Hutchins Covered Bridge: National Register of Historic Places!

“The Hutchins Covered Bridge is a wooden covered bridge that crosses the South Branch of the Trout River in Montgomery, Vermont on Hutchins Bridge Road. It was built in 1883 by Sheldon & Savannah Jewett, brothers who are credited with building most of the area’s covered bridges. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.[1]

The Hutchins Covered Bridge stands in what is now a rural area of central Montgomery, carrying the dead-end Hutchins Bridge Road over the South Branch Trout River a short way west of Vermont Route 118. It is a single-span Town lattice truss, 77 feet (23 m) long and 19.5 feet (5.9 m) wide, with a roadway width of 16 feet (4.9 m) (one lane). It has a metal gable roof, and its exterior is clad in vertical board siding, which extends around to the interior of the portals. The siding stops short of the roof eaves, leaving an open strip. The bridge deck is wood planking, and the abutments consist of dry-laid stone blocks; those at one end are laid on a large stone outcrop.[2]

The bridge was completed in 1883 by the Jewett Brothers, who operated a sawmill in Montgomery’s West Hill area. They prepared the wood for the bridges at their sawmill. The brothers are credited with building seven area surviving covered bridges, distinctive in Vermont as the highest concentration of bridges in the state with a single attributed builder.[2]

Like the nearby West Hill Covered Bridge, the Hutchins bridge was located in a bustling area at one time. Although it served a dead-end road, a butter tub company was situated there and used the bridge frequently. Also like the West Hill bridge, activity slackened and the bridge was essentially abandoned, falling into serious disrepair. At one time, large steel beams were installed below the deck, and tied to even larger beams running through the bridge over the deck to prevent it from falling into the river below. In 2009 it was reconstructed by Alpine Construction of Schuylerville, New York (the same company that rebuilt the West Hill bridge). Today the bridge shares another commonality with the West Hill bridge: the approach road is little more than a one lane gravel drive. A series of articles chronicling the work can be found at the Vermont Covered Bridges web site.[3]”-

“”The Hutchins Bridge, built in 1883 by the Jewett brothers, stands in a quiet valley out of view of the busy highway. A narrow unpaved road leads the traveler to the portal of the barn-red bridge. It is easy to imagine, in this isolated spot, that one has returned to the nineteenth century.”

However, “it would be wrong to think of the Hutchins Bridge’s history as idyllic and bucolic. This was a busy spot in 1883. Here, Joseph Hutchins’ five-lathe factory produced 2,000 butter tubs a day. The bridge resounded with the arrival of the mill workers at dawn, and again with their departure at dusk. Teams of horses clattered through, bringing logs of spruce, hemlock, and basswood, and other teams took the completed butter tubs away. The bustle stopped only when night fell. Over the years, as industry and society changed, the activity waned until it finally stopped altogether when the factory shut its doors for good.” Excerpt taken from Hutchins Bridge: A Short History.

The bridge was inspected in 1994 and found to be in very poor condition. The Vermont Agency of Transportation Covered Bridge team recommended that the bridge be closed and needed repairs be done. I-beams were installed to stabilize the bridge instead which allowed the bridge to continue to be used.

An engineering study was performed in 2006. The study identified the upper lateral bracing, trusses, flooring, and abutments in need of repair. The full report can be read here: ENGINEERING STUDY For the HUTCHINS COVERED BRIDGE.

Repair work was started in 2008 and completed in 2009 by Alpine Construction of Schuylerville, New York. Click on this link to follow the complete reconstruction project: Hutchins Bridge Finished – October 29.

Our thanks to the Town of Montgomery for allowing the posting of the Vermont Covered Bridge Society Welcome patch. For more information about the Montgomery area visit their website at”-

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