View 197: Covered Bridges of Ulster County

This past weekend I visited the Catskills Mountains with a few goals in mind.  One was to locate and photograph a couple of covered bridges.  Covered bridges are remnants of a time past when horse and buggies needed safe ways to cross rivers and streams back in the 1800’s.

Ulster county in the state of New York is the home to a half dozen covered bridges.  It was also one of the counties hit hard by Hurricane Irene in late August.  Getting to the bridge locations turned into an adventure because many roads and bridges are still closed.  The photo below of Perrine’s Bridge shows rivers are still running very high in the region and full of run-off and other debris.

Perrine's Bridge in Ulster County, New York on October 1, 2011.

Perrine's Bridge in Ulster County, New York on October 1, 2011. Nikon D700/28-300VR, f/16, ISO 1600, EV +0.3, 28mm focal length.

Your eyes do not deceive you, the bridge is leaning.  The bridge was restored back in 1970, it is still a 167 year old structure built of wood and some warping has occurred. Most of the bridge’s park which runs along the river is still under water.  I could see the tops of picnic tables and grills. Compare the river’s water level here with a picture of the bridge taken during winter.

The second bridge took a bit of work in both finding directions and the actual travel. The Tappan Bridge (sometimes called the Kittle Bridge) did not have a park or other nearby location I could use to calculate driving directions to.  I had to use map coordinates in my iPhone’s map app to get them.

The road to the Tappan Bridge had been washed out in several places and one of the modern bridges was destroyed.  Work crews had restored all the washed out areas with either stone or new asphalt and the missing bridge was replaced by a temporary one a few feet from the old span.  With the gloomy clouds and misting rain, it was a drive fitting the month of October.

Tappan Bridge in Ulster County on October 1, 2011.

Tappan Bridge in Ulster County on October 1, 2011. Nikon D700/28-300VR, 1/60s, f/4, ISO 1250, EV +0.3, 40mm focal length.

As you can see above, the Tappen Bridge has taken a beating from the hurricane enraged stream of a month ago which normally runs eight feet below it.  It had been gated and posted since these photos were taken. Wood planks are missing from the sides and a tree branch or trunk had slammed into the side facing upstream. The future of this bridge which was built back in 1870 does not look good.  However, it did fare better than some of the modern bridges which were wiped out.

The rain, low clouds and lack of Sun did not give me much of an opportunity to photograph the fall colors.  In fact, though the I Love NY website said the Catskills were around mid-peak, there was not a lot of color present.  I will have to go looking next weekend to meet that goal.

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6 Responses to View 197: Covered Bridges of Ulster County

  1. It fared better than the modern bridges? Well, they just don’t build them like they used to!
    Very pretty photos, they take you back in time, and I love the hint of fall in these.


  2. Kathy says:

    Neat colored bridge! (Especially like the first photo with its orange ambiance.) The last covered bridge I saw was in Georgia during the Outdoor Blog. It was impressive.


    • The Perrine’s Bridge is impressive for it’s length and age. It did bounce a bit as you walked through it. The poor Tappan bridge is a short span in an out of the way location. I hope someone finds the time and funds to restore it.


  3. montucky says:

    I love seeing those old bridges.. It’s great that more of them weren’t damaged or destroyed in the flooding!


  4. Barbara says:

    So sad to see the damage to the Tappan Bridge. Beautiful photos of a dying breed.


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