More than just relics of a bygone era, covered bridges enjoy a cherished place in the public imagination and a distinctive niche in northeastern America’s regional lore and architectural history. Once, 250 covered bridges dotted the landscape of New York State. But natural disaster and human progress exacted a price, leaving only twenty-four historic bridges intact.
Here is the first detailed guide to these structures, many of which are listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Completed between 1854 and 1912, they represent a wide variety of designs—from timber and truss constructs to odd windows and walls painted in the style of an “old red barn.”
Rick L. Berfield offers an evocative look at how covered bridges came into existence and explores fully the colorful and arcane customs they inspired. “Kissing bridges,” for example, offered seclusion for sweethearts. Toll bridges appeared on an emerging turnpike system. Baptisms and weddings were conducted on those veritable platforms, which were also favored haunts for traveling sales personnel.
Brilliant color photos, driving instructions, and statistics with accompanying map make this both a practical and appealing reference, practical and appealing reference, a work that will interest both the devotee and general reader alike.
Rick L. Berfield is a civil engineer formerly with the New York State Department of Transportation.
Richard R. Wilson is president of the New York State Covered Bridge Society.
8 x 10, 84 pages, 24 color illustrations, 1 maps