Note: Just west of Bennington, Vermont are three covered bridges I had the opportunity to visit while touring the region. Each of them can be read as their own article, but the journey to visit the covered bridges that morning was: : Silk Road, Paper Mill, and Burt Henry Covered Bridges.
I did not realize it at the moment, but passing through Silk Road Covered Bridge, I was going to be taking my parents on the scenic route to visit the next covered bridge. I could have turned around, made a left on Route 67A and headed west to the next bridge on the morning journey. Instead, my drive took us on a maze of Vermont’s narrow roads. At the end of Silk Road, I took a right onto Vail Road, followed by bearing right on Red Pine / Bard Road, before turning right onto Austin Hill Road. Turning right onto Murphy Road, I drove a short distance before the second covered bridge of the morning came into view.
I had taken roughly a three-mile journey to go approximately a mile downriver.
Parking in the dirt lot near the bridge, I stepped out to investigate the Paper Mill Covered Bridge. Unlike the Silk Road Covered Bridge, this bridge did not have the traffic that morning, which allowed me a little more time to safely explore the bridge and its surroundings. I walked out onto a grassy patch of land on the upriver side of the bridge and set up my camera. I did not know it at the time, but this patch of land was where a temporary bridge crossed the Walloomsac River in the late 1980s and early 1990s to keep heavier vehicles off the covered bridge.
The bridge stands next to the paper mill building, between Route 67A and the Walloomsac River. The bridge is similar to the Silk Road Covered Bridge, as it was built by Charles F. Sears – his father, Benjamin, built the Silk Road bridge.
The Paper Mill Covered Bridge, which is also known as Bennington Falls and Paper Mill Village Covered Bridge, was originally built in 1889. Erected with a single span and a Town Truss, the bridge has a length of one hundred and twenty-five feet and rests on stone abutments at both ends. The sides have red painted vertical boards that cover the bottom half of the bridge, with white painted boards immediately inside the bridge’s interior to help protect the entrances from the weather.
The bridge was placed on the National Registry of Historic Places on August 29, 1973. However, due to rot the covered bridge was unable to be saved and was demolished in December 1999. The new bridge was erected in early 2000 with the same design as the previous one.
There was one more spot I wanted to investigate before leaving that area. I carefully walked a short distance away from the bridge to a spot I had passed. Along the road is a waterfall created by the damming of the Walloomsac River. I soon realized that just above the covered bridge, the river splits and the dirt lot where I had parked was on an island in the Walloomsac River.
After I took a couple pictures of the man-made waterfall, I walked back to the vehicle, pulled out of the lot and passed through the Paper Mill Covered Bridge. I Made a left turn onto Route 67A and headed to the last covered bridge on my morning’s journey.