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Livermore Falls Bridge

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Photos 

View Beside Bridge

Photo taken by Will Truax in March 2011

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Map 

Description 

Built for $7,100 to replace a deteriorated wooden bridge. Bridge was designed as a two span deck truss, with one long span over the river and a shorter truss span providing an approach to the river span. After being abandoned, the smaller truss span collapsed.

Statement of Significance 

Written by Nathan Holth

This bridge should be considered to have an extremely high degree of historic significance as what may be the last surviving lenticular full deck truss bridge. Although the smaller approach span has collapsed, it appears that most of this span remains in place. A combination of restoration and replication could likely put this approach span back into service. The main span that remains in place appears to have outstanding historic integrity including original built-up fishbelly floor beams. The only significant element missing on the bridge appears to be the original railings.

Facts 

Overview
Pin Connected Lenticular deck truss bridge over Pemigewasset River on Abandoned Road
Location
Grafton County, New Hampshire
Status
Abandoned
History
Built 1885 by Berlin Iron Bridge Co.; Closed To Traffic 1959
Builder
- Berlin Iron Bridge Co. of East Berlin, Connecticut
Design
Lenticular deck truss. It also has a Lenticular deck truss approach span.
Dimensions
Length of largest span: 140.0 ft.
Total length: 263.0 ft.
Deck width: 16.0 ft.
Also called
Pumpkin Seed Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+43.78369, -71.66833   (decimal degrees)
43°47'01" N, 71°40'06" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
19/285289/4851308 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Plymouth
Inventory number
BH 51557 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • January 1, 2016: New photo from Mike Garland
  • December 30, 2015: Updated by Erik Hoffman: Bridge is indeed the last known Lenticular deck truss bridge in US
  • December 30, 2015: New photos from Mike Garland
  • May 30, 2015: New photos from Royce and Bobette Haley
  • May 3, 2014: New photos from Michael Quiet
  • April 24, 2014: Updated by Michael Quiet: Added categories "Pin-connected", "Wrought Iron"
  • April 5, 2014: New photos from Michael Quiet
  • March 4, 2012: New photos from Will Truax
  • March 1, 2012: Essay added by Nathan Holth

Sources 

Comments 

Livermore Falls Bridge
Posted February 25, 2017, by Billy Sargent (pemigewasset [at] yahoo [dot] com)

Ah, the good ol' Live No More Falls Bridge! I do not contest the liability, but what makes it more an issue now? I cannot believe that jumping from the bridge is a new sport- I doubt it was new when the bridge was closed two thirds of a century ago, I doubt it was unheard of when it was new 130+ years ago! Being a mite afeared of heights, I never went on the bridge myself, but it was always a pleasant swimming hole & fine place to observe the bevy of cutie beauties, local & student alike taking the sun & enjoying the fresh air.

Fun fact: In Playboy's first top ten party college picks, appearing in the October '87 issue, Plymouth State was honoured. The mill ruins were the site of the photo shoot. I can't recall if the bridge was in the background or not...

Livermore Falls Bridge
Posted June 7, 2016, by Steve Lindsey (SteveLindsey60 [at] hotmail [dot] com)

A yob jumps from the Livermore Falls Bridge, illustrating in the social media ( of of several ) that it has become a liability issue.

Also shows some good footage of the bridgework if you can forgive the young man's bad judgement.

See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fv3_ANwqAdI

Livermore Falls Bridge
Posted June 7, 2016, by Steve Lindsey (steveLindsey60 [at] hotmail [dot] com)

The liability issue that dooms many heritage sites across New Hampshire. The site is a magnet for Plymouth State University students.

My letter in the May 26 edition of the state newspaper, The Union Leader.

Make Henniker a bridge sanctuary

To the Editor: I read with interest the fate of Hooksett’s Lilac Bridge.

New Hampshire has done a boffo of a job removing its last historic steel and iron bridges. This feat will be complete when the Livermore Falls Pumpkinseed Bridge ruin is finally removed, for liability reasons.

Perhaps a few heritage spans should be left for future generations. The remaining steel truss bridges of Henniker should be set aside. Maybe Henniker can remain the one place left in the Granite State as a sanctuary for a once common bridge type?

This is something to consider.

