Looking For Historic Bridges? We Got You Covered

Drone View Of Squam Lake, New Hampshire At Sunrise With A Covered Bridge

Photo by Jason Heid

New Hampshire is home to over 60 authentic covered bridges, 46 of which are over a century old. Preservation of historic covered bridges gained national momentum right here in the 1950s when Milton S. Graton of Ashland began using 19th-century craftsmanship to restore covered bridges. The Graton family still leads restoration efforts nationwide. Milton’s son, master bridgewright Arnold M. Graton of Holderness, has constructed 16 new covered bridges and restored almost 70 throughout the country. In addition, the current president of the National Society for the Preservation of Covered Bridges, Bill Caswell, resides in Hillsborough, making New Hampshire homebase for this group of volunteers who advocate nationally for preservation of historic bridges.

New Hampshire is home to several “record holder” covered bridges. The Cornish-Windsor Bridge is the longest wooden bridge in the United States and the longest two-span covered bridge in the world. There are seven historic covered railroad bridges remaining in the world and New Hampshire is home to five! Newport’s Pier Bridge is the longest at 228 feet. Clark’s Bridge at Clark’s Bears is the only covered railroad bridge still in active use. The 1889 Contoocook Railroad Bridge in Hopkinton is the oldest, and the Sulphite or Upside-Down Bridge in Franklin is the only surviving deck truss covered bridge.

Version 2Check out coveredbridgesnh.com for a complete checklist and map of the covered bridges in the Granite State. Short on time? There are clusters of historic covered bridges in the Monadnock Region (9), the Upper Valley (14), the Mount Washington Valley (9), and the North Country/Western Whites (20). Can you visit them all?

— Kim Varney Chandler, author of Covered Bridges of New Hampshire (Peter E. Randall Publisher)

Categories: Best Places New Hampshire