Chiselville Covered Bridge

Sunderland, Vermont
The Chiselville Covered Bridge is a historic covered bridge that has stood in the village of Chiselville in Sunderland, Vermont since 1870.
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About This Location

Nestled in the charming village of Chiselville in Sunderland, Vermont, the Chiselville Covered Bridge stands as a testament to the state’s rich history and architectural heritage. This iconic red bridge, which stretches gracefully over Roaring Branch, is a beloved landmark that has captured the hearts of locals and visitors alike. With its distinct charm and historical significance, the bridge weaves a delightful tale of Vermont’s past.

A Bridge in Time:

The story of the Chiselville Covered Bridge unfolds in 1870 when it was meticulously constructed by the skilled hands of Daniel Oatman. The total cost of this architectural marvel was $2,307.31, a considerable sum in those days. This charming bridge was erected to carry Sunderland Hill Road over Roaring Branch, a tributary of the Battenkill River. The name “Chiselville” harkens back to a time when a bustling chisel factory once thrived in the small village that shares its name. The bridge proudly bears a sign that serves as a reminder to all who cross it, reading, “One Dollar Fine for Driving Faster Than a Walk on This Bridge.” This evokes a sense of a bygone era, where time moved at a slower pace.

A Bridge Above the Rest:

One striking characteristic of the Chiselville Covered Bridge is its impressive height, soaring approximately 40 feet above the gently flowing waters of the Roaring Branch. This elevation has earned it an alternative name, the “High Bridge.” The remarkable clearance above the river served a vital purpose during the devastating floods of November 1927, which wrought havoc on many covered bridges across Vermont. However, the Chiselville Covered Bridge remained steadfast, untouched by the river’s fury.

Engineering Marvel:

The Chiselville Covered Bridge features a Town lattice truss design, showcasing the architectural ingenuity of the past. While it has withstood the test of time admirably, the bridge faced challenges in 1971 when it suffered severe damage due to a collision between two loaded gravel trucks attempting to cross it simultaneously. In an effort to restore and reinforce this beloved structure, supporting steel girders were added in 1973, and the roadway was paved with cement. These modern enhancements, while critical for safety and stability, make it unlikely that the bridge will ever be added to the National Register of Historic Places.

A Beloved Landmark:

Today, the Chiselville Covered Bridge remains open to vehicular traffic, welcoming cars and visitors to experience its timeless allure. It serves as a popular destination for photographers seeking to capture its enduring beauty, history enthusiasts eager to connect with Vermont’s past, and sightseers looking to immerse themselves in its nostalgic charm.

A small dirt parking area located conveniently in front of the Chiselville Covered Bridge can accommodate approximately six cars, providing easy access to this beloved landmark. Parking is free, and visitors are encouraged to explore the bridge’s surroundings. Careful walk down to the base of the river to enjoy an incredible view of the old bridge.

A fun historical tidbit for movie enthusiasts: Fans of the 1987 film “Baby Boom” may recall a familiar sight—the Chiselville Covered Bridge. The bridge was featured in a scene where Diane Keaton’s character departs New York City to start a new life in fictional Hadleyville, Vermont, with her daughter, setting the stage for a quieter and more peaceful lifestyle.

The Chiselville Covered Bridge not only links the past with the present but also continues to be an emblem of Vermont’s enduring heritage. It stands as a living testament to the artistry and craftsmanship of days gone by and reminds us of the timeless beauty found in historical landmarks.

Location

Address: 412 Sunderland Hill Road, Sunderland, Vermont
Place GPS Coordinates: 43.072139, -73.133250
Parking GPS Coordinates: 43.072139, -73.133250
Parking Notes: There is a small roadside dirt parking area in front of Chiselville Covered Bridge. The parking area can hold about 6 cars. Parking is free.

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