The Sugar River Region has ten of the estimated 750 historic wooden covered bridges still intact in the United States. These bridges gained popularity in the mid-1800s because they had a longer lifespan than uncovered ones. Between 1825 and 1875, over 14,000 covered bridges were built, with only ten percent surviving the 20th Century. In the Sugar River Region, these historic pieces of infrastructure not only survived but are still used by cars, ATVs, and snowmobiles. These feats of engineering have become tourist destinations for enthusiasts, photographers, and history buffs.
The Cornish-Windsor Bridge spans the Connecticut River connecting the towns of Cornish, NH and Windsor, VT. It is almost 450 feet long, making it the longest covered bridge in the United States and the longest two-span covered bridge in the world. The bridge was originally built in 1866 and renovated in 1989. It is a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Blacksmith Shop Covered Bridge in Cornish was constructed in 1881 by James Tasker, who built many bridges in the area during this time. The bridge was originally used by one family and given its name because of its proximity to the blacksmith’s shop. The bridge has been in pedestrian use only since 1983 after being restored with funding from the U.S. National Parks Service. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Blow-Me-Down Bridge in the town of Cornish was built in 1877 and is one of the best-preserved covered bridges in the area. It was originally built by a private company and charged users a fee to cross. It was made toll-free in 1943.
The Dingleton Hill Covered Bridge in Cornish was built in 1882. It was primarily used by local farmers who did repairs on the bridge when necessary. Following renovation in 1983, the bridge was rededicated in the presence of the original builder’s great-grandnephew. It is on the National Register of Historic Places.
The McDermott Covered Bridge in Langdon was built in 1869 for $450. It is the third iteration of a bridge on this land, with the first built in 1790. Also known as the Cold River Bridge, it was closed to vehicular travel in 1964 for preservation. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Prentiss Covered Bridge in Langdon is the smallest covered bridge in New Hampshire, measuring thirty-four feet long. The structure was originally built in 1791. In 1805, it was taken over by the Cheshire Turnpike Company to be used as part of the turnpike from Boston to Canada. The bridge is on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Corbin Covered Bridge in Newport is one of the oldest in the region, as its approximate construction predates 1845. In 1993, a fire destroyed most of the structure; however, it has since been rebuilt.
The Pier Covered Bridge in Newport was built by the Boston and Maine Railroads in 1907, replacing a previous bridge built by the Sugar River Railroad. In the 1910s, at least 100 bridges were built using this construction method by the two railroad companies. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Wright’s Covered Bridge in Newport was built to service rail transportation in 1906. The Sugar River Railroad, while small, was vitally important as it connected the Claremont and Concord rail lines. This century-old piece of architecture is on the National Register for Historic Places.
The Meriden Covered Bridge in Plainfield is the third bridge on this site. The current version was built in 1880. This bridge has led a tumultuous life. A hurricane destroyed it in 1954, and a snowstorm destroyed it in 1977. In both instances, the structure was renovated and is now on the National Register of Historic Places.