Covered bridges near Woodstock, Vermont–one in a series.

The Lincoln covered bridge near Woodstock, Vermont.

The Lincoln covered bridge near Woodstock, Vermont.

Covered bridges are remnants of the 19th Century, like pets, all have names because most are unique.  These bridges were covered to protect the bridge itself from the elements, namely, Vermont winters.  The cover part was an easily replaced enclosure providing protection for the much more difficult to replace structural members and roadbed.

Vermont has the greatest concentration of covered bridges in the U.S.–a total of 114.  Most are still in use.  One hundred years ago, there were over 600 covered bridges in the state.  After the flood of 1927, only 200 were left standing.  Nearly half of these 200 have since been lost to fire, development, or floods.

Pratt arch truss structure visible inside the bridge.

Pratt arch truss structure visible inside the bridge.

The Lincoln covered bridge, located in Woodstock, just off Route 4, is only about 3 miles from the October Country Inn.  Many more covered bridges can be found within an hour’s drive of Inn.

The Lincoln covered bridge is 136 feet long and spans a section of the Ottauquechee River.  It was built-in 1865 by R.W and B.H. Pinney.  This is the only bridge in the U.S. where the builders used the complex wood and metal arch patented by T. Willis Pratt 33 years earlier.  A Pratt arch truss includes vertical members and diagonals that slope down toward the center.  The interior metal diagonals are under tension under balanced loading and vertical elements under compression.