Covered Bridges in the Monadnock Region of New Hampshire
Seven of New Hampshire’s historic covered bridges are located in the Monadnock Region, with four of them in Swanzey, two in nearby Winchester, and one the Hancock/Greenfield town line. They are wonderful rural places to visit during your New England vacation, some offering picnicking opportunities nearby and all of them offer excellent photographic opportunities.
Carlton (Carleton) Covered Bridge is number 7 on the list of covered bridges in New Hampshire and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. It is the only 19th century Queens post truss bridge in the New Hampshire. It has a gabled roof and vertical board siding. It is 67 feet and 3 inches long, 16-1/2 feet wide. The roadway is only 12 feet 4 inches wide, so only 1 vehicle can safely pass through at a time. The bridge sits on granite abutments and is located on Carlton Road which goes over the south branch of the Ashuelot River and was built around 1869, connecting Swanzey Village with East Swanzey. The type of truss used to build the Carlton Bridge is the same type that was used to build large barns and churches. It is believed that this bridge replaced another that was at this location from 1789.
Sawyer’s Crossing (Cresson) Covered Bridge is number 6 on the list of covered bridges in New Hampshire. It spans the Ashuelot River in northern Swanzey. This bridge is also called the Cresson Bridge. It is 117 feet long and 17 feet wide. It was built in 1859 and replaced a bridge built in 1771. It has a central pier made of split granite. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.
Slate Covered Bridge is number 4 on the list of covered bridges in New Hampshire. It was built in 2001 to replace the 1862 covered bridge that was destroyed by fire in 1993. It is located in the village of Westport (part of Swanzey). The original covered bridge was 122 feet long and 17 feet wide, and had a tin roof. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978, and later rebuilt in 2001 to replace the 1862 covered bridge that was destroyed by fire in 1993.
Thompson (West Swanzey) Covered Bridge is number 5 on the list of covered bridges in New Hampshire. This bridge was built by Zadock Taft in 1832, and brings Main Street in the village of West Swanzey over the Ashuelot River. The bridge was presumably named for West Swanzey resident, Denman Thompson (1833-1911), a playwright and theatre actor who wrote the play, the Old Homestead, for which Thompson gained national recognition for his portrayal of the character of Joshua Whitcomb. It is just under 137 feet long and has spans measuring about 64 feet. Locals refer to it as the Thompson Covered Bridge, and the sign on it says “Thompson”, however the state website refers to it as the West Swanzey Covered Bridge. It is a two-span Town Lattice Truss bridge, with a stone central pier and abutments. The original West Swanzey Covered Bridge originally had two sidewalks but it now has one. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.
Coombs Covered Bridge is number 2 on the list of covered bridges in New Hampshire. Located in northern Winchester, New Hampshire, it is believed to have been built by Anthony Coombs or Anthony Coombs Jr in 1837. It is located on Coombs Bridge Road and goes across the Ashuelot River between Swanzey and Winchester, New Hampshire. It spans a little under 102 feet, sits about 11 feet higher than the river, is 107 feet long and 14 feet wide, allowing only one lane of traffic at a time. It has lattice trusses and vertical board siding with a metal gabled roof. The ends are arched and there are openings on the side walls allowing in natural light. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976 and underwent extensive renovations in 1969 and 1997.
Hancock – Greenfield (County) Covered Bridge is number 8 on the list of covered bridges in New Hampshire. It was built in 1937 and spans the Contoocook River at the town line between Hancock and Greenfield on Forest Road (historically called Old County Road). It is a Pratt Truss bridge, the first wooden covered bridge using this type of Truss. It is just over 86 feet long and a little over 27 feet wide, allowing 2 lanes of vehicles to pass. It has an asphalt shingle roof, with vertical board siding and lattice at both the top and bottom. This bridge replaced a long truss covered bridge that was built in 1852 and heavily damaged by the 1936 flood. The Hancock – Greenfield Covered Bridge was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1981.
Ashuelot Covered Bridge is number 1 on the list of covered bridges in New Hampshire. It was built across the Ashuelot River in the village of Ashuelot in the western part of Winchester in 1864-65. It connects the village on the northern bank to the railroad station which was near the southern abutment. This wooden Town Lattice truss covered bridge is about 11-1/2 feet above the water, 29 feet wide has 2 spans totaling 178 feet. It has a road in the middle with sidewalks either side. It has a central pier and stone abutments. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1981.
Where to stay:
Bridges Inn at Whitcomb House is named for the covered bridges mentioned here, is located near the Thompson Covered Bridge and is within a very short drive of six of the seven covered bridges. The Bridges Inn offers a lovely, quiet setting with five beautifully appointed guest rooms (all with private baths) named for the Coombs, Carlton, Slate, Ashuelot and Thompson Bridges. A hearty breakfast is included.
Other Monadnock Travel Council members offer opportunities for overnight, weekend or weekly accommodations https://www.monadnocktravel.com/stay.html while you explore the wonderful covered bridges and other attractions throughout the Monadnock Region.
For additional information on the region’s covered bridges, visit https://www.bridgesinn.com/covered-bridges. A wealth of information on the history and architecture of New Hampshire’s covered bridges can be found on the state’s Department of Transportation website at https://www.nh.gov/nhdhr/
Be sure to visit our site https://www.monadnocktravel.com regularly for new blogs about places in our beautiful region to visit throughout the year.
Provided by Michalene Kosinski, Antiques And Collectibles Mall of New England