Sheffield in Berkshire County, Massachusetts — The American Northeast (New England)
Reconstruction of 1854 Covered Bridge
The event that triggered that decision was a lawsuit against the town for damages to cattle passing over the Hubbard Bridge. The Hubbard was a long device, built by the first settlers. In addition to some traffic by farmers and animals, it was used by post riders who carried mail over the Hartford trail to Boardman Street, then across the log span to deliver the mail to some convenient place in the Village.
The covered bridge was built on the west bank of the Housatonic and then rolled out and anchored to position over the water on the abutments. It followed the style of the Towne Bridge, patented in 1820. It used a structural lattice truss of crossed members. The lattice boards were pinned to place with wooden pegs or “trunnels”.
Many of the truss styles had been proven in barn structures and were adapted by bridge builders. These were straightforward expressions of functional structure or architecture.
Covering a bridge offered protection against weather for humans and animals, but
One hundred years after the bridge was built, some timbers and framework were replaced and completely new siding was put on the north side. In 1967 the capacity was limited to three tons, and in 1974 the bridge was closed to all vehicular traffic.
Covered bridges are thought of as an important link in American history and mark the differences between horse and buggy traffic and the greater speeds and weight of the automobile and heavy equipment.
Marble quarried from Sheffield, used in the east to form the abutment is the same as the Sheffield marble used in the construction of one section of the Washington Monument. In this use of materials the bridge is kin to that great monument in Washington.
Extensive authentic restoration was carried out in 1981 by Milton Graton of Ashland, N. H., known as the dean of covered bridge builders. He was assisted by his son Arnold and grandson Arnold, Jr., as well as by Sheffield residents who appreciated the painstaking construction methods of the old-time craftsman. This reconstruction is engineered by David Fischetti.
Countless visitors have come to see the bridge during the past 140 years, and the Sheffield Garden Club has beautified the approaches. The bridge and its setting have
In the early morning of August 13, 1994, the venerable bridge was burned to the ground!
Some materials salvaged form the earlier structures will be used for continuity in the reconstruction of this valued landmark.
Location. 42° 7.417′ N, 73° 21.3′ W. Marker is in Sheffield, Massachusetts, in Berkshire County. Marker is on Covered Bridge Lane east of S Main Street (U.S. 7), on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Sheffield MA 01257, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Off-World Incident (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); American Legion Post 340 Veterans Memorial (about 700 feet away); Barnard Park (approx. 0.8 miles away); World War II Memorial Trees (approx. 0.8 miles away); Sheffield World War I Monument (approx. 0.8 miles away); Sheffield World War II Monument (approx. 0.8 miles away); Cast Steel Bell (approx. 0.9 miles away); Old Parish Church Clock (approx. 0.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Sheffield.
More about this marker. Four photographs of the bridge appear on the marker.
Categories. • Bridges & Viaducts •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on November 2, 2010, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 1,136 times since then and 2 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on November 2, 2010, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.