poetry and prose about place

a walk through the covered bridge – disappearing covered bridges

with 8 comments

Last week we took a drive to re-visit some of the covered bridges we saw in 1992 as part of a special project to celebrate Canada’s 125th birthday. One of these was the Stone Ridge Covered Bridge (formally known as Keswick River #6), crossing the Keswick River at Upper Stone Ridge in York County.  I was looking forward to seeing the bridge because we had recorded some interesting carvings in 1992.  Among the usual initials, someone had craved the images of three houses, one with steps and two chimneys, and one, a cottage, on the sill of the bridge window.

A short drive on a pretty country road along the Keswick River brought us to the bridge… a metal Bailey bridge, constructed to cross the river at the point where the covered bridge had once stood.  The new bridge was sturdy and had its own charm, but it was so disappointing to know the old covered bridge was gone forever.  The Stone Ridge Covered Bridge was lost to fire on October 10, 2008.

The Stone Ridge Covered Bridge was built in 1914 and had a span of 123′ 4″ and a total length of 126′ 4″.  It had a roadway width of 14′ 10″ and a capacity of 10 T.

I wrote in our journal, on May 1, 1992: “most carvings were on the flat of the horizontal plate that formed the window sill and ran the length of the bridge”.’  I also wrote: “lots of hacking and hewing done on the window part of the sill”.  The oldest date we recorded was ‘May 9, 1951 VHA’.

Some of the other carvings on the bridge in 1992 were: ‘LA + LB’, ‘WLR 54’, ‘VHA MARCH 7, 1952’, ‘1951 [or 1957] MAY 7 WLB [and a small heart]’,  ‘KM 1952’, ‘KMB 9/55’,  and ‘BB 1951’.  There was also a separate carving of an upward arrow beside a  ‘B’ and on the next line, ‘KM A4 54’.

I wonder who was VHA and how often did he or she return to the bridge over the years?  Who was KM in 1952, and did she return, married, in 1955 with her new last name beginning with ‘B’?  Was she married on April 4, 1954 to ‘B’?  A mystery, perhaps solvable by looking into some local marriage records?!

It is sad to see the covered bridges in New Brunswick disappear, one at a time.  Some are lost due to the dramatic power of the spring freshet.  Others are lost to vandalism (fire) – every Hallowe’en residents keep a careful watch on the covered bridge in our community.   In 1992 when we did the covered bridge project, our list had 71 covered bridges.  The New Brunswick Department of Transportation website says there are presently 61 covered bridges in New Brunswick.


Copyright  Jane Tims  2012

8 Responses

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  1. Covered bridges are disappearing here too, mostly due to vandalism. I don’t know why anyone would want to burn down a covered bridge. 😦



    September 26, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    • Hi. I think we need to show kids in school that history is something that happens close to home, not just on some faraway political arena. I agree, vandalism seems so senseless. Jane


      jane tims

      September 27, 2012 at 11:23 pm

  2. Good to have a reminder of visiting a lot of covered bridges on my past trips to North America – mainly in New England as far as I remember. They always fascinated me as we don’t have them in Britain!



    September 25, 2012 at 5:57 am

    • Hi Diana. They are so lovely to walk through, cool and quiet. It is like walking into a different world! I think they evolved here to cope with the snow-loads. Jane


      jane tims

      September 27, 2012 at 11:15 pm

  3. I appreciate how you weave the history and the romance of the bridges together. They are all of a piece, aren’t they? Lovely photo.


    Carol Steel

    September 22, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    • Hi Carol. I’d like to revisit them all, but it will take years. Glad you like the photo. Jane


      jane tims

      September 27, 2012 at 11:03 pm

  4. Covered bridges are wonderful structures. They’re actually building a new one in a town not far from where I live- not quite the same as the historical ones, but nice nonetheless.


    Watching Seasons

    September 21, 2012 at 10:03 am

    • Hi. In fifty years people will look at a 2012 covered bridge with nostalgia!!! Jane


      jane tims

      September 27, 2012 at 11:01 pm

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