Haverhill-Bath Covered Bridge, Woodsville New Hampshire

Date added: March 28, 2024 Categories: New Hampshire Covered Bridges Town Lattice Truss
South Portal and west side (1974)

The Haverhill-Bath Bridge is the first and only bridge to have been erected on its site. In March 1827 at the town meeting, the residents of Bath selected Ira Goodall, Samuel Minot, and Samuel Hutchins as a committee to confer with the selectmen of Haverhill regarding the site of a bridge between the two towns. At the next town meeting in March 1828 the subject of the bridge was not discussed or acted upon; however, in September of 1828 Bath set aside $300.00 for procuring timber and stone for a "Bridge near Alcott's Saw Mill." John H. Carbee and Moses Abbott were chosen to supervise this money and in March of 1829 Ariel Miner was given superintendency over the building of the bridge. In June 1829 Miner petitioned to be released from this position and was replaced by Moses Abbott and Leonard Walker with the restriction that the "Selectmen be a committee to adopt the moddle for building said bridge." Although no further references to the bridge are made in the town records the bridge was completed in 1829 "in accordance with Towne's Patent, and cost about $2,400"

Upon completion in 1829, the bridge was intended to provide easier access to Haverhill Center and Bath; however, between 1829 and 1830 John L. Woods purchased a mill in the area of the bridge where some small mills already existed, this development of mills by Woods and the location of Woodsville for railroad spur later in the century mark the growth in importance of Woodsville and the decline of Haverhill. Thus, the bridge as served Woodsville most of its life.

The Haverhill-Bath Bridge is thought to be the oldest covered bridge in use in New Hampshire, surviving many floods, including the flood of 1927 which caused the trunk of a tree to pierce through the lattice as well as a barn to float into the side of the bridge.

The bridge still carries traffic with a six-ton weight limit. The roadbed has been narrowed from 16'10" to 14'4" by new guardrails. Attached to the inside center point of the bridge is a sign marking the town line.

Bridge Description

The Haverhill-Bath Bridge crosses the Ammonoosuc River near its confluence with the Connecticut River in two spans of Town Lattice truss with arches added in the twentieth century. The bridge connects N.H. 135 in Bath on the north to N.H. 135 on the south in Haverhill at Woodsville village.

The lattice is constructed of 10' x 3" members, joined at each intersection by two wooden pins (some joints have added iron bolts). Each lattice member is joined in this way to six other members. The chords flank the trusses and are each made up of four pairs of boards with two pairs on either side of each truss}. The chord members are both wooden pinned and iron bolted to the lattice members and to each other. The trusses are laterally braced by 22 timbers set across the top chords, perpendicular to the truss walls; these timbers are further stabilized by wooden cross bracing between each. A similar arrangement provides lateral bracing for the bottom chord of the bridge.

Set inside the truss and rising from the faces of the abutments and pier are two pairs of laminated arches consisting of sixteen members each with overall dimensions of 10" x 32" total. The members of each arch are iron bolted together and further connected to the bridge by iron suspension rods which connect to the floor supports.

The truss rests on rectangular-shaped abutments of split stone, laid up without mortar. Both abutments have been rebuilt in concrete on top to provide a better footing for the truss, while the north abutment has had part of its west wall refaced in concrete. The center pier is also of stone laid up without mortar; it is rounded on its east side from which direction the river flows.

The roof is of corrugated metal set on a light frame supported by rafters that rise from the top outside members of the top chord and are further strengthened by supports which extend from the lower inside member of the top chord to the peak of the roof. The roof has an overall length of 277'8" and does not overhang at either end.

The wooden roadbed has a length of 256'8" and a passable width of 14'4"; it is constructed of planks laid perpendicular to the direction of the road. The difference between the road and roof measurements is accounted for by framed entrances to the bridge which are built on land and are not a part of the truss system. The north entrance has a length of 12'2" while the south entrance is 9'5" in length.

The portals of the bridge are covered in clapboards painted deep red with white trim; the west side is sheathed in vertical boards that are weathered gray. The east side contains a sidewalk with an overall width of 6'1" making the overall width of the bridge 26'6½". The sidewalk is protected by vertical sheathing to a height of 3'4" above the floor, above that the frame of the sidewalk is open, but protected by a 2' roof overhang. On the inside wall of the sidewalk, a bench extends the full length of the bridge.

The Haverhill-Bath Bridge has the numbers 29-05-04 in the World Guide to Covered Bridges published a the National Society for the Preservation of Covered Bridges; 0/2-063 assigned by the New Hampshire Department of Public Works and Highways.

When first built, the bridge had neither the sidewalk nor the arches. Both entryways have also been added. In the summer of 1973, the bridge was closed and repaired at an expense of $40,000.00. The cost of the repairs was shared by the state and the towns of Haverhill and Bath. Normal maintenance costs are divided between Haverhill and Bath.

Haverhill-Bath Covered Bridge, Woodsville New Hampshire Interior west wall (1974)
Interior west wall (1974)

Haverhill-Bath Covered Bridge, Woodsville New Hampshire South Portal and west side (1974)
South Portal and west side (1974)