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Old Covered Bridge
Rebuilt Old Covered Bridge, June 2012, Sheffield MA.jpg
Old Covered Bridge, rebuilt in 1998
Location Sheffield, Massachusetts
Area less than one acre
Built 1837; replicated 1996
Architect Ithiel Town
NRHP reference No. 78000445
Added to NRHP November 24, 1978

The Old Covered Bridge, also known as the Upper Sheffield Covered Bridge, is a covered bridge on Covered Bridge Lane in Sheffield, Massachusetts. It is a replica of an 1837 lattice truss bridge that was destroyed by fire in 1994. At the time of its destruction it was the oldest covered bridge in Massachusetts. The bridge was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. The bridge is open to pedestrians.

Description and history

The Old Covered Bridge is located just east of the village of Sheffield Plain, spanning the Housatonic River at the ends of Covered Bridge Lane. The bridge is approached from the west by a causeway extending all the way to United States Route 7, and from the east by a causeway about 0.5 miles (0.80 km) long, both crossing the river's flood plain. The bridge is 93 feet (28 m) long, and rests on granite abutments, one of which is of 19th-century origin, while the other was the result of a 20th-century rehabilitation of the 1837 bridge. The bridge has two lattice trusses built to the patent of Ithiel Town, whose lower members have been doubled for added strength. The exterior is finished in vertical board siding, and it is covered by a gabled roof.

The 1837 bridge was one of the oldest known examples of a Town truss, built to an updated version of Town's patent published in 1835. The bridge underwent period maintenance, and was closed to traffic in 1970. The original bridge was restored in 1974 and 1981, and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. The bridge was destroyed by fire in 1994, and the replacement bridge was complete in 1996. The fire was determined to be arson, set by local teenagers. The bridge was rebuilt to plans that had been drawn during its restoration.

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