Bennett Bridge, Lincoln Plantation - Wilson's Mills Maine

Date added: February 22, 2024 Categories: Maine Covered Bridges Paddleford Truss
Looking West (1970)

Lincoln Plantation, in Oxford County, has the New Hampshire line for its west boundary, with Parkertown on the northeast and Magalloway on the south. It is about 40 miles N.N.W. of Bethel, and 20 miles east of Colebrook, New Hampshire, the Magalloway River runs through the midst of the township southward to its junction with the Androscoggin, near Umbagog Lake. In the eastern part is Lincoln Pond, whose outlet with Abbott Brook on the western side of tributaries of the Magalloway, and the principal streams of the township. The mountains are quite numerous, and consist of Aziscoos, Observatory, Half Moon, and Deer Mountains, ranging from 1,000 to 5,000 feet in height. The rock is chiefly granite. The soil is loam, with hard pan below, Maple, birch, spruce, and fir constitute the forests. Hay was the crop chiefly raised, finding a ready sale with the lumbermen.

This town is the principal line of summer travel for Parmachene Lake, a great hunting and fishing resort. The Aziscoos Falls on the Magalloway have been damed to create Aziscoos Lake.

This plantation was formerly No. 5 Range 2. It was organized under its present name in 1875. The first settlements were started in about 1830.

In 1860 the plantation constituted a thriving farming community, but by the depression of lumber business since 1870, the population reduced in 1875 to four families. Lincoln plantation furnished & men for the Union cause during the War of the Rebellion.

The population in 1870 was 258, in 1880 it was 42 and today it is 41 people.

This bridge was built in 1901 to serve the needs of several small farms on the west side of the Magalloway which snuggle close to the New Hampshire border. A few of these farms are still occupied, but they no longer produce. Until recent years crops of hay were raised for the feeding of horses used in winter pulp cutting and logging operations. Tractors, trucks, and skidders have replaced the horse and it follows that these fields are reverting to a forest's cover. Loads of pulp and logs pass over this bridge and these cause some damage to the portals.

Bridge Description

This wooden covered bridge spans the Magalloway River as it passes near Wilson's Mills, a section of Lincoln Plantation in Oxford County. Once the traveler is oriented on U.S. Route #2, West of Rumford, or East of Bethel, they will find the village of Newry. From this village, they will proceed north Maine Rt. #26 through Upton into Errol, New Hampshire, and then back into Main on Rte. #16, arriving in the village of Wilson Mills; a distance traveled of 40 miles. The Magalloway River at this point is fast-moving. The setting is rural. The site of this bridge in this Northwestern section of Oxford County lies within ½ miles of the New Hampshire border. This is a mountainous region divided by a narrow valley that has been carved by the south-flowing Magalloway. This wooden, single-span, covered bridge is about 92' long 16'8" wide and 23' high from the flooring to the peak of the gable roof. The overhead clearance at the portals is 15' and the side clearance is 14'8". The bridge is built on granite block shore abutments. The basic engineering concept employed is Paddleford Truss construction, a modification of a Long Truss system. This system consists of a series of crossed braces between King post One brace being morticed, first into the King post near the bottom end, while this brace's other end is morticed into the top of the next king post. The King posts are morticed into the top and bottom chords and secured with iron bolts. In this manner, posts and crossed braces run the length of the length of the truss strengthening the bottom chord. The bottom chords of the two Trusses are tied with cross beams which provide the base for a plank floor that runs down the length of the bridge. The top chord provides a plate for roof rafters which end in the peak of the gable. Rafters support purlins to which corrugated iron roofing sections are attached completing the cover of the gable roof. The sides are boarded in up 2/3 of the height of the King posts. Boards run up and down. The ends of the gable roof, or portals, are boarded in down to the clearance, the boards again run up and down.

The bridge is not painted. Wire cables, attached to the top chords and anchored to deadmen sunk in the ground 25' from the four corners of the bridge, provide additional support for this bridge. The bridge is in active use. The structural members are sound. The fabric of the side boards is good except for the portals which have been battered by high log loads on logging trucks. The bridge is tested to support a 4-ton load.

Bennett Bridge, Lincoln Plantation - Wilson's Mills Maine Looking West (1970)
Looking West (1970)