nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

last days of a covered bridge … French Village Bridge

with 4 comments


More sad news for New Brunswick’s covered bridge heritage …  In the past months there has been lots of discussion about the fate of the French Village Bridge, also known as Hammond River #2, near Quispamsis, Kings County.

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Built in 1912, the French Village Bridge is one of only 60 covered bridges remaining in the province. In October, 2016, the bridge was severely damaged when a loaded excavator broke through the decking and undercarriage of the bridge.  Although the government began repairs, rot was discovered in the sub-structure. After holding public meetings to consider options, the government recently announced the bridge would be demolished and a modular bridge would take its place.

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The covered bridge is endangered in New Brunswick. In 1900, there were about 400 covered bridges in the province. By 1944, there were only 320. In 1992, when we visited some of the bridges for Canada’s 125th birthday, there were 71. In 2017, as I write this, there are only 60 remaining. Loss of the French Village Bridge will bring the number to 59. Vandalism, flood, accident, fire and age claim more bridges every few years.

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The French Village Bridge is one of those included as subject matter for my upcoming poetry book in the shelter of the covered bridge. As a result, it is one of the bridges we visited to gather information on the plants and animals found there. We are also interested in the human history of the bridge, so we  took photos of the carvings inside.

 

 

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When I look at the small amount of information I have on this bridge, I am saddened and angered to know how much will be lost.  Although economic considerations are important, the loss of built heritage includes loss of community character and part of our material culture. When ‘ROGER’ and ‘B’ and ‘E’ carved their names into the beams of the bridge, they probably thought the bridge would last many years into the future.

https://janetims.com/2016/05/16/a-drawing-of-a-covered-bridge/

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Copyright Jane Tims 2017

 

Written by jane tims

August 11, 2017 at 7:09 am

4 Responses

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  1. I am deeply saddened by the decision to take this bridge down! Years ago we took our kids swimming by and under this bridge. Evening campfires with hot dogs and marshmallows, then singing around the fire were part of life in a slower paced world. Even though we weren’t on the bridge, it is a landmark for memory.

    Liked by 1 person

    Kate Simpson

    August 15, 2017 at 2:37 pm

    • My memories of this bridge are often connected with the use of the beach area, so sheltered and always the quiet of the bridge to access. Thanks for sharing your memory!

      Like

      jane tims

      August 15, 2017 at 8:52 pm

  2. I share your sadness at the loss of the covered bridge. I also regret the loss of each and every one of our country churches.

    Liked by 1 person

    roseburkeauthor

    August 11, 2017 at 7:55 am

    • We seem to be at a time when lots of the built heritage that expanded our province is coming to the end of its useful life. We are working to save the old New Maryland Anglican Church but it will take energy.

      Like

      jane tims

      August 11, 2017 at 10:58 am


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