The girders essentially create a “bridge within in a bridge,” and carry the weight of the traffic, explains former county engineer John Smolen. If, at some point down the road purists want to restore the bridge to its original form, the girders could be removed.
Restoring the exterior would be a greater challenge, for it received a significantly different look as a result of the renovation. Covered in yellow poplar siding, the bridge has a distinctive star-burst design on the portals and 4-by-4-foot windows along the length of the structure.
This siding is 11/2 inches thick and 8 inches wide. Why so thick? In addition to ensuring excellent weathering, thick siding securely nailed to the bridge ensures vandals won’t be able to kick it off and steal the lumber, an issue with thinner siding used on previous renovations.
“Nobody is taking the siding off now,” Smolen says. “Not the way we are putting it on.”
The Wiswell Road bridge is west of Windsor, just south of Route 322. Across the road is Christ Church, home of the Windsor Historical Society. The 1832 structure is open to visitors from 2 to 4 p.m. on Sunday afternoons between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
Other nearby attractions include the Sir Henry Circus Horse monument west of the bridge (on a private lawn), the Pioneer Cemetery (north of Windsor on Pioneer Cemetery Road, off Noble) where several Revolutionary War veterans are buried and Camp Whitewood, a 4-H camp on Warner’s Hollow.