The Bridge

It is the mission of this group to rebuild what was taken from us.

Whites Bridge (alternatively White’s Bridge) was a 120-foot (37 m) span Brown truss covered bridge, erected in 1867 in Keene Township, Michigan, United States, near Smyrna on the Flat River. Carrying Whites Bridge Road across the Flat, it was located north of the Fallasburg Bridge and south of Smyrna. It was among the area’s best-known 19th century structures. Complete loss of the bridge as the result of arson came on the morning of July 7th, 2013.

When it burned, it was the oldest Covered Bridge in Michigan still carrying vehicle traffic.The bridge used the Brown truss system, a through truss consisting of diagonal compression beams and almost vertical tension members (slanting in at the top toward the center of the span). This system was patented by Josiah Brown of Buffalo, New York in 1857. The Brown truss is similar to the Howe arrangement of “X” bracing and counter bracing, but uses lighter members and less timber. It contains no upright compression members and no iron except for bolt connectors at the timber intersections. Builders used the Brown truss successfully in at least four covered bridges in Michigan, two of which (Ada Covered Bridge, Fallasburg Bridge) are still in existence.The Brown truss was thus briefly popular in Michigan but did not gain wide acceptance elsewhere.

The bridge rested on concrete and fieldstone footings at each end. As typical for covered bridges, it was a frame structure with a gabled roof that covered with creosote shingles. Its construction is of the through-truss type, and the trusses are completely sheathed on the outside with rough pine boards. The floor was 14 feet (4 m) wide and 117 feet (36 m) long. All of the truss members and planks, sheeting and other dimension lumber were originally secured with wooden pegs, although the bridge had subsequently been strengthened. The sheeting and roof boards were fastened to the rafters with hand cut nails.

Some say that a new bridge will not be the same and sadly in some respects it won’t be, but we look at it as a new canvas being put in place, one that will record the generations still living and those yet to come.

“Bridging Generations….Rebuilding History”

Leave a Reply