After leaving the Quechee Covered Bridge, I returned to Route 4 and continued the journey westward toward the birthplace of President Calvin Coolidge. Note: More about Calvin Coolidge can be found here: President Coolidge and the Quechee Covered Bridge here: Quechee.
The next covered bridge on my list was the historic Taftsville Covered Bridge, which also crosses the Ottauquechee River, roughly three miles upstream from the Quechee Covered Bridge. I slowed as the bridge came into sight on my right. Bearing off Route 4, I turned onto Taftsville Covered Bridge Road and passed through the bridge. The opposite side of the covered bridge did not have a safe place to park, so I returned through the bridge and parked near the green historical marker at the southern edge of the bridge.
The village of Taftsville, on the eastern edge of Woodstock, takes it name from Stephen Taft who settled here in the early 1790s. Taft and his two brothers dammed the Ottauquechee River and erected a sawmill on the north bank and a metalworking shop on the south bank. The first bridge located at this spot was destroyed by flood waters in 1807. In 1811 floods destroyed the replacement bridge followed by the third one being destroyed by floods in 1828. It is not known what type of bridges stood at this sight, but it is believed they were not covered.
In 1836, Solomon Emmons III erected the current covered bridge, one of two bridges known to have been built by him. The bridge underwent repairs in 1869 after being damaged by flood waters – the bridge was repaired by Edwin Emmons, the son of the original builder. By the early 1900s, the arches were added for addition support. Interestingly, the covered bridge was erected without windows but were added to the bridge around 1914. Taftsville Covered Bridge underwent repairs from 1952-1953 and stood without major incident until Hurricane Irene struck the region in 2011. Damage closed the bridge for two years while repairs were done and it was reopened for traffic in September 2013.
Emmons erected the bridge using a design of his own – it is believed he based his bridge on designs from Switzerland bridges, which feature a truss similar to a multiple kingpost design. It has a length of 189 feet and features two spans which rest upon a pillar in the middle of the Ottauquechee River. The bridge also has two interior arches, but these were not a part of the original design but were added at some point in the early 1900s.
An older couple pulled into the lot as I was photographing the bridge. They were doing a tour of New England’s covered bridges for their fortieth anniversary. After I had the privilege of photographing them at the entrance of the bridge, they shared their story. I was amazed when they announced they had visited quite a few covered bridges – Taftsville Covered Bridge was their one hundred and first covered bridge on this tour.
I wished them safe travels as I left them to explore the bridge. While I lost their names, I sure hope they managed to visit all of the covered bridges on their list.
Note: Unfortunately, Taftsville Covered Bridge was the last of the covered bridges I was able to visit while in the area. I had planned on stopping at Middle Covered Bridge in Woodbury, but due to an event going on in town and all the traffic, I had to pass this one. Lincoln Covered Bridge, which was one I really wanted to stop at, was closed due to being hit by a vehicle a short time before. I can’t wait until I have the opportunity to return to visit the covered bridges I missed.