Vermont boasts of the most well-preserved and cherished of classic covered bridges in the United States. Only a few covered bridges still remain in Northfield but it still has the one of the highest number of historic covered bridges in the country.
All of these bridges were a product of the most exciting era of development in Vermont. In the late 1800’s, there was a burst of roads and highways construction which is considered to be the peak of Vermont’s transportation history. This growth spur led to the building of the famous covered bridges which are now considered to be great historical pieces worth preserving for future generations to see.
The weather in Vermont is very unpleasant during winter and covering bridges where the most practical way to protect them from the damaging effects of snow and extreme weather. Covered bridges can last up to three times longer than ordinary bridges so aside form its beauty; it was also very practical to build it in such as way that it can also serve as temporary shelter for weary travelers avoiding terrible weather.
Over a hundred covered bridges still exists in the state of Vermont. Intensive commercialization and expansion in the state’s highway systems led to the slow deterioration and inevitable neglect of these bridges. But even so, Vermont still has highest concentration of these bridges in the entire county.
Nowadays, covered bridges are protected and maintained using public funds. There are even laws protecting these historic bridges. No bridge can be demolished without the prior permission of the board that oversees the management and preservation of historical sites.
The first covered bridge in Vermont is the Northfield Falls Bridge which was built around 1872 to facilitate the infrastructural development of the town. It is also considered to be the longest in the state at around 137 feet, which is far longer compared to the other bridges within the area. There are many preserved bridges in Northfield that it’s the only state in America where one can see another covered bridge right after crossing one.
This is especially true for three of the most well-preserved bridges: the Upper Cox, Northfield Falls, and Lower Cox Covered Bridges. The only bridge that was never altered structurally in the history of Vermont is the Slaughterhouse covered bridge. It was named after a now abandoned local slaughterhouse just across the Dog River. Another popular covered bridge is the Stony Brook Covered Bridge. Said to be the last representative of the time in which Vermont saw the greatest construction of covered bridges, this bridge is now considered to be one of the most important and historically significant in the covered bridges of Northfield.
Vermont is such a historical state and the cities within it are taking great efforts to preserve historical pieces from deterioration – both buildings and bridges. The country has seen a tremendous increase of interest in preserving covered bridges and Vermont, which has one of the highest numbers of such bridges, is taking the lead.
Laws are enacted and revised whenever the need for preservation arises, and thanks to the interest of the townspeople where these bridges can be found, the future for these historic pieces looks good. A road trip to this magnificent state will surely allow one to witness the beauty and history of the covered bridges of Vermont.