January 14, 2018

Introduction: The Picture Province

August 8, 2015

New Brunswick is an often bypassed - or more correctly, passed through - region of Atlantic Canada with an abundance of beauty draped along the coastlines and hundreds of miles of rivers and streams inland. What New Brunswick also has is a healthy supply of historic covered bridges, though the number of them still standing, sadly, is ever decreasing. In Canada, only the province of Quebec has more of these bridges than New Brunswick, and Ontario is the only other province that even has an historic covered bridge. [The Keremeos Red Bridge in British Columbia is often included on lists of historic covered bridges, which is fine, but since it doesn't actually have a roof, I would argue the "covered" aspect of it.]  To be clear, I am referring to the remaining covered bridges predating modern steel and concrete spans, and not to the often equally interesting replicas and dozens of new structures to be found everywhere from golf courses and theme parks to public roads and nature trails.

Over the years living here I have developed a love of these  weathered, old bridges, and at some point in the last couple of years I started going out of my way to find covered bridges on day trips.  

Bridge locations plotted and color-coded by county.

What then happened is something I have learned has happened to many people before me: books on the topic were purchased, lists were made, maps and websites were consulted, and a systematic quest to find and visit every covered bridge in the province was undertaken.  It's not as obsessive as trainspotting, but it is on a continuum.

Blog Dog 1

 For a few of us 'ponsophiles', eventually a thought starts to burn in the mind: if I am investing such an enormous amount of time and energy in this project, perhaps I should think about doing something useful with it to share, like publishing a book or devoting a website to the subject.

So, here you behold the results at the midpoint of my odyssey: I am setting out to show off each and every one of the remaining sixty-one (as of 2015 when I began this blog) historic covered bridges and to share as much information as I am able to find about them. There is a paucity of solid historical data available in either the books I've read, or online, and a trip to the Provincial Archives will be arranged to begin work on that end of things in the future.  I have already been in contact with an archivist, and she has done some research and prepared me a list of material to start with.

Blog Dog 2

Most of my bridge-seeking adventures have included the company of at least one of my nearest and dearest humans, but, if I've set out on my own, the dogs have been stalwart co-expeditioners. We're having a lot of fun with this project and I will be sad when the time comes to check off the last bridge on my list.  
As I begin this blog, I have visited/revisited 43 of the bridges in the last two years (though, as you will see, I must go back to many of them to get better photographs). Almost all the remaining bridges on my to-see list are in Carleton, Charlotte, and Madawaska counties, and since I am in the southeast, my life schedule dictates that I put things on hold until next spring and summer to make trips to see them. Lots to look forward to. 

As an aid to finding the bridges, some of which are far off the beaten track, I have embedded Google maps on each bridge's page which can be zoomed in to the exact location of the bridge - no getting messed around with incorrect GPS instructions - then zoomed out to find the preferred route(s) to get to them.

Please note also, that if you click on any of the pictures, they will open to a larger view.

South Oromocto River No.3 (Bell)

January 14, 2015

It is very sad to have to have the first blog entry of the year to be on the subject of the ruinous flooding this weekend, causing extensive damage to the Bell Bridge.  But that is the state of things in Hoyt as I write this. 

Photo Credit: Catherine Harrop/CBC

Go to the CBC story, or check Debbie McCann's facebook page for a heart breaking video she took.


September 24, 2015

August 24, 2017

Hammond River No.2 (French Village)

August, 2017:  The Hammond River No. 2 covered bridge no longer exists.  

August 24th, 2017

Well, it looks like it's all done.  From a posting on the Covered Bridges New Brunswick Facebook page today (https://www.facebook.com/groups/coveredbridgenb/), a member who lives nearby went to capture the destruction on her camera.  

Here is a link to see all Tamara Langstroth Wilson's photographs: Albums re. Destruction of the French Village Covered Bridge.  

I think I would have been in tears had I been able to get there this week. 

The Hammond River No. 2 covered bridge no longer exists.  


August 9th, 2017

A gorgeous day out, and a picnic by the river with young relations.  There seemed to be a lot of work still going on here, looking more along the line of reinforcement than destruction.  I do not know what's going on now, but will update as and when things are revealed.  Is there still hope?

August 4th, 2017.  Today's news.  It's a bit like a death in the family:  
Covered bridge across Hammond River to be replaced with modular one.

I'll be heading down for a visit and (it would seem), some last photographs of the bridge next week.  

July 25th, 2017.  Sad news today.  The bridge is in worse shape than first thought, and it is now closed indefinitely:  Discovery of Wood Rot Forces Closure

Here are links to the latest CBC news updates on this bridge which was damaged by a heavy excavator that exceeded the weight restriction, and is now closed to all traffic.  The happy news is that the bridge is going to be repaired instead of replaced. (photo credits CBC)

December 9, 2016:   Provincial Dept. of Transportation and Infrastructure news release

December 9, 2016 CBC news release: Hammond River covered bridge repairs will begin in 'immediate future'
October 21, 2016: Province uncertain over covered bridge's future as repairs continue
October 6, 2016: Excavator crashes through historic covered bridge, remains stuck


July 18, 2015

This is a bridge that can be seen clearly from Highway 1, and after passing it many times, I finally stopped to visit it today.   Another idyllic summer day, with anglers and people enjoying the water nearby.  

July 13, 2017

Irish River No.1 (Vaughan Creek)

June 29, 2017

We had a family outing to the Fundy Trail Parkway today and while the visiting relations explored the caves at St.Martins after lunch, I went back and got some pictures of the bridge.  There was a work crew on site, but the bridge was completely open to traffic.  We didn't know what to expect after the recent news reports of this being the latest bridge in the province to fail inspection (see CBC news link below).  There was a pile of steel beams beside the bridge, that I presume has been brought in to use for repairs.   I will follow the story and add information here as it unfolds.

Of the most interest to me, this was the first time I'd been in St.Martins at low tide, so I scrambled down into the mud to get a few profile photographs of the bridge from the harbor floor.  All eyes of the work crew were on me, as they must have wondered if I was someone official, or perhaps from the media.

By the time we returned from our trip along the Parkway, the tide was high and the road crew had clocked off, and the light was brighter too, so I took a few more pictures.

Good news!  Back to full working order - CBC news story July 12, 2017:  Reinforced St. Martins covered bridge able to carry full buses again

March 27th, 2016

My first visit to St. Martins in the off season.

Pictures from my first visit, around 2010, long before the blog was conceived.