STEVEN LINDSEY

Keene

- See more at: http://www.unionleader.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/201605...

Livermore Falls Bridge
Posted May 26, 2016, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Good to hear of state support for preservation... Even better if they can follow that up with some $$$.

Livermore Falls Bridge
Posted May 26, 2016, by Andy Peters (anpete1971 [at] gmail [dot] com)
Livermore Falls Bridge
Posted May 26, 2016, by Andy Peters (anpete1971 [at] gmail [dot] com)
Livermore Falls Bridge
Posted March 22, 2014, by Julie Bowers (jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

We've made some calls Tony and found the person to talk with so perhaps we can enlighten and get Nels to work. My goal for the year, and the following years, is to keep him busy on Workin' Bridges projects. We are also looking at apprenticeship training so if you know some folks that might want to WORK and LEARN by doing, then send them our way.

We can't win them all, we don't have time to do them all, but we can help.

Livermore Falls Bridge
Posted March 21, 2014, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

Nels actually specifically mentioned this bridge to me some time ago and said he would love to work on this. He commented that he felt lenticular truss bridges were among the most beautiful bridges ever built, and I agree completely! If anyone in this community is interested in having the bridge evaluated get in touch with Nels at www.bachsteel.com

Livermore Falls Bridge
Posted March 20, 2014, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

As far as what I have seen this is the last Lenticular Deck truss remaining and is of major significance.

This sounds like a real opportunity might be in the making to save what could certainly be the centerpiece of this area. I just hope that if it comes to fruition the right engineers and contractors are called in to repair the smaller span in-kind and replicate the original railings.

I know that Nels Raynor up in Michigan would be my choice for the rebuild and he could certainly do those railings!

Livermore Falls Bridge
Posted March 20, 2014, by ArtS (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)

The article lists this as the last pumpkinseed bridge in the country. Obviously, that's not the case, pumpkinseed = lenticular, no? Is it the last lenticular deck truss?

Livermore Falls Bridge
Posted March 20, 2014, by Steven W Lindsey (SteveLindsey60 [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Study group to focus on Livermore Falls, and by extension, The Pumpkin Seed Bridge.

Union Leader March 19, 2014 article: "Group seeks to improve Livermore Falls area

By DAN SEUFERT

Union Leader Correspondent

The Livermore Falls area of Plymouth. (Courtesy)

PLYMOUTH — A group of representatives from three towns, college students at Plymouth State University, state officials and lovers of the Livermore Falls area of the Pemigewassett River are asking for public input about the future of that part of the river.

With help from the Plymouth Rotary, the Friends of the Pemi-Livermore Falls Chapter is asking for ideas for future usage of the falls area,

"It's an amazing site. To me it's as nice as anything in Franconia Notch or the Flume," said Thaddeus Guldbrandsen, PSU's vice provost for research and engagement.

The "vision session" meetings will be held Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. at the Holderness Central School and on Saturday, March 29, at 8:30 a.m.

The falls area, which is located within the towns of Plymouth, Campton and Holderness, is owned by the state. It is a popular area for swimming and sightseeing, and above the falls area is the historically important "Pumpkin Seed" bridge, the remains of a bridge erected in 1886 that was closed in 1959.

The state owns Livermore Falls and 174 adjacent acres on both sides of the river in the towns of Campton and Holderness. A December report by PSU students David Coy and James McManus identified that the area contains two beaches, and was the site of the state's first fish hatchery.

According to the report, the area has been the site of numerous mills, and the bridge is the last standing pumpkinseed bridge in the country.

In their report, the students recommended a new footbridge, repairing some of the broken fences protecting dangerous areas of the falls area, organized cleanup of the area and improved signage.

"The implementation of an offsite education program promoting stewardship of the land could help with some of the issues faced by Livermore Falls," the students said in their report.

The campaign is called "Let's Make More out of Livermore" as Rotarians are suggesting that the area be made into a state park.

