West Hartford Bridge

Site: V11-22
Municipality: Hartford, VT
Location: TH14 over White River, West Hartford
Site Type: Bridge
Vt Survey No: 1408-40
UTMs: (Zone 18) E: 708000. N: 4842930
National Register Nomination Information:


Crossing the White River in a moderately built-up commercial and residential area of West Hartford in the town of Hartford, Windsor County, is a riveted, single span, steel, Parker through truss bridge. This intact bridge carries Town Highway 14 across the river at the intersection with State Road 14. This typical 1927 flood replacement bridge exhibits poured concrete abutments with no skew, a two rail guardrail, inclined end panels, and an eight panel segmental top chord. Erected in 1929, the bridge is 220 ft. in length and 21.3 ft. wide. These standardized dimensions identify the West Hartford bridge as one of the many constructed in the state-wide replacement program following the disastrous 1927 flood. Furthermore, the bridge remains in operation and has not been altered and thus retains its integrity of design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling and association.

Specifically, the segmental top chord consists of the typical boxed girders with a latticed underside for support. The tensioned bottom chord is built up with side channels connected by stay plates. The first, tensioned diagonals are back to back channels(I-section) to resist torsional stresses. All other tensioned diagonals and compressed verticals in panels 3 through 8 are I-beams connected at mid height by horizontal stiffeners. There are also two, half-length, counter diagonals on the lower part of panels 5 and 6; these are built of paired channels braced by lattice bars. The top bracing consists of plate-girder struts with latticed, paired angle cross-bracing. The sway bracing has crossed, joined angles and a horizontal angle at portal height. Two panels of crossed and latticed paired angles separated by a vertical upright of the same construction supply portal-bracing. The deck is concrete slab supported by rolled, floor I-beams and 5 I-beam stringers with T-section bottom cross-bracing. The bridge is completed by a doubled guardrail built up of channels and angles on T-section stanchions.


The West Hartford bridge, built in 1929, is significant as a representative example of a Parker through truss bridge, as an important transportation link for the villages in the vicinity of the White and Ottauquechee Rivers and as one of the many replacement bridges built following Vermont's 1927 flood This single span, riveted, steel, Parker through truss carries Town Highway 14 and the Appalachian Trail over the White River just south of West Hartford village in the town of Hartford, Vermont. The bridge is of significance under criterion A for its contribution to the transportation history of Vermont. It also is eligible for the National Register under criterion C as a good example of a steel Parker through truss bridge and as an example of the design and construction standardization developed for the quick replacement of bridges destroyed in the 1927 flood. This bridge is being nominated under the Multiple Property Submission for "Metal Truss, Masonry and Concrete Bridges in Vermont" and meets the registration requirements for the metal truss bridge property type. It retains its integrity of design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling, and association.

This automobile and pedestrian bridge links West Hartford to Quechee, North Hartland and other villages along the White and Ottauquechee Rivers and provides vital communication, transportation, economic and cultural ties for the region. The West Hartford bridge is one of the 1600 bridges built following the devastating flood of 1927. This post-flood bridge replacement was one of the first examples of coordination among federal, state and private resources to design and fund the replacement of bridges. This coordination is significant in Vermont's transportation history as it made these post flood bridges a national example for later bridge building programs,

The specific design of standardized and rapidly fabricated elements which facilitated construction qualifies the West Hartford bridge under Criterion C. This and the other bridges of this era were constructed on site and standardized in their dimensions to facilitate their replacement. The West Hartford bridge and an identical one in Sharon are 220 feet in length and 21.3 feet wide, an indication of the degree of standardization. The Sharon bridge was built by the American Bridge Company, so the West Hartford bridge may also have been built by the same company. Spans of this distance were almost always Parker through trusses, a design of superior efficiency. Since the compressed top chord bears the greatest load, it must be the strongest element. On the other hand, the segmental design allows the inherent strength of an arch to be built up of regular, easily fabricated and quickly constructed members. Another innovation developed for the replacement effort was the nearly universal use of rolled steel I-beams that sped up construction.


Vermont Division for Historic Preservation. "Historic Sites and Structures Survey for Hartford." Montpelier, Vt.: 1985.

FORM PREPARED BY: William Bentley, Historic Preservation Program, Wheeler House, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT 05405. Tel: 802-656-3180. Date: June 1992.

DATE ENTERED: October 29, 1992.
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