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Trivia Question

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May 22, 2001: Trivia Question

First of all, I would like to say that I just visited your page & found it quite interesting.

Secondly, I read the trivia section specifically the "Why are covered bridges covered" and while that explanation makes perfect sense, is that the only reason? Someone told me that it was also because the horses would get spooked going across conventional bridges so they enclosed them. I was wondering if there was any truth to it or if that was a myth. If you could shed some light on this, I would appreciate it.

Brian Barcomb

Dear Mr. Barcomb: There are many stories about why covered bridges are covered, all of them interesting. Horses had been crossing bridges for centuries before bridges were covered. Now, a little history:

Timothy Palmer of Rowley Massachusetts (1751 - 1821), famed Yankee bridge builder, constructed the "Permanent Bridge" over the Schuylkill River in 1806. When the bridge was completed, the president of the bridge company suggested that it be roofed to better preserve the timbers. Palmer went further, covering the sides as well. Thus, America's first covered bridge came to be. Builders of the time felt that this extra step would extend the useful life of a timber bridge up to 40 years.

Joe Nelson

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