The meetings will be "brainstorming sessions," according to the rotary.

dseufert@newstote.com "

Livermore Falls Bridge
Posted January 3, 2014, by ArtS (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)
Livermore Falls Bridge
Posted December 17, 2013, by Christopher (ccab1324 [at] gmail [dot] com)

While the Bridge at Livermore falls may be an immaculate structure I have high doubts that it will ever be restored. Livermore falls is home to one of the best cliff jumping experiences around. It is a local phenomenon and on a nice day there may be anywhere from 10-50 people swimming in this area. There are 14 documented deaths mainly contributed to people jumping off this bridge. NH live free or die is a different breed. This bridge is about 65 ft above water at the base and 105 from the top yet I have seen people jump from both areas. I can admit to being one of the fellows who jump from the bottom not the top. There are additionally three cliffs you can jump from ranging from 20ft, 40ft, and 60ft high. there is also an extremely large rope swing hanging from the bridge. when one goes of this rope swing the echo of the old metal bridge can be heard from up to half a mile away and the bridge seems to just rest on the granite on both sides of the river. Having gone on this bridge I would not be surprised if this rope swing snapped in the next few years causing injury to the user. the danger of this brings up much controversy and many locals would like to take the bridge down completely. Many locals fear doing any work on this bridge above the water will affect the towns drinking water and the water coming from the highly acclaimed spring nearby. the bridge is located over what seems to be the strongest part of the Pemigewasset river that I have ever encountered. The remnants of this bridge will be there for a long time. I would love to invest in some Hydropower in this area however It will not be allowed to happen for quite some time at least 10 years.

Livermore Falls Bridge
Posted November 24, 2012, by Will Truax (Bridgewright [at] gmail [dot] com)

It is in Campton, none so far from the Plymouth line.

A short walk from Rt 3. I don't believe there is any signage, but there are some well used pullovers on the east side of 3 which are a bit of a landmark, which also suggest it and the Gorge do see frequent visitors.

Livermore Falls Bridge
Posted November 20, 2012, by Bill Eichelberger (wallyum [at] hotmail [dot] com)

According to Google, it's in Plymouth, NH, an hour and 24 minutes drive from you.

Livermore Falls Bridge
Posted November 19, 2012, by Erin (eebartolome [at] gmail [dot] com)

Hello,

I am looking for a hidden beautiful bridge for my sis to take yoga shoot photos of me for my portfolio, can you please let me know where this is located? We are in Nottingham, NH

Livermore Falls Bridge
Posted March 25, 2012, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

I too would like nothing more than to see this amazing structure restored...and for you to be involved in it!

I'll bet you could replicate those original railings as well!

Livermore Falls Bridge
Posted March 25, 2012, by Nels Raynor (Bachsteel [at] me [dot] com)

For those that know me or Know of me I have been involved with inkind restoration of these beautiful structures for quite some time ........This bridge above all deserves to be restored it would be an honor and a dream come true to be involved in the restoration of her....

Livermore Falls Bridge
Posted March 7, 2012, by Will Truax (Bridgewright [at] gmail [dot] com)

Posted a reply to the forum under a different heading, just did not want to see this thread expand when the jist of the conversation was only tangentially tied to Livermore.

I'll trip back up to the Gorge in a month or so when the melt is done and river levels drop to normal, and both snap some better photos and check on what has become of the collapsed span.

Livermore Falls Bridge
Posted March 7, 2012, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

I have been viewing and commenting on BridgeHunter.com for several years. Let me comment on a few items in response to comments from a couple people below.

1. The top half of the page is the "Bridge Page" I have not included anything against covered bridges in this section. I created an unbiased, fact-based page for the bridge here.

2. The second half of this page is the "Forum Page". This is a place where people are allowed to express comments, including opinions. Many people express views I don't agree with elsewhere on the website, however I understand this is a place for people to have different opinions.

3. I am sorry if I conveyed the idea that I have something against New Hampshire in particular. The problem with covered bridges is nationwide and due to Federal Policy. While New Hampshire's bridges may be town owned and may be preserved due to the decision made by these folks, these folks have made this decision while accepting funds from the Federal Government's National Historic Covered Bridge Preservation Act (15 bridges since 2000). There was never a National Historic Metal Truss Bridge Preservation Act for example. Non-covered bridges receive no funds. They have to beg for Transportation Enhancement Grants, or get funding from mainstream bridge funding which requires them to be on-system, meet modern loading and geometry, and have a sufficiency over 50%.

4. I have never stated that covered bridges should not be posted on BridgeHunter.com. I have never questioned adding covered bridges to BridgeHunter.com. I only merely question the proportion of tax dollars that get spent preserving covered bridges versus other historic bridge types.

