Autumn is that wonderful time of year when we yearn to take those road trips down lost country roads just to “ooooo” and “ahhhh” at the magical colors that “Fall’s Fashion Show” begins to reveal, or in many cases, has fully peaked with its bright orange, red and yellow signature colors. What makes these road trips so much more exciting is searching out a romantic structure from the past, that is, just coming across a covered bridge. At one time covered bridges were used for courting and got the name “Kissing Bridges” for those in love.
THASC artist David McClain brightens our way with his brilliant red road leading us to the covered bridge. This brings me back to the days my dad would take us on a road trip to see the foliage and discover the bridges along the Mohawk Trail. As an engineer, my Dad explained that the roof and walls of covered bridges helped to strengthen them. The biggest reason for strengthening the wooden structure was, obviously, protection from the weather, as the elements would make wooden bridges more slippery and be more apt to fail much faster. Wooden bridges were also covered to protect pedestrians and to keep animals such as horses and cattle from being scared by the rushing waters below. The Arthur A. Smith Bridge was originally constructed in 1870 and named for a Civil War Army captain in the village of “Olde Colraine” in Massachusetts. David’s portrayal is definitely showing us peak foliage in his painting “Country Road”. With the autumn foliage as a backdrop also in the photo below, a walk through the bridge is a must, especially to see the support arches on each side.
Other covered bridges that are brought to mind by David’s painting are the ones used in Clint Eastwood’s film “The Bridges of Madison County”, which perhaps some of you, like me, found to be a very romantic setting. Of the 19 covered bridges built in Madison County, Iowa, during the late 19th century, only 6 remain. Specifically, the Hallowell Covered Bridge (which by the way is the longest covered bridge) built in 1880 is where the protagonists Francesca and Robert meet up in the novel with of the same name by Robert James Waller. The second bridge filmed in the movie is the Roseman Covered Bridge where the spreading of the ashes took place.
The Hallowell Covered Bridge
Today even though covered bridges serve no modern day purpose, they are all considered historical landmarks. David McClain’s inviting painting excites many of us, especially in the Northeast, that it’s close to leaf peeping time and also that it’s the time for reminiscing about those years when covered bridges stole our heart.
See you on Thursday. Please feel free to leave a comment and I will reply right away, thanks!