Bridge Facts

The following information provided by Doris Kennedy:

  • 1898, The Hartland Board of Trade sent a delegation of prominent citizens to meet with the government represented by both sides of the saint John River. They were armed with petitions and presented their reasons for placing a bridge in Hartland. The Governement denied them. The people immmediately incorporated a company, sold bonds to raise capitol and built the bridge on their own. The site was selected, a tender accepted and the 7 span of Howe Truss construction was built proudly by the community, 1282 feet. Actual cost $29,421.72.
  • 1901, May 13 the bridge was opened prematurely due to an emergency call for the Doctor from Hartland to attend a patient in Somerville. 
  • 1901, May 14 the bridge was opened to to cross.
  • 1901, July 4 The official opening of the bridge, a toll bridge (three cents per person) operated and maintained by the Hartland Bridge Company. 
  • 1906, May 1 the tolls on the bridge were quietly removed and the government took over the bridge during an election year. 
  • 1920, April 6 Two spans and one pier on the western side of the river were carried away at noon due to flood waters. Sixty % of the trade to Hartland came from the west side. The people went back to facing ferries and ice bridges during repairs.
  • 1921 March 3 Bridge was opened again for traffic after the two missing spans were replaced and the missing pier constructed but  work continued to replace the wooden piers with concrete and cover the entire structure to prevent deterioation from the elements.
  • 1921, October 20 Observer reported the remaining 5 spans of the bridge were elevated 30 inches and moved 20 feet westward to the new concrete piers.
  • 1921, December 22 Observer reported the wooden bridge was now covered.
  • 1935 the bridge was shingled.
  • 1937 The Hartland Covered Bridge exceeded the next long bridge in Norway by 200 feet proving it to be the longest Covered Bridge in the World.
  • 1944 New concrete approachbuilt on the Hartland end and lights installed.
  • 1945 March work began on the exterior walkway.
  • 1946, Jan.2 NB Chief Bridge Engineer received notice dfrom the Chairman of Covered Committee and Historical Service in Indiana that Hartland's Bridge is indeed undisputed as being the Longest Covered Bridge is the World.
  • 1980 June 23 the bridge was commemorated as a structure of National Architectural Significance.
  • 1982 Nov. 27, 1982 a 1974 Datsun crashed into the side of the bridge breaking a crticial strain rod on the western side on the first span causing it to drop 18 inches. The bridge remained closed for repairs until January 1983. ($140,000 damage).

© Katherine Hann 2021