Storied Crossing

In a search for one, we turn up many…

At a river crossing which in time had fallen under the gaze of a succession of bridge builders. A bit of a who’s who amongst New Hampshire bridgewrights and bridge design engineers, most of these, already spoken of here. Their work demanded, as the winds of time and happenstance, with its January thaws and their flowing ice, and log jams and rouge gales, would in turn destroy that of those they followed.

This Crossing chartered with the stoke of a pen by a man who would one day be the nation’s President. This detail and others in the crossings history brought to us in the words of a John Kimball, one time Building Agent for the City of Concord, in his annual report to the city. With a flair for pared down storytelling, he wrote with a cogency and an ability to be descriptive which is far from common, and almost unheard of in the requisite reports of a city agency administrator – Thank you Mr. Kimball

Dutton’s bridge seems to have served well. Though in time fell to a different set of circumstance, in the Spring of 1914 several “auto trucks fell through city bridges” The City Engineer was ordered to inspect every bridge in town. His resulting report recommended that “five bridges be strengthened or replaced with suitable modern structures” Sewall’s Falls was among these. It was replaced in 1915 with a Riveted Pratt through truss designed by John Storrs. (See January ’12 entry – As Mysteries Unfold) This bridge, still carrying traffic into its ninety-seventh year, is itself now slated for replacement. As ammunition in the battle for preservation of the current crossing, a bill was several years ago introduced to rename the bridge after Storrs.

While I can appreciate both the effort, (I stand in that camp) and the homage paid. Being that this succession of bridges have shared a common name, that predated even the first construction, I see it as a tie to time which should, like the bridge that now carries the name, simply continue.


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

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