Thursday, December 9, 2010

Stark, New Hampshire

This is one of my most favorite holiday photos! My mother is a New Hampshire girl from Nashua and so she subscribes to "Yankee" magazine......New England's Magazine. Every year this picture is in the add for the New Hampshire visitors guide.

It is magical! It always draws me in and makes me want to walk right into the little church, kneel and pray and then stroll across the festive bridge while sipping on a cup of hot chocolate. Couldn't you just see yourself sledding down the hill? Some places you may never go, but you can certainly close your eyes and imagine yourself being there. Well, this is one of those dream places that I imagine being the holidays!

The bridge was constructed in 1862 and is named after General John Stark who is the author of New Hampshire's motto, "Live Free or Die".

The bridge is 134'1" long with two clear spans of 61'5" each. It has an overall width of 29'6" with a roadway width of 16'2", and a maximum vertical clearance of 11'9" in the middle of the portal (7'6" on the sides). It has sidewalks on each side. It is posted for ten tons.

The bridge was originally a simple Paddleford truss with a center pier. During the 1890s, high water removed the center pier and the bridge was washed downstream. It was brought back by men and oxen and set on new stone piers. Arches were added to strengthen the span and the center pier was removed. The bridge failed again in the 1940s and in 1954 was rehabilitated by removing the arch, adding steel, and building a center pier. During the 1950s, the people of Stark voted to replace the bridge with a new steel bridge. The outcry from artists and covered bridge enthusiasts was so great that instead, with the aid of the state, the covered ridge was restored. The site is scenic and a popular location for photographers. The Stark Bridge was featured on the town of Stark's Bicentennial Medal in 1974. A new roof was built in the summer/fall of 1982 at a cost of $18,750. The state repaired the underside of the bridge in 1983 at a cost of $35,500. The Stark Bridge is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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