Quick Overview of the Taftsville Covered Bridge:
Location: Woodstock, Vermont
How to find it: From downtown Woodstock, drive east toward New Hampshire on Route 4. In about seven minutes it will be on your left.
When it was built: 1836
What it’s known for: one of the oldest covered bridges in Vermont and the second-longest bridge in the state
Who/what can travel it: both cars and pedestrians
A visit to Woodstock, Vermont isn’t complete without a stop at the Taftsville Covered Bridge, just an eight-minute drive from the center of town.
This wooden, red bridge is not only one of the oldest covered bridges in the state but also the nation and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
It was built in 1836 and spans the Ottauquechee River, allowing both vehicles and pedestrians to make the passage from Taftsville to Hartford. It’s also the second-longest bridge in Vermont, spanning 189 feet.
More than 70 years before the bridge was constructed, Stephen Taft, a native of Uxbridge, Massachusetts, and his brother established a sawmill and a metalworking shop in the area. While there was a footbridge that allowed passage across the river, increased traffic required a bridge that would allow for better transportation of goods. The brothers and Taftsville, the town named after them, set out to build a more substantial bridge.
The first bridge they built washed away during a flood in 1807. And, unfortunately, its next two replacements also fell into floodwaters in 1811 and 1828. The town then hired Solomon Emmons III to build a more resilient replacement which resulted in the bridge that stands there today.
Although the Taftsville Covered Bridge was damaged by flooding caused by Hurricane Irene in 2011, it was restored and reopened in September 2013.
A unique aspect of the Taftville Covered Bridge is that it reflects a “craftsman” bridge-building tradition that many believe was influenced by designs found in Switzerland. This earlier technique differs from other remaining covered bridges which are based on patented bridge designs.
The contrast of the bridge’s red exterior against the flowing water beneath and the green foliage surrounding it provides a picturesque setting that’s popular for tourists and photographers.
It also makes for a picture-perfect setting during the fall foliage season as the various colors pop against the rustic bridge and flowing water.
About Kerry Flatley
Kerry Flatley has lived in New England for the past 26 years. She has roots in Maine & Massachusetts, family in New Hampshire, and grew up close to the Connecticut border. She loves all that this region has to offer – the ocean, mountains, islands, history, villages, and cities. When she’s not writing about New England, she’s relaxing at home in the Boston suburbs with her two teenage daughters and husband.