March 16, 2010

Remaining covered bridges a scenic piece of Maine history

— From staff reports

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Staff Photo by John Ewing, Saturday, August 19, 2006: Newry's historic covered bridge spans the Sunday River in western Maine's Mahoosuc Mountains.

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STAFF PHOTO BY JOHN EWING -- Wednesday, April 9, 1997 -- The covered bridge crossing the Ossipee River between Parsonsfield and Porter.

During the 19th century, as many as 120 covered bridges spanned various rivers and streams in Maine.

Most of them have been lost to fires, floods, ice and forces of progress. Only nine of the bridges remain today. The remaining bridges are accessible year-round.

Babb's Bridge: Maine's oldest covered bridge was built in 1843. It is located off the River Road, 2 miles north of South Windham, then a half-mile west between the towns of Gorham and Windham over the Presumpscot River. The bridge burned in 1973, but it has been rebuilt.

Hemlock Bridge: Built in 1857, it is located off Route 302, three miles northwest of East Fryeburg in the town of Fryeburg over an old channel of the Saco River. It is of Paddleford truss construction with supporting laminated wooden arches.

Sunday River Bridge: The ''Artist's Bridge,'' most painted and photographed of the venerable covered structures in Maine, was built in 1872. It is located off routes 2 and 26, about four miles northwest of North Bethel in the town of Newry over the Sunday River.

Lovejoy Bridge: Located off Route 5 at South Andover, it was built over the Ellis River by the town of Andover in 1883. This Paddleford truss structure is about 70 feet long overall, making it Maine's shortest covered bridge.

Bennett Bridge: A comparatively young structure, it was built in 1901 over the Magalloway River. It is located off Route 16, 1.5 miles south of the Wilson's Mills Post Office, then west three-tenths of a mile in Lincoln Plantation.

Robyville Bridge: The only completely shingled covered bridge in Maine was built in 1876. It is located off Route 15 in Robyville village in the town of Corinth, about three miles northwest of Kenduskeag Village over the Kenduskeag Stream.

Watson Settlement Bridge: This is the farthest north and, built in 1911, the newest covered bridge in the state. It is located off Route 1, on the road to Woodstock from Littleton, over the Meduxnekeag Stream in the town of Littleton.

Low's Bridge: Originally built in 1857, the bridge across the Piscataquis is located off routes 6 and 15, three-quarters of a mile east and one mile north of Sangerville between Sangerville and Guilford. Carried away by a flood in 1987, the bridge was rebuilt in 1990.

Porter/Parsonsfield Bridge: Built by the towns of Porter and Parsonsfield in 1876, this bridge extends across the Ossipee River. The two-span structure is located off Route 160, a half-mile south of Porter.

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