Taftsville Covered Bridge, Woodstock Vermont

Date added: July 06, 2024 Categories:
Looking southeast (1973)

The Taftsville bridge is one of the most extraordinary covered bridges in Vermont. Constructed in 1836 by Solomon Emmons, the bridge is the third oldest covered bridge in the state among those whose dates have been documented. Structurally the Taftsville bridge is unique, being a combination of queenpost through trusses with laminated plank arches. Despite its age, the bridge has not been extensively altered.

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.

Bridge Description

The Taftsville Covered Bridge consists of two spans, totaling 189 feet in length, supported by flanking timber queenpost through trusses augmented by laminated plank arches. The two spans are unequal in length: the southerly reaches 89 feet to the center pier, and the northerly extends 100 feet to the north abutment. The bridge is 20 feet wide, with a 16-foot roadway.

The laminated arches, which were added to the bridge after its construction (perhaps by its original builder), differ from one span to the other. The arch of the shorter southerly span consists of ten layers of lapped planks and rises nearly to the upper lateral bracing inside the bridge. The arch of the longer northerly span consists of twelve layers of lapped planks and rises only to the level of the openings that extend nearly the length of the side walls at shoulder height. The ends of the arches are embedded in the abutments and pier and are visible below the bridge. The abutments and pier are built of stone slabs without mortar, although the lower part of the pier has been faced with concrete.

The floors of both spans have been reinforced with two laminated stringers parallel to the trusses. Each stringer consists of short timbers which are tie-bolted together. During repair work in 1952-53, triangular steel knee braces were added to the upper lateral bracing inside the bridge.

On the exterior, the timbers which form the queenpost trusses (and side walls) of the bridge are sheathed with flush boards hung vertically. Similar siding protects the ends of the trusses immediately inside the portals. The gables, which overhang the bridge floor by about five feet at each end, are also sheathed with flush vertical boards. All of the siding is painted red. The roof of the bridge is covered with standing seam metal sheeting.

Taftsville Covered Bridge, Woodstock Vermont Looking northeast (1973)
Looking northeast (1973)

Taftsville Covered Bridge, Woodstock Vermont Looking southeast (1973)
Looking southeast (1973)

Taftsville Covered Bridge, Woodstock Vermont Interior of north span (1973)
Interior of north span (1973)