log cabin chronicles

Canada's longest covered bridge beats out New England's landmark

© 2009 Gordon Alexander

Gordon Alexander
posted 10.19.09

HARTLAND, NEW BRUNSWICK, CANADA | The 1,282 foot Hartland Covered Bridge in Hartland, New Brunswick, Canada, is the longest covered bridge in the world, way longer than the 450 foot Cornish-Windsor Bridge spanning the Connecticut River in New Hampshire/Vermont, reputed to be the longest covered bridge in the United States.

The Cornish-Windsor Bridge connecting the towns of Cornish New Hampshire, and Windsor, Vermont, on Rte., is a two-span 450-foot bridge built in 1866 on heavy spruce timber reinforced with steel plates. The bridge is still open to traffic, and remains a testament to 19th-century engineering.

Canada's Hartland Covered Bridge, spanning the St. John River on Route 2, close to the border of the State of Maine, was originally constructed by the Hartland Bridge Company, which was formed by citizens on both sides of the St. John River. The bridge was officially opened July 4, 1901, and has been declared a Provincial Historic Site.

The bridge, built at a cost of $80,000, is enforced by eight steel spans and was built out of cedar, spruce, and hard pine by local workers.

Visitors can drive across the Longest Covered Bridge in the World at Hartland, but there are certain vehicle restrictions: Maximum Height Clearance is 13 feet, nine inches, and Maximum Vehicle Weight is set at 10 tons.

According to town legend, the Hartland Covered Bridge carries an interesting title as a kissing bridge. This legend evolved during the years when this covered structure was used mainly by horses and wagons.

Records show that at the time this was of so much concern to the general public that there was great opposition when they talked of covering the bridge. Sermons were even preached on how a covered bridge would destroy the morals of the young citizens. Their concerns were heard, but not heeded and the bridge was covered.

It is said that young men trained their horses to stop about half way across the bridge. The horse would wait until the couple shared a couple of kisses and then it would continue to the other side of the bridge.

Today, stories have it that many couples go to the bridge to share a kiss and receive the special feeling of their love with the spirit of the grand old bridge, certain that the bridge's spirit will look favourable on them. An example of this was in September, 1993, when Charmaine Laffoley and David Hunt of Toronto became the first couple to be married on the bridge.

copyright © 2009 gordon alexander/log cabin chronicles/10.09