This summer I spent some time down at Salmon River. I noticed that a bunch of work was being done where the Comstock Bridge would normally be, but that didn’t strike me as strange. I mean, it’s old…it needs help sometimes. But then the other day, Dr. Gold sent me a text asking me to do a story about the rebuilding of the bridge. Apparently last winter’s ridiculous amount of snow did a number on the bridge. Thought to be one of two original covered bridges in the State, it’s kind of a big deal when it gets an overhaul. The incarnation we’re all familiar with is thought to date back to 1893 and the good Doctor is all riled up about the makeover.
According to an article on EastHaddamToday.com the goal was to reuse as much of the old materials as possible. According to Dr. Gold, that didn’t amount to enough. The easiest place to see the difference is in the color of the bridge.
According to Dr. Gold, “I think the worst part of the restoration is that the old beams in the inside are gone. They said in that article that they are trying to use the original materials, but when I walked through, they haven’t used much of the old wood at all. It looks pretty brand spanking new. They are not completely done, but I’m not holding out much hope for it being anywhere as nice as it used to be. The only thing that it looks like they saved is the criss cross doors.”
Since the doors are easily the most photographed doors in the state of Connecticut, we’re glad to see they made it through the rebuilding process. But the decades of graffitti, and initials carved into the beautiful old wood will be sorely missed. And we can’t wait until all that new wood gets grizzled and gray, like the rapidly aging CuTters.
But as we sit here and ponder this latest facelift, grumbling about the new wood, we’re trying to imagine what people were saying back in 1893 when the 1791-version got rebuilt. We like to think there was a tiny little head-shrinker wandering around with one of those giant cameras with the flap over the back, cursing the day the state got its hands on the bridge. But with over 100 years between rebuilds, we’re hoping Dr. Gold will live to see the weathered, craggy old wood return.