Built in 1886, Gilbertville's covered bridge is located on Bridge Street just off Main Street. You'll find it just south of the major mill complex that dominates the lower village. The truss system was patented in 1820 by architect Ithiel Town and is called the Town Truss System. The design is characterized by simple planks fastened diagonally in a criss-cross system with wooden pins (or tree nails).
The bridge suffered during the hurricane of 1938. It was the scene of a dramatic rescue and was rammed at the bottom by several large oak trees that were carried downstream. The trees caused serious damage, but it was repaired. The structure's hundredth anniversary was celebrated by extensive restoration by the Graton family of Vermont, the last of the covered bridge builders. These builders were descended from Milton Graton, a lgend in the Vermont covered bridge building industry.
At present, you can't drive across the bridge because the Massachusetts Highway Department closed it in 2002 citing that it couldn't handle certain load limits. A grant has been authorized to make it safe for trucks and emergency vehicles. Repair of the bridge goes out for bid in 2009.
Pedestrians have free access to the bridge and can photograph from both sides. Ruins of old railroad sidings and factory outbuildings are visible just below the bridge site. The spot is well worth a visit.
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