Livermore Falls Bridge
Posted March 4, 2012, by Dave Andrews

I agree with Will's thoughts. There's nothing wrong with preserving the few covered bridges left, in addition to the metal trusses. The covered bridges are direct ancestors of the metal trusses, and still exhibit rare truss configurations that aren't found on any metal truss.

The forum pages are getting cluttered up with the endless diatribes against covered bridges. And there were a couple more yesterday, bashing that very attractive new covered bridge in Ohio.

I took a look at the webmaster's page describing his goals for this site, and covered bridges are included. So if they're acceptable for the site's owner, then including them is no one else's business. Nathan has his own site, which is the appropriate place for his rants.

Livermore Falls Bridge
Posted March 4, 2012, by Craig Philpott (cphilpott [at] puc [dot] edu)

Thanks for the page Nathan, I am pleased to have had a small contribution on finding this bridge from clear across the country. A very interesting design, I am pleased pictures are beginning to be submitted for this structure.

Livermore Falls Bridge
Posted March 4, 2012, by Will Truax (Bridgewright [at] gmail [dot] com)

Nathan -

You're making it hard for me to want to add photographs to this listing, with your having chosen to use it as a vehicle to again post your dislike for wooden bridges, and to do so this time, with false assumptions about my states political structure.

I cannot in good conscience, add photos to the listing and seemingly rubberstamp sentiments I do not agree with, without first speaking my own mind.

I do not understand how you have come to equate a victory for the preservation of a wooden bridge, as one in the loss column for those working to preserve other types, nor can I agree with your oft repeated claim that most wooden through truss bridges fail to retain a large percentage of original material, or that trusses constructed of other materials have a naturally superior service life to one made of wood which sees proper maintenance to its cladding. I've done preservation and maintenance work on many, and have surveyed hundreds in at least ten states and wholeheartedly disagree with both statements.

There is no long existing grand scheme preservation plan here in New Hampshire that has led to what might seem to be a disproportionate number of still existing covered bridges. In truth and in irony it is the political structure which has led both to the preservation of those bridges, and the abandonment of this one. It is our Town Meeting form of Government, that coupled with Yankee thrift. It is the people here, who decide major town expenditures in our every citizen has a say and a vote form of democracy.

With but one exception I can think of, every wooden bridge in the state is Town, not State owned, it was the people in those towns with their yea or nay, at individual Town meetings, not some faceless bureaucrat in the states capitol that chose to keep those bridges in service.

The money which built the Livermore Falls Bridge was in all probability provided to the town by the land raping Lumber Baron who built and owned a number of mills in town including one in the Gorge on the west bank of the river within sight of this bridge, all part of an infrastructure he developed to strip every cent of revenue represented in the last vast stand of timber then left in the state, in the Sandwich Range which stands to the east of town.

With the demise of that mill in the Gorge the primary purpose for the bridge also ceased to exist, and the people would have seen little reason to vote to repeatedly fund reflooring it. Just as in casting a vote to fund repair instead of replacement of a bridge, it is often the pocketbook that drives how the majority decides.

One might look at the other side of that same coin. There was not a decision to fund a replacement either, which is the only reason the truss is there to hope to save.

Livermore Falls Bridge
Posted March 1, 2012, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Are you kidding me...a Lenticular deck truss!!!

What an unbelievably amazing structure...even in it's derelict state!

What an incredible one this would be to restore...as it should be!

Mystery New Hamspire Bridge
Posted March 1, 2012, by Nathan Holth

Here is a page I have created for the bridge. Please do post additional photos.

I find it extremely disturbing that this lenticular truss bridge, which probably could be argued to be nationally significant, has been allowed to sit abandoned, and one span allowed to collapse. This bridge is as rare as or rarer than any of this state's many preserved covered bridges. It is just as deserving of preservation. Furthermore, this bridge, if restored, would retain a far higher quantity of original bridge material than most covered bridges, since the iron of this bridge does not deteriorate in the way wood does.

However the collapsed span remains and the preservation technology is available to restore even badly damaged collapsed trusses. A full restoration of both spans for pedestrian use as soon as possible is the only acceptable option I see for this bridge.