Martin Covered Bridge, Plainfield Vermont

Date added: June 14, 2024 Categories:
West elevation and north portal (1974)

The Martin Covered Bridge is the only covered wood bridge to survive in the town of Marshfield. It is one of a small number of covered bridges in Vermont which were built for private roads rather than public highways; the bridge carries a farm road across the Winooski River. A locally prominent bridge contractor, Herman F. Townsend, built the Martin bridge, which remains essentially unaltered from its original design.

The covered bridges of Vermont are among its most cherished and symbolic historic resources. About one hundred of the bridges still stand in the state, the highest concentration by area of covered bridges in the country.

Bridge Description

The Martin Covered Bridge consists of a single span supported by two flanking timber queenpost trusses. The trusses incorporate iron suspension rods which extend from upper apexes of the diagonal braces to the bottom chords. The structure rests on abutments built of stone blocks and slabs laid dry in alternating courses of headers and stretchers.

The Martin bridge is 45 feet long at floor level. The roof projects 3.5 feet beyond the floor (and gable ends) at each portal. The bridge is 12.5 feet wide and has a 10.5-foot roadway. The wood floor consists of planks laid flat and parallel to the trusses.

On the exterior, the heavy timbers pegged together to form the trusses (and side walls) of the bridge are sheathed with unpainted flush boards hung vertically. The sheathing stops short of the eaves to leave strip openings along the tops of the walls. Under the roof overhangs at each end of the bridge, the sheathing encloses the diagonal braces which support the overhangs.

The gable ends are also sheathed with unpainted flush boards hung vertically. The portal openings are rectangular with diagonal upper corners. The medium-pitch gable roof is covered with wood shingles.

Martin Covered Bridge, Plainfield Vermont West elevation and north portal (1974)
West elevation and north portal (1974)