nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘covered bridge

in the shelter of the covered bridge – Plumweseep Bridge, New Brunswick

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Plumweseep Bridge (Kennebecasis River #9) built 1911, not far from Sussex …

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The covered bridge in its setting … surrounded by trees, river running beneath, a field of ripened grain in the foreground, the rolling hills of the Kennebecasis Valley in the background.

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Copyright 2016 Jane Tims

 

last days of a covered bridge … French Village Bridge

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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

in the shelter of the covered bridge – Malone Bridge

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As I prepare for my fall book and art sale, I have tried to bring some of my pencil drawings into acrylic-world.

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One of my favorite covered bridge drawings depicts a tree of green apples against the backdrop of the Malone Covered Bridge near Goshen in Kings County, New Brunswick. The Malone Bridge crosses the Kennebecasis River where it is hardly more than a stream.

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From this drawing, I have done ‘apple tree, Malone Bridge’. I think this is my personal favorite of all the paintings I have done. The painting is acrylic, 18″ X 18″, gallery edges, using Paynes Grey, Ultramarine Blue, Cadmium Yellow, Titanium White and Burnt Sienna.

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September 24, 2016 ‘apple tree, Malone Bridge’  Jane Tims

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Copyright 2016 Jane Tims

 

Written by jane tims

September 30, 2016 at 7:00 am

in the shelter of the covered bridge – final manuscript

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In the last weeks, I have been working towards completion of the book-length manuscript for ‘in the shelter of the covered bridge’. It includes poems and drawings about the plants and animals living in and around some of the covered bridges in New Brunswick.

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Earlier this summer I was lucky enough to win a mentoring package from the Writers’ Federation of New Brunswick. I chose a talented, award-winning local poet to work with me on the manuscript and during the early part of the summer, with her expert guidance, I made revisions to the poems. She focused my attention on word choice, clarity and ‘showing not telling’. She also helped me with a handful of poems I thought were not salvageable and now some of these will make it into the manuscript!

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In the last few weeks, I have worked on revisions, ordering of the poems, and, hardest of all, my footnotes. Since the poems are about the remaining covered bridges in the St. John River watershed, I want to include some basic information in the footnotes as well as notes I made during my visits to each bridge. I have also worked on the drawings I will include in the manuscript.

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pickerel weed - Canal Bridge

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The process of preparing a manuscript is long and certainly goes beyond the fist few lines written on the page way back when this manuscript was just an idea. But if the way is about the journey, this has been such a memorable experience.  Best of all, I have been lucky to make the acquaintance of many of New Brunswick’s covered bridges. Last Thursday, as we returned home from a visit, we saw a double rainbow in the sky and I was able to snap a shot as we waited to take our turn crossing the covered bridge across the Rusagonis River (the Patrick Owens Bridge):

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double rainbow over the Rusagonis #2 Covered Bridge in Rusagonis August 19, 2016

double rainbow over the Rusagonis #2 Covered Bridge in Rusagonis, New Brunswick – August 19, 2016

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Copyright Jane Tims 2016

Written by jane tims

August 22, 2016 at 7:00 am

on my bookshelf – Covered Bridges of Central and Eastern Canada by Lyn and Richard Harrington

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Thanks to a friend, I have added a gem to my small collection of covered bridge books! Covered Bridges of Central and Eastern Canada, published in 1976, gives a glimpse of days when there were over a hundred covered bridges still standing in New Brunswick.

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Harrington, Lyn and Richard Harrington. Covered Bridges of Central and Eastern Canada. Toronto: McGraw-Hill Ryerson Limited, 1976.

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Covered Bridges of Central and Eastern Canada includes black and white photos (and two in colour) of many of the covered bridges of the time, including one of the Southwest Otnabog Covered Bridge on Base Gagetown.

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These photos provide a glimpse into history: the types of signage used, the vintage cars, and the land uses in the vicinity of the bridge. Photos show the stacking of wooden lobster traps and log drives on the river. From the days when the bridges were used for private notices, there are photos of a circus poster and a painted eye glass advertisement.

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The book also includes written information on the history of covered bridges, bridge construction, enemies of the covered bridge and hopes for the future. The text covers topics such as traditions and superstitions, sources of bridge names, and anecdotes. I like the detailed story of the creation of the picnic park beside the Patrick Owens Bridge in Rusagonis.

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The Chapter ‘Hope for the Future’ is informative and somewhat sad. In the 1970s The League for Rural Renewal was seen by the author as the cornerstone for covered bridge protection and appreciation.

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Since the book was published, we have lost over forty covered bridges. On the positive side, appreciation for rural landscape is still alive in New Brunswick, evidenced by the many efforts of the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure. On our visits to covered bridges we have seen new roofs, mended walls and upgrades to abutments. Some of the photos in the book show deteriorated bridges now renovated and mended.

