The covered bridges of Vermont are among its most cherished and symbolic historic resources. The Coburn Covered Bridge is the only one to remain in East Montpelier. It reflects the widespread construction of covered bridges on Vermont's public highways from around 1820 to 1904, one of the highlights in Vermont's transportation history. Covered bridges were roofed and enclosed to protect the wooden structural elements from the weather, which in Vermont can be quite harsh. Little more than 100 covered bridges remain in the State, the result of expanding highway systems, intensive commercial development, and physical neglect. Still, Vermont has the greatest concentration of covered bridges in the country, and in the recent past has become dedicated to their preservation. Vermont law now protects all covered bridges and none can be torn down without the permission of the Governor and the Board of Historic Sites.
Coburn Covered Bridge
Photograph courtesy of the Central Vermont Chamber of Commerce
Coburn Covered Bridge, circa 1950
Photograph courtesy of the Vermont Historical Society
The Coburn Covered Bridge was built by Larned Coburn in the 1840s. It is 69 and a half feet long and of queenpost construction. The wood trusses and superstructure are intact and in excellent condition, although the original timber deck has been replaced with steel beams and concrete. The bridge spans the Winooski river, once called the Onion River. Mr. Coburn gave the bridge to the town in exchange for changing the path of the town road to pass by his house. The bridge, in relationship to other historic structures and the villagescape, helps to form the unique historic environment of East Montpelier.
Coburn Covered Bridge spans the Winooski river on Coburn Rd., east of Rt. 14, in East Montpelier. Be cautious of automobiles if you cross the bridge by foot