Scenic USA - North Carolina

Will Henry Stevens Covered Bridge

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Will Henry Stevens Covered Bridge - The Bascom Center for the Visual Arts, North Carolina

Photos by Ben Prepelka
Scenic USA Artist Website

   At the start of the 20th century, before the widespread use of steel in bridge construction, there were over 10,000 wooden covered bridges in America. Stevens Bridge Plaque - Bascom Art Center, Highlands, North Carolina A century later, all but about 800 have disappeared. One of those casualties was the Bagley Bridge in New Hampshire where it crossed the Warner River. Deemed unfit for vehicular and pedestrian traffic, city officials in Warner decided to have it removed. One of the few master covered bridgewrights in the country, Arnold M. Graton purchased the old structure in 1966 and placed it in storage. Thought to be New Hampshire's oldest covered bridge, the Bagley Bridge was removed without much public remorse.
   Forty years later, the one of a kind, old-growth white pine bridge was taken out of storage, placed on a transport and Stevens Bridge Details - Bascom Art Center, Highlands, North Carolina delivered to the Bascom Center in North Carolina. Here in Highland, Graton, with the help of DCF Engineering, reassembled the distinctive Ithiel Town lattice style bridge, creating a one-of-a-kind entrance to the art center. Nearly 60 percent of the bridge material had to be replaced, but Graton used no metal fasteners or supports of any kind. Over 1100 tree-nails, dowels and trunnels rejoined the bridge members. Replacement timbers were cut 20 years ago from Graton's family property, naturally dried and now ready for service. Completed in 2009, the 200 year old bridge is a tribute to conservation, foresight and love of these historic structures.

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