Whenever possible, the original lumber was salvaged, but visitors to the bridge will notice that much of the lumber is of the modern, laminated type.
“I was hoping it wasn’t too far gone,” Urch said in the aforementioned story. “There was quite a bit of existing material they wanted saved.”
A platform was constructed under the bridge to make it safe for the workers, who tore off the siding, roof and roof trusses, cut out damaged bridge members and then rebuilt the structure, all without any kind of reference material to go by.
“There was a lot of physical labor, but everybody who was on the job thought it was one of the most unique jobs they had ever worked on,” Urch said.
The two piers under the bridge were built in 1996 as a stop-gap measure to stabilize the structure. They were left in place after the renovation because the bridge’s weight actually helps keep the piers in place. The pressure counters the force of ice, floating trees and other debris that comes drifting down the river.
The area where this bridge stands was known as “The Great Crossing.” Early French maps of the region marked the river as “deep” at this location. The first mill in the county was built by Ambrose Humphrey in 1801 and stood just south of the bridge. The “Old Girdled Road” crossed here at the French-Indian portage.