Showing posts with label Piscataquis River. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Piscataquis River. Show all posts

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Low's Bridge

Nosing Around Maine - Low's Bridge
Low's Bridge spans 182 years of history on the Piscataquis River.
Ice chunks flowed under it on March 22, 2012.
Photos by Gail J. VanWart

Maine’s Historic Wooden Covered Bridges; Nine Left, Guilford Claims One of Them

Guilford claims to be the Chickadee and Lilac Capital of Maine and is a town known for its efforts to promote its natural resources to create green economic opportunities, beautification and recreation. The town has been hosting a River Festival for more than half a decade and the community prides itself for the development of the Guilford Memorial River Walk that provides a place for community members and visitors to experience Bald Eagles, Osprey, Blue Heron and other natural wonders along the banks of the Piscataquis River.

Nosing Around Maine - Marker at Low's BridgeAs you travel through Guilford along Route 15 it is the Piscataquis River and a wooden covered bridge, which suddenly pops into view, that captures your attention. The Maine Department of Transportation has provided a picnic area and turnout so you can stop and appreciate the amazing structure and learn about its historic significance to the area. There is something about its presence that makes you hope it will remain long into the future, and, looking at its history, I get the feeling others have had that same hope over the past 182 years. Nosing Around Maine - Low's Bridge, Guilford, ME

In 1830, the original covered bridge was built at this location, adjacent to land once owned by an early Guilford settler named Robert Low, to provide an easy commerce route between the towns of Guilford and Sangerville, The Piscataquis River, which it spans, took the original structure down in a flood in 1832. It was rebuilt and again destroyed by floodwaters in1857. In that same year, it was reconstructed by Isaac Wharff, who hauled granite by oxen team from Guilford Mountain (over seven miles away) and Leonard Knowlton who used mathematical calculations and a patented Long-truss design to develop a sturdier bridge. The third bridge lasted for 130 years, but the river still proved to be stronger when it once again washed the bridge away in a flood on April 1, 1987. The bridge now standing in its place is a replica in appearance, but even studier to meet today’s building standards. It was designed and constructed off site then placed on the original stone-masonry abutments which were raised about three feet in hopes to avoid possible flood damage in the future. Only time will tell if it was worth the effort. Let’s hope it was.

At one time, more than 120 covered bridges graced waterways throughout the state of Maine, today, there are only nine left standing. In 1985 the Maine Department of Transportation was given the authority to maintain and preserve the states historic bridges. This included the remaining wooden covered bridges (Babbs Bridge, Hemlock Bridge, Low’s Bridge, Robyville Bridge, Watson’s Settlement Bridge, Bennett Bridge, Lovejoy Bridge, Porter Parsonsfield Bridge, and Sunday River Bridge), as well as, four other historic bridge structures (Bailey Island Bridge, Grist Mill Bridge, Sewall’s Bridge, and Wire Bridge).

© Copyright 2012 Gail J. VanWart
All Rights Reserved

If there is a place in Maine you'd like me and Blae to sniff out for you, just send us an e-mail to with "Nosing Around Maine" in the subject line, cause you can get the-ah from he-ah.