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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

West Cornwall Covered Bridge - Connecticut

The iconic red bridge has known its lonely moments, but this is not one of them. On a spanking fresh fall day, the West Cornwall Covered Bridge in West Cornwall, Connecticut is likely to be the scene of converging leaf-peepers with cameras.

Open to vehicular traffic, a minor traffic jam might occur when someone takes a little extra time to get that perfect shot.

Bridges were placed on this spot over the Housatonic River as early as the 1760s, but floods and ice swept them away. This present bridge was reckoned to have been built about 1864. It had been gray colored until 1957, when it was first painted red and took on the image of typical New England tourist brochure. According to the site mentioned below, the producers of the 1967 film, “Valley of the Dolls” used a shot of the bridge at the opening of the movie to represent an idyllic New England town.

Fame didn’t go to the bridge’s head. It’s still willing to mingle among the little people, it’s adoring fans, who cluster under its roof timbers and line up along the banks of the Housatonic as they set up for that perfect photo.

A covered bridge is a precarious structure. This one has been threatened (what hasn’t?) by the Hurricane of 1938, the 1955 flood, and a 1961 ice jam. An effort by the community in 1968 to save and preserve the bridge received the help of the Connecticut Department of Transportation to raise the bridge and insert a steel support under the roadway. Today it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

If you happen to be meandering through western Connecticut, have a look at West Cornwall’s lovely bridge. If it’s a sunny, leaf-peeping weekend and others have gotten there first, don’t mind. Get out your camera. You’ll get your turn. In the meantime, listen to the splash of the Housatonic on the stones below, and breathe the fresh air. It’s a good spot for a rest.

For more on the West Cornwall Covered Bridge, have a look at this West Cornwall Historical Society site, and this site for

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