But this page is dedicated first to a particular bridge that was burned by an arsonist in the night on March 8, 1993.
The Slate Bridge of Swanzey, located in the eastern part of New Hampshire, spanned the Ashuelot River near Westport Village just off Rt. 10 .
Judy Carey, who lives near the site, discovered the fire and called firefighters who arrived at 2:30 a.m.
"We had just opened up the hoses when the bridge cracked in half and fell in."...West Swanzey Firefighter Gerald A. Bussiere.
"The bridge was fully engulfed in flames when we got there. There wasn't a lot we could do."...Swanzey Fire Chief Jeffrey A. Hurt.
It was a lattice truss style bridge built in 1862 for $1,850.64. Today, the State's most recent estimates to replace the bridge is $900,000.
The bridge was 142'-3" long and 20'-9" wide with a roadway width of 17'-1" and a maximum clearance of 11'-6". Reinforced by four iron turn buckle rods, it was posted for 6 tons by the state department of transportation.
Built with a design developed by Ithiel Town, it remained an excellent example of Town lattice and iron turn-buckle craftsmanship and was one of four covered bridges in Swanzey before being destroyed.
The bridge name originates from the Slate family who lived on a farm along the river north of the bridge. It was the second bridge on that location, the first having been built around 1800. But, in 1842, William Wheelock was halfway across the earlier bridge with a span of four oxen when it collapsed, dropping both driver and animals into the river below. Although there were no injuries, Mr. Wheelock hired an attorney from Keene and sought damages from the town. Some things in life are eternal.
The Slate Bridge was listed as New Hampshire Bridge #4 on the National Register of Historic Places. It's World Guide Number is 29-03-06.