Minortown Road Bridge

Woodbury, Connecticut

South end of bridge Minortown Road over Nonewaug River
State Bridge No. 5065
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places

Woodbury's Minortown Road Bridge has been adapted for modern use by having a timber-beam load-bearing structure inserted into the bridge below the roadway, leaving the original trusses in place protected by a stout wooden guardrail. This solution to the problem of making a 110-year old bridge serve today's transportation needs has preserved the one-lane charcater of the structure and most of the historic truss details, including remnants of the original floor beams, now suspended in mid-air from the lower joints.

Like many small-town officials in the late 19th century, the selectmen of Woodbury had undertaken a program to replace the town's wooden bridges with more permanent structures. By the time this bridge was built, Woodbury already had three other Berlin Iron Bridge Company spans in place, so it is not surprising that officials again turned to the company for the Minortown Road project, as well as for another bridge (no longer in place) that also was replaced. At the time, Minortown Road was not a minor town road; it was a local connection between Woodbury center and the outlying village of Minortown, and at the east end of the bridge another road (long since abandoned) led southward to the main route between Woodbury and points to the east. According to the town's 1891 annual report, the town paid $625 for the bridge, which probably represented the cost of the ironwork, with the town paying separately for abutment construction and erection labor.

In testimonials written for the company's 1889 catalog, Woodbury officials offered high praise for their Berlin bridges:

We hereby certify that the iron bridge erected by your company last fall continues to give the best of satisfaction and, as agents of the town, we shall recommend the erection of iron, instead of wood, as our bridges need replacing in the future. . . . [Woodbury's Berlin bridges] have stood the test of three years travel and show no sign of wear or need of repair.

W. A. Strong, one of Woodbury's selectmen, summed up his recommendation with a terse statement that was, in the context of parsimonious New England towns, the highest of compliments:

Our taxpayers are satisfied they have value received for their money.


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