November 16, 2014 / by admin / American History / No Comments

America's Covered Bridges: Practical Crossings - Nostalgic Icons

America's Covered Bridges: Practical Crossings - Nostalgic Icons

Terry E. Miller, Ronald G. Knapp, A. Chester Ong

Language: English

Pages: 272

ISBN: 0804842655

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


As many as 15,000 covered bridges were built in North America over the past 200 years. Fewer than 1,000 remain.

In America's Covered Bridges, authors Terry E. Miller and Ronald G. Knapp tell the fascinating story of these bridges, how they were built, the technological breakthroughs required to construct them and above all the dedication and skill of their builders. Each wooden bridge, whether still standing or long gone, has a story to tell about the nature of America at the time—not only about its transportational needs, but the availability of materials and the technological prowess of the people who built it.

North American covered bridges were marvels of engineering long before modern civil engineering was invented. Early American bridge builders developed revolutionary new carpentry methods to join timbers into patterns consisting of triangles or continuous arches that resulted in structures rigid enough to span long distances. Called trusses, these systems were critical to bridge construction of the day and had to be protected from the elements by a roof and siding. Few people today realize that bridges were covered to protect the trusses—not the people using the bridge! Unprotected, the trusses soon degraded and the bridge would collapse.

Illustrated with some 550 historical and contemporary photos, paintings, and technical drawings of nearly 400 different covered bridges, America's Covered Bridges offers five readable chapters on the history, design and fate of America's covered bridges, plus related bridges in Canada. Most of the contemporary photography is by master photographer A. Chester Ong of Hong Kong.

55 photo essays on the most iconic bridges remaining, including:

  • Cornish-Windsor Bridge between Vermont and New Hampshire
  • Porter-Parsonsfield Bridge, Maine
  • East Paden and West Paden (Twin Bridges), Pennsylvania
  • Philippi Bridge, West Virginia
  • Hortons Mill Bridge, Alabama
  • Medora Bridge, Indiana
  • Rock Mill Bridge, Ohio
  • Knight's Ferry Bridge, California
  • Perrault Bridge, Quebec, Canada
  • Hartland Bridge, New Brunswick, Canada

Among the featured bridges are two that were destroyed before the book could be published, New York's Blenheim Bridge during a storm and Ohio's Humpback Bridge by arson. The Permanent Bridge in Philadelphia, considered by most as the first covered bridge in America, figures prominently, as do the bridges of Lancaster County—heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country. This compendium of classic Americana includes many of the most astounding and iconic bridges ever built in the United States, including those by Timothy Palmer, Theodore Burr and Lewis Wernwag. Some, like the Columbia-Wrightsville Bridge over the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania, were a mile long.

Over time, wooden bridges eventually gave way to ones made of iron, steel and concrete. An American icon, many covered bridges became obsolete and were replaced—others simply decayed and collapsed. Many more were swept away by natural disasters and fires. America's Covered Bridges is absolutely packed with fascinating stories and information passionately told by two leading experts on this subject. The book will be of tremendous interest to anyone interested in American history, carpentry and technological change.

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147, 153, 214–15, 214–15 Kingpost truss, 26, 48, 49, 61–2, 62, 85, 113, 128, 150, 158, 168, 189, 191, 222–3 King’s Bridge, PA, 127 Kingsley Bridge, VT, 165 Knight’s Ferry Bridge, CA, 2, 248–9, 248–9 Krewson [Pass Creek] Bridge, OR, 147 Lancaster-Schuylkill [Upper Ferry or Fairmount] Bridge, PA, 28, 43, 43 Lansingburgh-Waterford Union Bridge, NY, 33, 38, 38 Leffingwell Bridge, CT, 30, 30 Lewandoski, Jan, 172–3 Lilydale Bridge, WV, 62 Lincoln Bridge, VT, 63, 64 Link’s Farm Bridge, VA,

of Fundy, the area is often shrouded in fog. (A. Chester Ong, 2012) chapter two THE EVOLUTION OF COVERED BRIDGE DESIGN The Philadelphia and Baltimore Railroad’s great rail bridge crossing the Susquehanna River between Havre de Grace and Perryville, Maryland, was near completion on July 26, 1866, when a powerful storm swept down the river valley and completely destroyed the 3,195-foot 13-span crossing. The series of tall Howe trusses reinforced with massive quadruple arches carried each of the

strength of the arch. Both are timeless, and their inclusion in truss design, including patented ones, says less about creativity than about the nature of materials. Following the establishment of the United States Patent Office in 1790, builders, architects, engineers, and dreamers had patented over 600 bridge truss designs by the end of the nineteenth century. As civil engineering moved from common sense and experience to science, patents proliferated. Only four bridge patents were issued

photo of which survives but does not reveal the truss design (Allen, 1957: 19). Little is known of a second bridge 75 feet in length at Springfield, Massachusetts, said to have been built by Howe, Whistler, and Howe’s brother-in-law, Amasa Stone (1818–83). Because Whistler was evidently impressed with Howe’s design, he contracted with Howe and Stone to build a major bridge over the Connecticut River at Springfield, completed between 1840 and 1841. Whistler built a similar bridge over the same

bridges which survived the 1913 Flood could survive just about anything. Unfortunately, that was not always true. To avoid floods of this scope in the future, the state began building a system of dams and reservoirs in western Ohio called the Miami Conservancy District. Eastern Ohio did not get this form of relief until later. The flood that began November 3, 1927, after nine inches of rain in 36 hours devastated Vermont, leaving 85 dead, 9,000 homeless, and 1,200 bridges destroyed. In St.

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