3 votes

Baker River Bridge


Closed Wentworth Truss Bridge

Photo taken by C Hanchey in October 2009


View this photo on Flickr

BH Photo #147519

Street Views 


Removal of Baker Street Bridge

Friends of the Wentworth Parks and Recreation


Link to details in minutes of local meeting re: bridge removal in PDF: https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&c...

See also http://www.nhbr.com/April-17-2015/How-the-Goffes-Mill-Bridge...


Bypassed through truss bridge over Baker River on Wentworth Village Road in Wentworth
Wentworth, Grafton County, New Hampshire
Removed July 2016 and replaced by a relocated non-authentic Pratt truss covered bridge relocated from Hillsborough County 2016
Built 1909, removed July 2016
- American Bridge Co. of New York
- John Williams Storrs (Design)
- United Construction Co. of Albany, New York
Warren through truss
Length of largest span: 94.2 ft.
Total length: 100.1 ft.
Deck width: 15.4 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 12.7 ft.
Also called
Village Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+43.86833, -71.90889   (decimal degrees)
43°52'06" N, 71°54'32" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
19/266263/4861362 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Inventory number
BH 24893 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of April 2008)
Overall condition: Poor
Superstructure condition rating: Imminent Failure (1 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Imminent Failure (1 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Imminent Failure (1 out of 9)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • July 27, 2021: New photo from Geoff Hubbs
  • April 13, 2020: New photo from Geoff Hubbs
  • November 27, 2016: New video from Alexander D. Mitchell IV
  • September 4, 2016: New Street View added by Dana and Kay Klein
  • May 25, 2016: Updated by Janis Ford: Updated status to Closed
  • March 17, 2015: Updated by Will Truax: Changed ownership from state to town - Added alternate (locasl preference) name
  • June 11, 2013: Updated by Nathan Holth: Added Designer.
  • September 11, 2011: New Street View added by J.P.
  • October 12, 2009: Updated by C Hanchey: Added bridge builders



Baker River Bridge
Posted June 4, 2018, by Steve Lindsey (stevelindsey60 [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Update from my earlier post on the NHDOT. Strange but the NHDOT has proposed saving three metal bridges late in the day. The first is the General Sullivan's central span on NH's SeaCoast. This was met with fierce opposition from both the conservative state newspaper and the liberal seacoast newspapers. The other two bridges connect Hinsdale, NH and Brattleboro, Vt which the NHDOT proposed to become access to Island Park once a large span opens up downstream. Here locals from Hinsdale are opposing keeping the two although the local newspapers seem to have ignored the issue editorially.

Baker River Bridge
Posted December 8, 2016, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

I'm not calling the people stupid, but instead the concept. (Replace vehicular truss bridge with pedestrian bridge). Perhaps "misguided" is a more diplomatic term? That is often the case, many times due to consulting engineers who quickly condemn an existing historic bridge and then eagerly try to sell a replacement span.

As far as having bridgehunter folks help with advocacy that is something that would be immensely helpful, but sadly most people who contribute here don't seem to have interest in doing that sort of thing (although a few do and their efforts are much appreciated and extremely valuable).

For myself, I participated as a consulting party under Section 106 for a premier work of Storrs in New Hampshire, the Sewalls Falls Bridge and in that capacity, I contributed both my knowledge of historic bridge rehabilitation, and the importance of preserving the bridge, perhaps in a new location. As you can see, the outcome was not good, and the bridge is now being turned into soup cans.

Baker River Bridge
Posted December 8, 2016, by Michael Quiet (mquiet [at] gmail [dot] com)

I'm miffed I never got to visit this one. I love the Storrs spans (and this was the only one that was a Warren pattern), as well as it being a production of the United Construction/ American Bridge Co. (which are also becoming endangered).

Now onto the fact that the replacement is a non-authentic covered Pratt truss. Being from Vermont and having grown up loving covered spans I understand the appeal of them. The fact is that most normal people *like* covered bridges. Even as far back as the 40's and 50's there was an interest in wooden spans that metal ones have never seen. They remind us of a past (real or imagined) that is agrarian and simple. They're preserved and promoted because people like them, and the people who get elected to offices (whether it be Town Boards or state government) represent that (say nothing for the tourist factor).

If we want to save these bridges, we need to inspire a similar love for metal bridges. Communities everywhere have saved (or tried to save) their metal spans (just look up the Shelburne NH with the Meadows bridge. The community wants it but can't afford to restore it). Maybe we need a bridgehunter outreach program to at least make sure people know that the old rusted bridge in their town is a historical gem worth fighting for. How many people stopped to consider that this bridge was an important piece of transportation history designed by an important NH engineer? It might not have saved this on per se, but we need to try something else. Calling them "stupid" for their preferences on forum posts certainly won't get us anywhere.

Baker River Bridge
Posted December 7, 2016, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

...Wait... upon further inspection of the Facebook page, it almost looks like the HISTORIC vehicle-capable truss bridge was replaced with a FOOTBRIDGE?! Please tell me I am misreading something. Please tell me the replacement bridge is at least two lanes wide to support heavy truck traffic or something. Because if they replaced a historic vehicular truss with a footbridge that would move this project into a special, highly exclusive category of stupid.

