History of the Bridge
The community of West Cornwall is home to one of the last covered bridges in Connecticut. Measuring 172 feet long and 15 feet wide, the West Cornwall Covered Bridge (which carries vehicle traffic over the Housatonic River on Connecticut Route 128) is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has been a symbol of the area’s rural heritage for almost 160 years.
Attempts to build bridges at the site go back as far as 1762, but local ice storms and floods, like the Flood of 1837, claimed these early attempts at crossing the Housatonic. Research has shown that the current structure was most likely built in 1864. It is made of sturdy red spruce, a wood stronger than oak, and held together using treenails, wooden pegs that are wedged into place. It is a lattice truss design, known in the 1800s for providing light-weight yet efficient and durable load-bearing capacity.