National Covered Bridges Recording Project: Publications

Guidelines for Rehabilitating Historic Covered Bridges (2019)

Book cover: Guidelines for Rehabilitating Historic Covered Bridges

The Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) is pleased to announce the publication of Guidelines for Rehabilitating Historic Covered Bridges (2019), edited by Christopher H. Marston, HAER Architect, and Thomas A. Vitanza, Senior Historical Architect, NPS Historic Preservation Training Center (HPTC).

The book represents a final milestone from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)-sponsored National Historic Covered Bridge Preservation (NHCBP) Program. HAER and the FHWA's Office of Infrastructure Research and Development have maintained a joint research and technology program for historic covered bridges since 2002. This partnership has also included a variety of initiatives including documentation, engineering studies, National Historic Landmark designations, conferences, a traveling exhibition, and the 2015 book, Covered Bridges and the Birth of American Engineering.

At the First National Covered Bridge Conference in Burlington, VT, in 2003, attendees adopted the "Burlington Charter for the Preservation of Historic Covered Bridges." The charter resolved to develop guidelines that adapt the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties with Guidelines for Preservation, Rehabilitation, Restoration, and Reconstruction to historic covered bridges. Focusing on rehabilitation of covered bridges, these Guidelines are organized by function of the structure. Following general principles, chapters examine superstructure, substructure, exterior envelope, site features, and safety/protection systems. The illustrated Guidelines are presented in a two-column format describing recommended and non-recommended treatments.

The book concludes with eleven covered bridge rehabilitation case studies (written by the engineers, bridgewrights, and public officials who worked on them), comprised of various truss types, locations, rehabilitation issues, and budgets. The Guidelines will be a useful resource for educating engineers, State Historic Preservation Officers (SHPOs), Departments of Transportation (DOTs), bridge owners, preservationists, and residents in maintaining these historic symbols of American engineering for future generations.

Download the Book

The file is 12.1 MB:

Reviews

  • Carr, Kim. "Rehabilitating Covered Bridges." Country Roads & City Streets [West Virginia Local Technical Assistance Program] 34, no. 2 (Summer 2019): 3.
  • Frame III, Robert M. "Reviewed Work: Guidelines for Rehabilitating Historic Covered Bridges." IA: Journal of the Society for Industrial Archeology 44, No. 1 and 2 (2018, published 2020): 194-96.
  • Gilmore, Lesley M. "Review of Guidelines for Rehabilitating Historic Covered Bridges." APT Bulletin: The Journal of Preservation Technology 52, no. 4 (2021): 66.
  • "New National Rehabilitation Guidelines for Covered Bridges Announced in Maryland." The Phoenix: A Newsletter from Preservation Maryland, July 2, 2020.

Covered Bridges and the Birth of American Engineering (2015)

Book cover: Covered Bridges and the Birth of American Engineering

The Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) is pleased to announce the publication of Covered Bridges and the Birth of American Engineering (2015), edited by HAER Historian Justine Christianson and HAER Architect Christopher H. Marston.

The book represents the culmination of research under the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)-sponsored National Historic Covered Bridge Preservation (NHCBP) Program. HAER and the FHWA's Office of Infrastructure Research and Development have maintained a joint research and technology program for historic covered bridges since 2002. This partnership has also included a variety of initiatives including documentation, engineering studies, National Historic Landmark designations, conferences, and a traveling exhibition.

This book examines the development of wood trusses and covered bridge construction, profiles the pioneering craftsmen and engineers involved, explores the function of trusses in covered bridges, and looks at the preservation and future of these distinctly American bridges. The editors have collaborated with some of the leading historians and engineers of historic covered bridges in the country to produce this volume. Contributors include Jim Barker, Lola Bennett, Joseph Conwill, Dario Gasparini, Matthew Reckard, and Rachel Sangree. Richard O'Connor and Sheila Rimal Duwadi supplied overviews of the HAER and NHCBP programs, and Michael Harrison and David Simmons provided invaluable editorial assistance.

Download the Book

The file is 72.8 MB:

Reviews

  • Frame III, Robert M. "Review: Covered Bridges and the Birth of American Engineering." IA: Journal of the Society for Industrial Archeology 41, No. 1 and 2 (2015): 153-54.
  • Hayward, Judy. "Book Review: Covered Bridges and the Birth of American Engineering." Traditional Building 29, No. 5 (October 2016): 63.
  • "Recent Publication: Covered Bridges and the Birth of American Engineering." The Federalist, No. 50 (Summer 2016): 16.
  • Scofield, David. "Book Review: Covered Bridges and the Birth of American Engineering." The Public Historian 38, No. 4 (November 2016): 329.

Last updated: February 27, 2024