This beautiful historic bridge is the only surviving lenticular through truss in New Hampshire. It is an outstanding example of a Berlin Iron Bridge Company lenticular truss with excellent historic integrity. The bridge displays all the typical details of the company's unique lenticular truss bridges. This bridge is a relatively short through truss, and perhaps due to the shallower height of the trusses that results from the short length, the portal bracing is set back and spans between the first set of vertical members, rather than between the end posts. Another unusual detail is the railings on the bridge. The wooden railings with unusual cast iron guide blocks appear to be either old or original, and they have been maintained sympathetically to this old/original design. However, the use of wooden railings is unusual, at least among surviving lenticular truss bridges.
Perhaps just as important as the significance of this bridge itself, this bridge is also an example of historic bridge preservation at its best. The town of Chichester took ownership of this bridge when a new bridge was built on a different alignment immediately south of the bridge in 1981-1982. Leaving a historic bridge standing next to a replacement bridge constructed on new alignment might seem like a no-brainer, but most frequently historic bridges are demolished after a new bridge is built, even when they are not in the way of the replacement bridge... a huge waste of money and history.
In the time since taking ownership of the bridge, Chichester has maintained and restored the bridge as needed for pedestrian use, while at the same time not altering the original design of the bridge. In 1982, the eastern end of the bridge was missing a plaque and portal cresting, and the finials on the bridge also were missing various parts. These missing features have been exactly replicated and placed back on the bridge. The bridge has a coat of attractive silver-colored paint that is in good condition. No ugly modern railings that would obstruct the view of the bridge have been added to the deck. The bridge has been made the centerpiece of a tiny roadside park designed to allow visitors to pull off of the road and visit the historic bridge. A sign on the main road points visitors to the bridge.
Be sure to view the National Register Nomination for this bridge which has a detailed discussion of this bridge.
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