Creamery Bridge  Brattleboro, Vermont 

Bridge  Creamery Covered Bridge, Brattleboro, Vermont  Covered Bridge Record Number: 363977Record Number: 363977

Built in 1879
Retired in 2010 to a Pedestrian Bridge, as large emergency vehicles could no longer safely drive through it.  

from the "Windham County's Famous Covered Bridges, by Victor Morse, Revised and with an introduction by Richard Sanders Allen (c) by The Book Cellar, Brattleboro, Vermont 1960

Brattleboro's sole surviving covered bridge is one of the best, as far as utility and condition are concerned, to be found.  Although Creamery Bridge stands basically as it was built, it has been conscientiously repaired and reinforced and promises to last a long time.

The Covered Bridge as of yet ... can't be rented, it is being considered.  However many people use it briefly for a quick Wedding or Prom Pictures, or other Special Occasion.  Contact the Brattleboro Parks & Rec center M-F, 9-Noon, 1-5pm  for up to date info.   Phone: 802-254-5808

Built in 1879 at a total cost of $1,037.80 to replace a bridge wrecked by a freshet the previous November, the selectmen proudly reported that while the bridge cost more than it would have if local carpenters had been familiar with covered bridge building, it cost less than the estimate of A.H. Wright, noted Greenfield, Massachusetts, bridge builder.  Moreover, the lattices were half an inch thicker than his specifications and spruce lumber was used, while Wright made his estimates for hemlock.  (Many New England bridges were built of hemlock, which has proved itself durable, but spruce has been found to be better because it is lighter and has to support less of its own weight.)

Creamery Bridge was built in the same year as the Elliot Street Iron Bridge, another Whetstone Brook crossing.  Thus was provided a sort of endurance race, with the comparative durability of wooden and iron bridges at issue.  Creamery Bridge and the virtues of wood won out, for the Elliot Street Bridge was replaced in 1948.  

Among the men who built the bridge or supplied material for it were:  B. A. Clark, C. F. Thompson, S.N.Herrick, J.A. Church, Thomas Mitchell, D. W. Miller, L. G. Pratt, A. H. Stowe, H.C. Winchester, W.H. Fisher, John Hood, J. N. Herrick and T. P. Night.

The bridge is the Town Lattice construction so widely used for New England covered bridges.  The timbers are fastened to one another and to the cords at top and bottom by big wooden pins.  This type of truss was named after Ithiel Town, a Connecticut architect who invented in it 1820, some twenty-seven years before the mathematical process of designing bridges was conceived.

Creamery Bridge so called after the old Brattleboro Creamery which stood beyond it, is one of the few in the country to be painted.  It is barn red and the inside shows traces of a coat of fire-resistant whitewash applied long ago.  In keeping with its urban setting there is a street light inside.  Years ago village covered bridges often were lighted at night with oil lanterns and many a boy of the old school earned $2 a year by tending them.  

The covered sidewalk at one side was put on about 40 years ago (1920) and slate replaced shingles on the roof - two features which make the Creamery Bridge unique in Windham County.  On the west side of the bridge are traces of what was once an advertisement of the drugstore operated by George a Briggs in quarters now occupied by the Vermont National & Savings Bank.  

In recent years(1960) Creamery Bridge has received national publicity for its sleigh and reindeer mounted on the roof, all bathed in light at night.  Decorating the bridge has become an annual event sponsored by the Brattleboro Lions Club and supervised by Dr. Stanley D. Banks of that town.

Research by :

  1. Our Creamery Bridge & the Brattleboro Garden Club is now part of the Vermont Bridges web site:
  2. The Creamery Bridge in Brattleboro, Vermont is seen by thousands of tourists when they cross the Vermont State on the Molly Stark Trail.  From the Book 

    Covered Bridges of the Northeast

     By Richard Sanders Allen
  4. Picture that shows old advertising,r:19,s:0&tx=77&ty=59&biw=1042&bih=686
  6. Vermont Covered Bridge Society - We are members 2011, 2012
  7. The Brattleboro Creamery Bridge
  8. National Guide to Covered Bridges:
  9. Bridge Watch update on our Creamery Bridge
  10. Harold Stiver's photographs:
  11. National Register Nomination Information:
  12. National Register Certificate:

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Other LINKS related to Vermont Covered Bridges

The number is the World Guide to Covered Bridges (WGCB) ID number. They've assigned a unique number to every covered bridge in the world that they know of. For authentic historical covered bridges in the US, the first two digits are for the state, the next two are for the county, & the last two are the unique bridge number. I enjoy Eric Sloane's books & also Richard Sanders Allen's & Kramer Adams' covered bridge books, tho' they're somewhat dated now.

