KAREN GRISWOLD- Co-Chair
VELMA IDE - Co-Chair
History Of The Haverhill-Bath Covered Bridge
Woodsville, New Hampshire
By Karen Griswold
This bridge was planned in 1827 by the towns of Bath and Haverhill, NH and completed in 1829. It was built in accordance with Towne's Patent at a cost of approximately $2,400.00. It is the first and only bridge on this site and was in continuous use until 1999, when it was dosed to vehicular traffic. It spans the Ammonoosuc River near its confluence with the Connecticut River here in Woodsville and is the oldest documented covered bridge in the United States.
Woodsville was a bustling railroad and agricultural center in the nineteenth century. Logging was also a big local industry. Each spring after the ice went out, millions of logs were floated down the Ammonoosuc and Connecticut Rivers. Often logs in the Ammonoosuc River were held up to accommodate a similar load down the Connecticut River. The old barriers can still be seen at low water near the bridge. The bridge has suffered severe damage in floods, notably the flood of 1927 when a large tree pierced the lattice work. At that time a barn also floated down the river and hit the side of the bridge.
The bridge is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It also now has a New Hampshire Historical Marker that was erected in 2005. It is possibly the oldest covered bridge in the United States and definitely the oldest Towne lattice truss covered bridge still standing. In 1996, the Haverhill-Bath Covered Bridge Committee was formed by Lee Kryger, then a resident of Woodsville, to work on saving this historic landmark. The bridge has finally been restored and it is a treasure for the area.
On August 23, 2008 a grand celebration was held for the opening of the restored bridge. Many people attended the festivities, including Lee Kryger who traveled all the way from North Carolina to see the completion of her early work.
In all, the project cost $1.3 million to restore, much of which was cobbled together through private donations, state and municipal funds and in-kind donations. The restoration work was led by the Manchester firm of Hoyle, Tanner and Associates that specializes in covered bridge rehabilitation. Where original structural features could be left, they were. Additional consulting was done by James Garvin of the New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources.
To maintain this wonderful covered bridge, it will be necessary to keep acquiring funds. If you would like to help in this cause, please make your tax-exempt check payable to the Haverhill-Bath Covered Bridge Expendable Fund, c/o Glenn English, Town Manager, Town of Haverhill, 2975 Dartmouth College Highway, North Haverhill, NH 03774.
NORTHERN New Hampshire Site Map