nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘history

Bell Bridge

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Over the past weekend, we were inundated by heavy rains and a sudden rise in temperature. The resulting meltwater and rainwater combined to cause flooding in much of the province. There has been lots of damage to homes and roads and other infrastructure.

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One of the casualties is the Bell Covered Bridge, also known as South Oromocto River #3. Although its ultimate fate is unknown, the damage will be assessed and perhaps we will lose yet another of the 59 covered bridges remaining in the province. I am not alone in hoping this bridge can be repaired or preserved in some way as a reminder of our history and the importance of these bridges to our communities and our heritage.

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Copyright Jane Tims 2018

Written by jane tims

January 15, 2018 at 1:30 pm

New Brunswick’s covered bridges … kissing bridges

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A covered bridge is also known as a ‘kissing bridge’ – a place where a couple can steal a caress in privacy.  A covered bridge has always been a good place to leave a message about affection for one another.

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During our covered bridge visits, we’ve seen lots of examples of these messages …

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At least two notations of love in the MacFarlane Covered Bridge (Ward’s Creek #2) …

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Ron and Trish, 2014 and WR and EE, years ago … MacFarlane Bridge

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And another way of linking two sets of initials in the Marven Bridge (Belleisle Creek #2) …

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A heart links J G and CW on the Marven Bridge

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‘Just Married’ in chalk in the Moores Mills Bridge (Trout Creek #5) …

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a chalk message in the Moores Mills Covered Bridge

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And, back in the MacFarlane Bridge, an incomplete notation.  Who did LANA love?

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LANA + in the MacFarlane Covered Bridge 2015

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Copyright  2017  Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

September 1, 2017 at 7:31 am

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

changing communities

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Last week we went for a drive to the Cornhill Nursery in Kings County to buy a new cherry tree for our yard. Afterwards we took a drive to visit some of the old communities in the area. One of these communities, Whites Mountain, was a rural farming community with 17 families in 1866 (New Brunswick Provincial Archives). By 1898 the community had one post office, one church and 100 people. Today the community consists of a few farms and residences, perched on a steep hillside overlooking the hilly landscape of northern Kings County.

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On the road descending Whites Mountain, Kings County, overlooking the broad Kennebecasis Valley (September 2016)

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One of the most interesting sights on our drive may also be evidence of the farmsteads formerly in the area.  Although Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia (L.) Planch.) is native to North America, in this area it is usually associated with human habitation. In the thick woods north of the community, we found Virginia Creeper in profusion, covering the surface of the trees.

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Although there is only forest here now, perhaps the ancestors of these vines covered barns and other buildings in the area.

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Copyright 2016 Jane Tims

 

 

lost communities – an old flower garden

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Do you ever see an old flower garden, no house in sight, growing alone, expanding and reseeding where it can?

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On our drives to find old one room school houses in the landscape, we often find bits of domesticated flowers, indicating a home once flourished there. Sometimes these old gardens are all that is left of a rural community.

 

I have seen first hand, how many small rural communities in New Brunswick are little more than memories.

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A good example of this is Fredericksburg near Stanley in York County. Today it is a pleasant rural landscape with three or four homes. In 1866 Fredericksburg was a farming settlement with approximately 12 families. This information comes from an information-packed website from the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick: ‘Place Names of New Brunswick: Where is Home? New Brunswick Communities Past and Present’. By typing the name of a community, you can discover information about original land grants, the size of a community in the eighteen hundreds, how many families lived there, the population and whether there was a post office, store, or church.  http://archives.gnb.ca/exhibits/communities/Home.aspx?culture=en-CA

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I am sorry these are not better photos, but the colour among all the green shows the remnants of a flower garden that someone once loved.

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Musk Mallow (Malva moschata) …

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Common Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) …

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Some more Foxglove and blue Bachelors Button (Centaurea cyanus) …

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Lupin  (Lupinus perennis). I don’t know the identity of the white flowers, but they make a lovely overall ‘bouquet’!

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Have you seen any abandoned flower gardens? Do you wonder what stories they would tell?

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Copyright 2016 Jane Tims

 

Written by jane tims

August 24, 2016 at 7:38 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

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