National Register of Historic Places  73000202  NRIS (National Register Information System)
Search on "covered bridge" and Vermont and Windham
Bridge Record Number:363977    Creamery Bridge Covered Bridge      NRHP/NRIS #73000202
Bridge Record Number:363982    West Dummerston Covered Bridge   NRHP/NRIS #73000207
Bridge Record Number:363978    Green River Covered Bridge              NRHP/NRIS #73000203

Map to the 5 Covered Bridges in Windham County,  Vermont (Scroll to the bottom of the page)

WayBack Machine's "The Covered Bridge Numbering System" - 
The covered bridge numbering system was devised by John Diehl of Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1953
"The system uses three numbers separated by hyphens.  The first number represents the number of the US state in alphabetical order; for example, Ohio is number 35, Alabama is 01, and Wyoming is 50.  The second number represents the county in that state.  Thus, 35-01 represents Adams County in Ohio.  Each bridge in that county can then be sequentially numbered as additional bridges are discovered or built.  For example, the Harshaville Covered Bridge in Adams County, Ohio, is given the number 35-01-02.  All known covered bridges in Ohio (past and present) have been assigned a number using this system.

When the National Society for the Preservation of Covered Bridges (NSPCB) published its first World Guide to Covered Bridges, it adopted the same system and expanded it to include additional numbers for Canadian Provinces.  Thus, New Brunswick is number 55, Ontario is number 59 and Quebec is number 61.

As covered bridges were "discovered" in countries outside northern North America, they were identified with a letter abbreviation for the country, followed by a number signifying the administrative unit of the country and a sequential number for the bridge.  For example, "MX" was used for Mexico, "A" for Austria. "S" for Switzerland, etc.  The latest edition of the World Guide includes some bridges in other countries with no designated letter abbreviation, and some have letter abbreviations which no longer reflect the current name of the country.  For example German bridges are still designated "WG" for West Germany and a Slovenian bridge is given the prefix "Y" for Yugoslovia.  One simple solution to the country identifier in the bridge numbering system for any country outside northern North America would simply use its ISO country identification letters that are used for assigning Internet domains.

As new covered bridges were "discovered" in northern North America, many were given numbers even though they were constructed in recent years without the original purpose for covering bridges; namely, to protect the mostly wooden truss from rotting.  Indeed, most of these new bridges did not even have a truss!  A committee was formed by the NSPCB to address this situation, and it was decided to try to separate these new roofed structures from "authentic" old covered bridges by giving them a letter designation.  Foot bridges would be identified with a lower-case letter and bridges large enough to handle vehicles would be given a capital letter.  The 1989 edition of the World Guide attempts to include only "authentic" covered bridges with numbers, while a companion volume entitled Romantic Shelters was published to include all lettered structures.  The "covered bridge" in Mohican State Park in Ashland County, Ohio, was designated 35-03-A because its truss consists of weathering steel.  Only bridges with wood as an integral part of the truss would receive a number designation;  all other "stringers" would receive letters.

Over the years, many old covered bridges have been modified by repairs to try to keep them in service a while longer.  Sometimes they have piers or bents added to help hold them up, while other times I-beams are put under them to carry most of the load.  The Belle Hall Covered Bridge in Licking County (35-45-01) was badly damaged by a truck, whose insurance company paid for "repairs" which consisted of adding I-beams and removing most of the old wood truss!  Other old covered bridges are almost completely destroyed by fire or flood but then are rebuilt to closely resemble the old bridge.  When this happens, a suffix "#2" is added to the bridge number to distinguish the new bridge from the old one.  The old one might also be given the suffix "G" for "gone" as might any covered bridge that exists only in photographs and memories.

A system of suffixes can be devised to include every condition which is perceived by some as a deviation from authenticity.  Then only "authentic" old covered bridges would have the simple old numbering system and all other covered structures would have suffixes. For example, the suffix "B" could be used for bypassed bridges and "M" might indicate that the bridge has been moved from its original location.  Similarly, a "T" might indicate that the truss has been modified; "R" could signify that the roof is not wooden shingles; "I" could tell of added I-beams; "^" could signify added pier(s) or bent(s) for added support; and "-" could be used on shortened bridges.   Other suffixes could be used to tell of modern roof trusses replacing the original cross bracing system and sheet metal siding used in place of side boards. Also, a suffix "N" could be added to signify that the bridge has been built or rebuilt in recent years, say after 1920.  This system of suffixes has been tested on a few of the tours posted on this web site.  Of course, the suffixes are subject to change each time the bridge is repaired.

Some additional information could also be provided for "romantic shelters" to distinguish those which are readily accessible to the public from those which are located on private property.  Perhaps a suffix "$" could be used to indicate locations with an entrance fee and a  suffix "~" could signify  bridges on private property that can be examined only by trespassing.  A "romantic shelter" with only a letter then would be accessible in a public park or adjacent to a public road, while those with a suffix would require paying for or asking for permission to see them.. "

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