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Thread: Covered Bridge

  1. #1
    FrankMi's Avatar
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    Covered Bridge

    Having been raised in New England, I have had the pleasure of seeing a number of old covered bridges over the years. This, however is the first 'new' covered bridge I've seen. It's in a new subdivision called Millbridge just South of Charlotte, NC.

    Covered Bridge

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Covered Bridge

    Leaving aside the merits of the image (and it's nice), covered bridges like that are just not something you see in the UK (someone will tell me I'm wrong).

    I'm wondering why whoever commissioned the bride would also commission this feature, particularly in these modern times. Is it purely aesthetic rather than having any practical purpose? And whatever the reason, good on them for investing the not inconsiderable extra funds to design and build this beautiful feature.

  3. #3
    FrankMi's Avatar
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    Re: Covered Bridge

    The sad part is that there are a number of nice features in this subdivision that were built just before the housing market downturn and the buiders of this subdivision went into bank foreclosure. The subdivision has only just gotten a new group of builders to get the project back on track towards completion.

    To answer your question, wooden bridges (which this is not) with exposed superstructures are vulnerable to rot. Covering and roofing them protects them from the weather, and so they last longer.

    In one sense, that just puts off the question. Why so many wooden bridges? And why especially in the U. S. Northeast?

    In eighteen hundred, the northeastern United States was a country in need of bridges. It is a fairly narrow coastal plain cut by many short rivers and creeks. In the "tidewater" region, these little streams and the great estuaries such as the Chesapeake and Delaware Bays had been highways and lifelines. But now the population was surging beyond the tidewater region, drawn both by the growth of agriculture and the call of water-powered industrialization. Inland farmers needed overland transport, and that meant fords or bridges. But the water-powered mills sought out the very places where the streams could not be forded -- the falls and rapids -- and they too needed transportation.

    So bridges were needed. The American northeast was a forest country: wood was a plentiful building material, especially in the remote areas where the smaller bridges were needed. And the climate favored wooden construction. The climate of the region is harsh, by European standards -- hot in the summer and icey in the winter, with a freeze-thaw cycle that would overturn stone pavings. But this sort of climate is less destructive of wood than the mild, moist climate of Britain. So wooden bridges there would be.

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    Harpo's Avatar
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    Re: Covered Bridge

    Excellent narrative, Frank. I live among hundreds of old covered bridges and have a couple less than a mile away from my house in Lancaster County PA. Its on my list to do a series of photos on covered bridges around here, even though quite a few people have already done "covered bridges of Lancaster County" photo posters and books.

    Donald, covered bridges are also seen as part of the areas history and there are preservation efforts ongoing. It adds to the charm and tourism as well.

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