Railroading, Adverts and Lists of What Was

In imagining The Col’s schedule as being always incredibly busy, and cyphering through the available source materials in hoping to find some clue, and some sense as to when he might have found the time to actually work directly with a Bridgewright framing one of his patent trusses and who it might have been…

I fell upon this gem of an advertisement, placed by brother Moses, agent for Stephen, in January of 1836 –

The first name on that list of sub-agents is cousin Horace, (much more on this prolific bridgewright and fellow patent holder later) builder of the Henniker and Haverhill examples listed in this ad. And also of the still existing Long, the Rowell’s, in the Long family hometown of Hopkinton NH, and just downriver from Henniker.

He also built (credit as to the builder of the Hopkinton Village Bridge was corrected in a later entry) this “Village “ example (an in-town bridge with double sidewalks) in the Contoocook Village section of Hopkinton. Removed in 1935 in a WPA Depression era makework project, it sat just upstream from the still existing covered railroad bridge

Former Contoocook Village Bridges

– In fact, we know this little girl and the scene pictured here were photographed before 1889 when the RR bridge pictured was replaced by the one still standing. Little is known about this bridge. But, it is not at all improbable that it was a Childs built Childs Truss, as Horace and his own tight-knit cadre of brothers went on to do much of their contracting and bridgwrighting work for a number of area railroads.

The RR bridge in the photo has little more overhead clearance than the Village bridge it stands beside, and was likely built in the 40’s or 50’s when Locomotives were smaller and lighter.

Amoskeag - Locally built & favored by small area RR's

The Boston & Maine quickly replaced this bridge soon after acquiring the line from the Concord & Claremont, in anticipation of the heavier rolling stock of the future.


About Will Truax

I'm a timberframer and preservation carpenter, and regularly work on Covered Bridge restoration projects. Bridgewrighting can be a tough row to hoe, for a myriad of reasons. From scheduling issues to differing opinions and philosophies on what is appropriate in methods and materials, to multiple jurisdictions still not sufficiently vetting bidders resumes - Which is to say, just because a company is on that state approved list and capable of building that seven figure overpass, this does not mean they are capable of restoring a wooden bridge... So, I have much to say about all this and more - And despite my tough row observation, I promise not to whine. View all posts by Will Truax

3 responses to “Railroading, Adverts and Lists of What Was

  • Tim Andrews, master bridge wright

    The railroad bridge in the two bridge picture was a Child’s Truss, of their own design, not a Long truss. The National Society for the Preservation of Covered Bridges Inc. has in its archives, details of both the Child’s truss and the Child’s family. Become a member of the Society and enjoy discovering the history of covered bridges through our quarterly publications, Topics and the Newsletter.


  • Fleeta K. Arthur

    You have not exhausted your search on the Long truss yet. I get back to you in time. Looking for some very important material. Keep looking at the Jackson Bridge.


    • Will Truax

      Hi Fleeta –

      Where have almost seven years gone?

      Speaking of Jackson’s, did you have a White Christmas in your part of the Hoosier State?

      Now you have me intrigued, a bit of a challenge from a fellow patent holder historian & researcher. I’ve dug pretty deep on the Colonel’s patent/s including purchase of a pristine copy of Wood’s ’66 biography and a recent reprint of Long’s “Description & Directions for Builders” – And I’ve looked particularly intently at The Jackson Bridge, thinking it key to a particularly intense interest in who it might have been who helped Long decide how it was his patent truss should be joined – I will of course continue to keep looking.

      Thanks for stopping by,

      And say hello to Marina for me.

      — Will


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