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What is a Kissing Bridge? bridge

A kissing bridge is actually just another name for a covered bridge. The longest covered bridge in the United States now stands in Cornish, New Hampshire crossing the Connecticut River into Windsor, Vermont. It was designated a National Civil Engineering Landmark in 1970 by the American Society of Civil Engineers.

The Cornish-Windsor Bridge seen today is the fourth one built on that site. The first, built in 1796, was more than likely not covered and was destroyed by a flood in 1824. Two subsequent bridges were also swept away by the raging river in the floods of 1848 and 1866. In 1866 the present bridge was designed and built by James Tasker, a rural construction genius who could not read or write.

Why are Coverd Bridges Covered?

1. To keep the snow off the floor of the bridge?
2. To protect travelors from a storm?

"Those are a few of the old wives tales. The actual truth to it all is that the bridges were covered to protect the wooden trusses that held the bridge together. If the trusses were left to the sun, wind, and rain, the life expectancy was about ten years. When they were covered, their life span increased tenfold." (source: Vermont Only Web site)
It was in the 14th century that Swiss and German builders began to protect bridges by adding a roof. With timber in abundance in the New World, covered bridges were built as far west as Oregon and as far south as Alabama. The first known covered bridge in the United States was built in 1805 over the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia, PA by Timothy Palmer. Because wooden bridges are subject to fire and decay, few remain in standing in America today.

entrance to bridge

What would you do if you could walk through a covered bridge over the Connecticut River?

* look out the window to see the river?
* close your eyes and listen to the river?
* listen to the echo your voice makes?
* seek shade from the hot sun?
* seek cover from the rain or snow?



Find out about more bridges over the Connecticut River

What's a truss?