to an area and later discover that I’d missed a bridge there. That was almost exactly my fate.
I was saved by the fact that this bridge is right next to the main route through the area, U.S. Route 3. I passed it on my way north to Pittsburg and then again on the way back. Something didn’t make sense, so I checked the list from my phone and found that this bridge was indeed on the list.
According to the state book on these bridges, “the bridge was built by Captain Charles Richardson and his son. When U.S. Route 3 was reconstructed in 1939, the Groveton covered bridge was bypassed.”
Groveton was one of the areas hard hit by the closing of paper mills in the North Country. Diamond International Papers was a long time employer in the area. The mill was sold in 2008 and then changed hands a number of times before closing. There was talk of an LNG plant being located there, as well as a biomass energy plant and selling the old mill for scrap. I’m not sure of the status of any of these plans.
The steam locomotive was used as a switch engine by another paper mill in the area, the Odell Manufacturing Company. It was last used in the mid-1960s. The community decorates it every year at Christmas.
During the 1940 and 50s, the bridge had some structural problems that required a lot of work. This is a fairly busy bridge and having it tied up with maintenance was not ideal. The townspeople voted to replace the bridge with a new steel bridge.
Well, this would not do. The bridge is a favorite of photographers and painters because of it’s positioning with the church next to it and the hills behind them. There was an outcry that resulted in the state coming in to help save the bridge.
The bridge was built in 1862. In the 1890s, flood waters washed out a pier in the center of the bridge and washed the entire bridge downstream. Teams of oxen were used to haul the bridge back and set it on new stone piers.
My plan was to photograph this bridge first and then make my way north taking pictures of other bridges as I went. As you can see from the photo above, when I reached this bridge, the area was still very much covered in a thick fog. I took a few photos and then drove up to the northernmost bridge and worked my way back to this one.
This bridge has the distinction of being the most northerly Connecticut River bridge connecting Vermont and New Hampshire. The Connecticut River separates the two states but any bridges north of here are all in New Hampshire where the river originates from Lake Francis.
The Columbia Bridge was built in 1912. It replaced an earlier bridge which had been destroyed by fire in 1911. I find it interesting that it is only open on one side.
This bridge was built over the Connecticut River to join two communities. In 1876, the town of Pittsburgh, NH voted to build the bridge. Given that there are no records on the construction of the bridge, it is assumed it was built that year. In 1878, the Town of Pittsburgh asked officials in Clarksville for some compensation for the construction of the bridge because it serves both towns. The town of Clarksville voted to not pay anything. The moral of the story is to negotiate your terms before you build your bridge.
On a happier note, the bridge was rehabilitated in 1974. The $6,700 price tag was shared by Pittsburg and Clarksville with additional funds from the state.
The bridge was built at the site of Fletchers Mill. (I took the first image standing on the ruined foundations of the mill.) Fletchers Mill was built in 1815 when this area was known as the Indian Stream Territory. The water powered mill had two floors, one milled grain and the other was a saw mill. A mill was essential to the development of the region.
I first heard of this recreational trail in the White Mountains just a few months ago. The trail parallels the Presidential Range in the White Mountains. You don’t go up the mountains as much as by them. But you can see them in all their majesty. I did a nine mile section of the trail last weekend.
This is an interesting little bridge up near the Canadian border. As you can see it’s been bypassed by another bridge that is wooden but not covered. Note the extra layer of boards where the rubber meets the road so to speak on the uncovered bridge. That will help the wooden deck hold up over time.
According to the state’s catalog of the bridges “Little is known about this bridge and nothing has been recorded in the town records. It has now been bypassed. The bridge is closed to all but pedestrian traffic.” There is however a record that it was built in 1858.
Perry Stream which runs below the bridge is popular for fishing. I imagine this bridge is a good place to hang out when your done fishing or to stop while traveling around on an ATV.
While many of the bridges are maintained by the state or the town, volunteers take care of the cleaning and maintenance of the River Road Bridge.