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Bedell Bridge
Bedell-Covered-Bridge-postcard.jpg
Former Bedell Bridge from Vermont side, c.1960
Coordinates 44°02′43″N 72°04′27″W / 44.04528°N 72.07417°W / 44.04528; -72.07417 (Bedell Bridge)
Bedell Covered Bridge
Nearest city Newbury, Vermont and Haverhill, New Hampshire
Area 1 acre (0.4 ha)
Architectural style Burr truss covered bridge
NRHP reference No. 75002171
Added to NRHP May 28, 1975
Crosses Connecticut River
Locale Newbury, Vermont and Haverhill, New Hampshire
Characteristics
Design Burr truss covered bridge
Total length 396 ft (121 m)
History
Construction end 1805, 1823, ?, 1866, 1978
Opened July 22, 1979
Closed 1823, 1841, 1862, July 4, 1866, September 14, 1979

The Bedell Bridge was a Burr truss covered bridge that spanned the Connecticut River between Newbury, Vermont and Haverhill, New Hampshire. Until its most recent destruction in 1979, it was, with a total length of 382 feet (116 m), the second-longest covered bridge in the United States. The bridge was divided into two spans of roughly equal length, and rested on a central pier and shore abutments constructed from mortared rough stone. The eastern abutment has been shored up by the addition of a concrete footing. The bridge was 23 feet (7.0 m) wide, with a roadway width of 18.5 feet (5.6 m). Because the state line is the western low-water mark of the Connecticut River, most of the bridge was in New Hampshire; only the western abutment is in Vermont.

The site is now part of the 74-acre (30 ha) Bedell Bridge State Park in Haverhill, New Hampshire.

History

There have been five bridges on this site. The first was built in 1805 and heavily damaged in 1823. Quickly rebuilt that year, it was washed away in 1841. A third bridge was carried away by a spring flood in 1862. The fourth bridge was destroyed in a storm on July 4, 1866, and replaced the same year. This fifth bridge was in service for 92 years, until it was closed to traffic in 1958. It was scheduled for demolition in 1973 due to heavy damage that year.

A "Save the Bedell Bridge Committee" raised $250,000 to rebuild the bridge, which was completed by 1978, and included the establishment of the associated Bedell Bridge State Park in the area of the eastern abutment. The bridge was rededicated on July 22, 1979, only to be blown away again by a windstorm on September 14, 1979. The state park, as well as the abutments and a pier in the river, are all that remain.

When first built, the bridge was in private ownership, and a toll was charged to cross it. In 1916, the towns of Newbury and Haverhill purchased the bridge and eliminated the toll. Ownership of the bridge was transferred to the state of New Hampshire in 1967.

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