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The book provides a list of covered bridges in New Brunswick and Quebec in 1970. Although the list includes the names of 101 covered bridges in New Brunswick, the authors say 113 bridges existed in 1974/75 when they made their visits. The book also says there were 307 covered bridges in New Brunswick in 1950. Many of the names in the list are no longer familiar in today’s covered bridge lexicon: two bridges over the Shikatehawk River in Carleton County; Windgap Brook #1 in Kings County; Southwest Long Creek in Queens County; and Chemical Creek #1 in Albert County. As a point of interest, in the 1960s, there were still three covered bridges in Nova Scotia.

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The Foreword to the book is by Milton Gregg, born in Kings County, New Brunswick – cabinet minister, recipient of the Victoria Cross for bravery in World War II and Officer of the Order of Canada. He was also the founder and head of the League for Rural Renewal mentioned above.

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I was very fortunate to receive my copy of this book from a friend and I thank him again for the gift. Amazon lists the book as available through one of their associated sellers.

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Copyright 2016 Jane Tims

on my bookshelf –  A Photo Tour of the Covered Bridges of New Brunswick by Ray Boucher

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As I make revisions to my poetry manuscript ‘in the shelter of the covered bridge’, my collection of books about covered bridges in New Brunswick provides needed reference material. Ray Boucher’s book A Photo Tour of the Covered Bridges of New Brunswick looks at the 64 covered bridges present in the province in 2008. Today only 60 of these remain.

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Ray Boucher. A Photo Tour of the Covered Bridges of New Brunswick. Kissing Bridge Publications, 2009.

A Photo Tour takes the reader county-by-county to discover New Brunswick’s covered bridges. Many of the bridges are shown in more than one photo and photos were taken in every season. I particularly like the photos showing a bridge from up or downstream.

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Now gone from this record of 64 are the Adair Bridge (North Becaguimec River #1) (lost to fire in 2009), the Aaron Clark Bridge (Canaan River #1) (lost to flooding in 2014), the Stone Ridge Bridge (Keswick River #6) (lost to fire in 2008), and the Mangrum Bridge (Becaguimec River #3) (lost to fire in 2011). My version of the book has notes added in red to indicate the 2014 and 2008 losses. The historical value of this book is the photographic record of these four bridges as well as those still standing.

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Each photo is accompanied by facts on bridge length and date of construction, and interesting notes and anecdotes on the bridge and the photographer’s visit. Since my husband accompanied me on my visits to the covered bridges I am writing about, I liked reading that this book was also a husband and wife effort!

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I was able to buy a copy of this book on Amazon.ca … my collection of books about covered bridges is growing!

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Copyright 2016 Jane Tims

on my book shelf – New Brunswick’s Covered Bridges

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As part of my project ‘in the shelter of the covered bridge’ I have collected books about covered bridges in New Brunswick. One of my favourites is a small book of photos of the 62 covered bridges existing in 2010: Brian Atkinson. New Brunswick’s Covered Bridges. Nimbus Publishing: Halifax. 2010.

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New Brunswick’s Covered Bridges is a compact hardcover, small enough to take along on an adventure spent visiting our covered bridges. The bridges are arranged by County and easily found in an index. Directions to each bridge are provided. Some of the entries include anecdotes about the bridge and all list the year the bridge was built.

The best elements of the book are Brian’s photographs. They are clear and set each bridge in its surroundings. Some are taken from unusual angles, either from an upstream or downstream vantage point. One is taken beneath the bridge! Although some offer enticing glimpses through the bridge’s entrance, none show the inside of the bridge.

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Brian’s book includes an introduction outlining the history of New Brunswick’s covered bridges. He includes information on the construction of the bridges and the origin of the signage advising folks to ‘Walk Your Horse and Save A Fine’!

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Included in the book is a preface which points out how many of our bridges are in out-of-the-way places … many New Brunswickers have never seen the most quaint and lovely of our bridges. As Brian says of one of the bridges: ‘… as pretty a spot as you can find for letting an afternoon slip by …’.

As the book tells us, in 1900 there were 4000 covered bridges in New Brunswick, in 1944, 320 and in 2010, only 62. Today, as a result of flood and fire, only 60 remain. My advice – take Brian’s book and head out for an expedition to make your own discoveries about this wonderful part of our built history.

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New Brunswick’s Covered Bridges is available through Westminster Books in Fredericton, your own local bookstore, or Nimbus Publishing

https://www.nimbus.ca/?s=New+Brunswick%27s+covered+bridges

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Copyright Jane Tims 2016

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