Few structures in America combine architectural ingenuity, economic necessity, and romantic idealism better than the covered bridge. Covered bridges flourished in the United States in the 19th century. Vermont, with about 104 of them, has the highest density of bridges. Vermont and New Hampshire share the Cornish-Windsor Bridge, the longest wooden covered bridge in the United States.
Individual inventiveness played an important role in the proliferation of covered bridges. As the industry grew, builders experimented and adapted each other’s designs in hopes of building stronger bridges with the fewest materials. Covered bridges grew in popularity in the early 20th century and became subjects for artists and advertisers.
[Thanks to Hank and Marlee Bickel and their Web site, http://coveredbridgesite.com, and to the Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition Service and the Montshire Museum of Science]