Bath Village Bath Covered Bridge, Bath New Hampshire
Old accounts refer to Bath "Lower Village" and "Upper Village." Downtown Bath, with the covered bridge, is the Lower Village. The Upper Village today is a lovely collection of late Federal homes, located about a mile and a half north of downtown. There is no church or store.
In addition to the famous covered bridge, Bath "Lower Village" includes a church with an unusual shingled steeple that usually appears black in photographs and an old brick general store. There were sawmills and gristmills even before the construction of the first bridge and a dam. Early in the nineteenth century, the village also saw the activity of an iron forge, and probably also a woolen mill, later a dye house.
In 1872, Conant and Company built a pulp mill just downstream from the covered bridge. This later became the Bath Lumber Company sawmill. Cushman-Rankin Company built a leather board mill on the site, which a fire destroyed in 1952. In 1953, Bath Fiber Company built a heeling board mill. A fire destroyed this in 1975 after the bridge sat vacant for some time. The power dam is still intact just downstream from the covered bridge and makes for a spectacular view.
Bath Bridge was the last covered bridge in North America to span railroad tracks. The tracks themselves are gone, but the roadbed remains, along with a telltale north of the bridge. On the old roadbed nearby is an old Boston & Maine caboose converted to a residence. The blue enamel sign saying BATH on the portal of the bridge is probably of railroad origin. With some imagination, it is still possible to see Bath as a small industrial village served by the White Mountain Railroad, with a magnificent covered bridge at its heart.