Martin's Mill Covered Bridge
National Register Nomination Information:
The Martin's Mill Covered Bridge consists of a single span supported by two flanking timber Town lattice trusses. In recent years, two laminated stringers have been added to the underside of the floor parallel to the trusses for reinforcement. Each stringer consists of short timbers tie-bolted together. Diagonal steel sway braces have also been added to the underside of the floor. The abutments which support the ends of the bridge have been rebuilt in reinforced concrete.
The bridge is 136 feet long at the bottom of the trusses; the gables overhang that length by four feet at each end. The wood floor of the bridge begins nine feet inside the north portal and eleven feet from the south portal. The bridge is 19.5 feet wide, with a 16.5-foot roadway.
On the exterior, the large planks pegged together diagonally to form the trusses (and side walls) of the bridge are sheathed with flush boards hung vertically. Similar siding protects the ends of the trusses immediately inside the portals. There are no openings or windows in the side walls of the bridge. The gable ends are also sheathed with flush vertical boards. The roof of the bridge is covered with corrugated metal sheeting.
One of two remaining covered bridges in the town of Hartland, the Martin's Mill bridge was built by James F. Tasker about 1880. Tasker, the "most prolific covered bridge builder" in Windsor County, (1) was a strictly intuitive engineer, being unable either to read or write. Despite his lack of technical training, he designed an original truss - "...a series of kingposts, light in appearance but very strong."(2) Tasker also built bridges with the more conventional lattice truss, of which the Martin's Mill bridge is an example.
Vermont's covered bridges are among the state's most cherished and symbolic historic resources. About one hundred bridges still stand in the state, the greatest concentration by area of covered bridges in the country.(3) Many of these bridges are integral parts of unique architectural environments whose physical setting and cultural context have been little altered until recently. However, extensive highway construction programs are now drastically changing the historic environment of the state. (An Interstate superhighway has been built immediately east of the Martin's Mill bridge; the embankment of the highway rises abruptly above the bridge.) The Vermont Division of Historic Sites wishes to extend the recognition and protection of the National Register to the majority of the surviving covered bridges, including the Martin's Mill bridge.
Allen, Richard Sanders, Rare Old Covered Bridges of Windsor County, The Stephen Greene Press, Brattleboro, Vt., 1962.
Allen, Richard Sanders, Covered Bridges of the Northeast, The Stephen Greene Press, Brattleboro, Vt., 1957.
DATE ENTERED: August 28, 1973.
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