Union Village Covered Bridge
National Register Nomination Information:
The Union Village Covered Bridge consists of a single span supported by two flanking timber multiple kingpost trusses. A diagonal stiffening brace extends the length of each truss, rising from the floor at each portal to the top of the center kingpost. Two laminated stringers have been tie-bolted to the underside of the floor beams for reinforcement; each stringer comprises a number of shorter timbers which have been tie-bolted together. Iron rods extend diagonally between the bottom chords to serve as lower lateral braces. Short sections of steel angle stock now fulfill the function of knee braces between alternate kingposts and the top beams.
The abutments were built originally of irregular stone laid dry. Subsequently the east abutment has been faced with concrete and the west abutment capped.
The bridge is 113 feet long at floor level. The ends of the side walls flare outward so that the gable ends overhang the floor 5 feet at each portal. The bridge is 19 feet wide and has a 15 foot roadway. The wood floor, which consists of planks laid on edge parallel to the trusses, begins 6 feet inside the east portal and 2.5 feet inside the west portal; the approaches are paved.
On the exterior, the heavy timbers bolted together to form the trusses (and side walls) of the bridge are covered with unpainted flush boards hung vertically. Similar siding protects the ends of the trusses immediately inside the portals. Three large rectangular windows have been cut in each side wall. The gable ends are also sheathed with unpainted flush boards hung vertically. The medium-pitch gable roof is now covered with corrugated metal sheeting.
The Union Village Covered Bridge is the longest bridge supported by timber multiple kingpost trusses to survive in Vermont. The bridge, which crosses the Ompompanoosuc River at the village of its name, is one of two covered wood bridges remaining in the town of Thetford.
The covered bridges of Vermont are among its 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.(1) Many of these bridges are integral parts of unique architectural environments whose physical setting and cultural context have been little altered until recently. Now, however, pervasive highway expansion, intensive commercial development, and physical neglect are changing drastically the historic environment and threatening the covered bridges. The Vermont Division of Historic Sites, therefore, wishes to extend the recognition and protection of the National Register to the majority of the surviving covered bridges, including the Union Village Bridge.
Allen, Richard Sanders, Covered Bridges of the Northeast, The Stephen Greene Press, Brattleboro, Vt., 1957.
DATE ENTERED: September 17, 1974.
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