Note: This is a part of a series about the covered bridges in southwestern New Hampshire. While I reference the covered bridge I had come from and the one I was headed to visit, these articles can be read without needing to read the entry about the previous bridge visited. The six covered bridges visited in this journey are: Carlton, Sawyer’s Crossing, West Swanzey, Slate, Coombs and Ashuelot.
Leaving Carlton Covered Bridge, I turned onto Route 32 and headed into Swanzey. Arriving in town, we followed Sawyer’s Crossing Road for a mile to the northwest of town and our second covered bridge of the morning soon came into sight.
As we approached the bridge, I noticed two things. The first thing I immediately noted as I was fourth in line at the stop sign to pass through the bridge – it was a very busy bridge that morning, with traffic coming from both directions. The second thing I noted was there was no place to park on this side of the bridge. Passing through the bridge, I was happy to see a small parking area on the right side of the road and parking there, I got out to study the bridge.
Sawyer’s Crossing Covered Bridge – which is also known as Cresson Covered Bridge – features a covered Town’s Lattice Truss, meaning there is an outside wall to protect the truss. It has two spans for a length of one hundred and fifty-eight feet that is supported by a split granite pier that rises from the Ashuelot River. The bridge was named after the place where it crosses the Ashuelot River and also after local landowner, Thomas Cresson.
According to local tradition, townsfolk celebrated the opening of the bridge by holding a party on the first night it was open for use. Yes, they held a dance inside the bridge, complete with a band and a meal being served at midnight.
In the 1950s, Sawyer’s Crossing Covered Bridge gained popularity when the Chesterfield Cigarette Company used an image of the bridge on their Christmas edition cartons. Governor Hugh Gregg presented Arthur Godfrey, the owner of the cigarette company, with an honorary deed, making him a part-owner of the covered bridge.
On November 14, 1978, Sawyer’s Crossing Covered Bridge was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The bridge underwent reconstruction in 1983 and was closed in late 1993 and remained closed as the bridge underwent a complete rehabilitation, reopening in 1996. It remains open for vehicular traffic.
Leaving the busy covered bridge in the rearview mirror, I headed towards West Swanzey and the next covered bridge on my list to visit that morning.
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