STITCH LINES...... Ramblings on life as a quilter, stitcher, traveler, photographer, gardener and lover of books, cats and fine chocolate....

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Am I getting old? Or just "more mature"?

Salmon Bridge over Kennebecasis River
I must be getting old. I prefer to think of it as "more mature"... **wink. I find myself becoming more interested in things I never thought I would... like History. I hated History in school- guess I never had a really good History teacher who "turned me on" to the subject. At least I'll blame it on that for now.... But when I backpacked through Europe for 3.5 months after finishing University, and on many trips since, I have wished more than once that I could remember the history of the area, or significant site, or whatever... Laura's amazing trip and experience this past

Salmon Bridge over Kennebecasis River
summer in Germany and Poland has certainly made me want to learn more about WWII and the Holocaust. I have done a lot of reading since she was accepted for the MRH trip, and it has just fueled my desire to learn more. I guess that's a good thing. (By the way, for those of you who are interested and followed Laura's experience and her Blog, she has added to it recently; you may want to check it out here. AND - she is embarking on another great "venture" which I'm sure will turn into an adventure.. I'll be surprised if she doesn't write something more on her blog about it as it is related... More about that later....)
Okay, I'm getting off track here.... Back to recent developing interests... I find myself enjoying historical fiction- something my Mother loved reading. Never thought I would... And I'm more interested in things like older architecture. So, this past summer, I decided I would try to visit and photograph some things in my province which are aging and may not be around forever, like our Covered Bridges. I didn't accomplish as much as I had hoped, but at least I got a start. It will be an ongoing project.... I did acquire a "Backroads Atlas" for the Maritimes, which has all the back roads and covered bridges marked. It's a great help. Of course, you probably know that New Brunswick is famous for the longest covered bridge in the world: the Hartland Covered Bridge, built in 1901, is 1282 feet long, and in great condition. You can be sure I'll be visiting it for photos.... but we'll save that for another day.

Patrick Owens Bridge over Rusagonish River

 There were once more than 4,000 covered bridges in New Brunswick; currently there are about 60 remaining. Sadly they are falling victim to arsonists, vandals and natural disasters. In late August, our local paper reported that our current provincial government was considering rebuilding some of these historic structures. That thought has since fallen by the wayside... To quote John Leroux, a local architect and historian, "They (the bridges) give us a stronger sense of our past. They're like the grain elevators to Saskatchewan. When the last one is gone, that's when we'll realize how important they were."

  In the past the idea of constructing  new covered bridges has been dismissed because of modern building codes and the idea that modern materials like steel and concrete would ensure more permanency. However, one only has to look at what's going on with the Saint John Harbour bridge and our own Princess Margaret bridge  and how much money is being spent on repairing them and keeping them safe for the high traffic volumes they handle, to wonder if steel and concrete ARE better...?

You have to agree - covered bridges do have "something special". You get a feeling of the past... the human hand and the work that went into those hand hewn timbers. The tradition of tooting your car horn, and making a wish as you pass through - this just doesn't happen when you cross a "modern" bridge.

The first bridge I photographed for this little "project" (top photos above) was built in 1908. The Kennebecasis River #7.5 bridge or Salmon bridge as it is locally known, is 112 feet long, and is no longer in service. As you can see from the wild roses in bloom, it was a lovely June day, on our way back from Corn Hill Nursery - this bridge is not far from Sussex.

 Another June day saw Laura and I out photographing lupines, and we made our way out to Rusagonish to find the covered bridge there. It's probably less than 20 miles from my home, but I had never seen it. Built in 1909, the Patrick Owens bridge (otherwise known as Rusagonish River #2 bridge) is in daily use. At 115 feet, it features something not many other cb's have - a window running the entire length of the bridge on the west side. As you can see the window is also "covered" or protected by a roof. It allows one a great view of the beautiful Rusagonish River from the bridge. It was a perfect summer day when we were there - bees were buzzing, flowers were blooming and butterflies were fluttering around. Several young people were fishing under the bridge, and no I did not take a pic of the eel he caught... sorry!
 I'll continue with this photo project and share more covered bridge photos and info with you in the future.. hope you have enjoyed this little look at a piece of our past.


"History is who we are and why we are the way we are." ~ David McCullough

1 comment:

Carol said...

Pretty interesting reading. I think you are right about becoming more aware of history as we grow older. I find myself explaining to my grandsons events that happened when I was young. The Kennedys, Kent State, the protests in the 70s. Heck, when I was young the map was changing, but not as fast as it has in the last 15 years.

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