Over a covered bridge, into the past

By Taylor McClure, Special to The Record
Over a covered bridge, into the past
The Milby Covered Bridge (Photo : Taylor McClure)

Many Townshippers have a love for covered bridges and they have a significant history here in the area. Covered bridges go back to late early 19th century when Europeans were making their way over to the ‘New World’. Colonizers built covered bridges in the United States, Quebec, Ontario, and the Maritimes. By the 1800s, architects began to perfect the covered bridge. They realized that the truss was the most significant aspect. The more durable it was the longer the bridge would last. Different architects emerged with their own truss designs. In the Eastern Townships, most covered bridges followed the design of Ithiel Town, known as the Town Truss, which he created in 1820. It is the most common covered bridge to be found in the area. His design involved the lattice being made up of crossed beams that were held together by wooden pegs. Many may wonder, why cover the bridge? In essence, it was to protect the wooden materials and the roadway from deteriorating. The roof protected the bridge and the roadway from the rain and the sun, which would eventually take its toll on the structure. The covered bridges played many different roles besides serving traffic. They became known as “kissing bridges” because they became a popular place where many people shared their first kiss. It provided them with privacy. In some towns that did not have a big enough Town Hall for all of its residents, covered bridges would be closed off and used for meetings regarding political or religious issues and for community suppers. See full story in the Tuesday, August 13 edition of The Record.

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