(click on images for larger view)
• Over Salmon River north of Route 16
• Colchester-East Hampton
• Covered timber truss
• Length: 2 spans, 110' overall, 80' maximum span length
• Built in 1873
Comstock Bridge served travelers on the main road between Colchester and Middletown for nearly sixty years, until a new concrete bridge was built downstream in 1932. Now situated in a public park, Comstock Bridge is a well-preserved example of the Howe truss, an innovative design patented in 1840. The Howe truss combined vertical iron rods and diagonal timbers and was widely used in railroad construction as well as for highway and factory bridges.
The 30'-long east span is significant in its own right as the only remaining example in Connecticut of an enclosed wooden pony truss, that is, one with no overhead roof or other bracing. Generations before any covered bridges were built, bridge builders protected trusses from the weather by covering them with boards, and the technique continued in use for shorter spans such this one throughout the 19th century.
In the 1930s Comstock Bridge was extensively renovated by the Civilian Conservation Corps, a federal program that put unemployed young men to work improving parks and forests. Among the changes introduced at that time were the present wooden gates and new siding salvaged from an old barn. In the early 1970s the bridge was again renovated. Steel gusset plates were added to reinforce the original wooden joints. The bridge was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.