NORTH BENNINGTON -- A historic bridge that sat unused in the town landfill for almost 50 years has been restored to working order.
According to a press release from the Fund for North Bennington Inc., a community group that maintains walking trails in and around the village, the bridge carried vehicle traffic from the Civil War to the late 1950's when the town replaced it with a newer bridge. Located just south of the Paper Mill covered bridge, the 48-foot bridge carried sleighs and buggies, and eventually motor vehicles, over the Walloomsac River.
When the town decided to replace the bridge, the Bennington Museum urged the Smithsonian Institution to conserve the bridge, which was designed by Thomas Mosely in 1857. The Smithsonian declined, and the Bennington Museum stored the bridge for several years. Eventually, the bridge was broken apart and sent to the town landfill.
Now narrowed for pedestrian use, the bridge has been reconstructed and moved to a side trail to the Mile-Around Woods. The pieces were reassembled and moved with the aid of L & G Fabricators and Phil Harrington Construction. The bridge's rods and plates were broken in places from years of sitting in the landfill, but were mostly intact, meaning that L & G only needed to replace some of the parts. The newly restored bridge replaces a small wooden bridge over a stream in a horse pasture, just west of the Hiland Hall Gardens, according to the release.
Moseley's bridge design uses a "tubular" arch, a hollow triangle in cross-section, made from iron boiler plates, according to the press release. A lower "counter arch" prevents deflection of the main arch under a heavy load, and also gives the The bridge was once one of three Moseley bridges in Bennington, and one of over 200 in the region. The other two Moseley bridges in Bennington spanned Furnace Brook, near the current location of the Molly Stark School. The newly restored bridge in North Bennington is believed to be one of two remaining Moseley bridges in the country, the other being at Merrimack College in North Andover, Mass.
In order to view the bridge, the Fund recommends following the entrance path to the Mile-Around Woods from Park Street in North Bennington. Then, rather than turning into the Woods, continue straight towards the old corn-crib, then bear left to the bridge. The bridge can also be reached from a path adjoining the Hiland Hill Garden south of the Park McCullough House.
Additional photos of the bridge can be found at the Fund's website, northbennington.org/bridge .html
Derek Carson can be reached for comment at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @DerekCarsonBB.