Baker River Bridge
Posted December 7, 2016, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

It is truly sad (and stupid) to see a historic metal truss bridge demolished. It is profoundly disgusting to see contractors, crane operators, engineers, etc. go through the the effort (and substantial cost to taxpayers) to engineer a non-destructive lift of a truss span, and to simply cut the bridge up for scrap afterwards. If you have gone through the trouble to pick the bridge, then SAVE THE BRIDGE afterwards! If nothing else, place it in a park as a non-functional exhibit! Don't waste everyone's time and money doing a pick like this only to scrap it out and ship it to China to be turned into soup cans!

Perhaps the "Friends" of this bridge are in league with the "Friends" of Schell Bridge?

I have never seen a state so focused on erasing the memory of one of its most notable in-state bridge engineers. A huge thank-you to Jim Garvin, I have no doubt all Storrs bridges would have been eradicated otherwise, leaving not a trace.

Baker River Bridge
Posted December 7, 2016, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

I see no reason why these people should have the word "Friends" in their title... "Confused" would be more appropriate!

Makes me want to lean down and hug the subject of this photo, as always Courtesy of Todd Baslee.

Baker River Bridge
Posted December 7, 2016, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

The comments in Mr. Mitchell's link are quite interesting. The locals are understandably proud of the covered bridge that was moved here. It is a nice looking bridge, no doubt about it. I have gone out of my way to visit a few historic covered bridges, and I am sure that I will do so again. The locals should be proud of the installation of the bridge. Yet, the old truss would have looked nice with some repair and a coat of paint as well.

My home state of Kansas no longer has any covered bridges as the last one burned in 1958. Perhaps that is why I came to appreciate the complexities of the wrought iron and steel bridges that I saw as a youngster. Discovering 1880s and 1890s wrought iron, pin connected bridges was always fun. Someday, Americans may have the same appreciation for metal truss bridges as they do for covered bridges. We are starting to see some appreciation for them out here.

Baker River Bridge
Posted December 7, 2016, by Steve Lindsey (SteveLindsey60 [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Sad to say, but Will Truax may be right. I believe when this is all over, one Storrs Bridge has been set aside, in Henniker, NH. This was due largely to the efforts of Dr. Jim Garvin. Most truss bridges are being systematically removed. An appreciation for this bridge type never evolved in NH, unlike in neighboring Vermont. The effort to save these structure started with the late John Moore and continued through people including John Summers and Dr. Jim Garvin. We were never able to make headway.

NH is a unique state. Both parties attack heritage bridge preservation but for different reasons. One characterizes the preservation efforts as boondoggles. This was seen with Mitt Romney's "Bridge-to-Nowhere" press conference in Hillsborough. The other side works for the replaced of such spans as renewing our infrastructure. This is seen in Sen Jeanne Shaheen and Rep Anne Kuster's press conference at the site of the then soon to be replaced Seawalls Falls Bridge.

The future shows no breaking from this trend. Bridge lovers are advised to look to Vermont for surviving iron and steel heritage spans. NH does better with covered bridges, as new replicas are being built to supplement the existing examples.


Baker River Bridge Replacement
Posted November 27, 2016, by Alexander D. Mitchell IV (LNER4472 [at] verizon [dot] net)

For details of the bridge's removal and replacement, see https://www.facebook.com/FriendsoftheWentworthParksandRecrea...

Baker River Bridge
Posted June 10, 2016, by Will Truax (Bridgewright [at] gmail [dot] com)

I agree completely.

Even the hundreds of primary reports filed from that bridge do not make it historic.

Sadly, it is almost as if the remaining Storrs spans have been targeted for removal.

Baker River Bridge Replacement Project.
Posted June 9, 2016, by steve Lindsey (steveLindsey60 [at] hotmail [dot] com)

My rejoinder to the Friends of Wentworth Parks and Recreation's plan to replace the 1909 steel trust bridge with one salvaged from the Wayarer Inn project. Letter in the NH Sunday News, March 2015.


March 29, 2015 ·

My letter in today's Sunday News.

What is historic?

I read with interest the attempt to salvage and repurpose the “historic” the Wayfarer Hotel foot bridge ( See: Future of historic John Goffe’s Mill bridge uncertain, March 22.) I am left wondering what is historic.

After reading the article, the only historic bridge mentioned was the old 1909 Baker River Bridge now serving as a foot bridge in Wentworth. It is a riveted steel truss bridge with elaborate steel railings. It alone is eligible for the National Trust of Preservation’s historic places designation.

Will someone explain to me why the Wayfarer bridge is historic. Did a famous politician smoke a camel on it after a press conference? Did a celebrity vomit, after drinking too many gin and tonics into the dappled water below?

The old truss Baker River bridge is to be removed this summer. That is keeping with the lack of support for saving iron and steel truss bridges in New Hampshire. Unlike Vermont, Texas, Ohio. Of course the NHDOT is going to remove it.

But please don’t call the replacement Wayfarer span “historic.” Especially since they are going to add a faux covered bridge shell to it. Trot out the Wayfarer span’s use as recycling and in keeping with sustainability canards if you must. But let’s keep this intellectually honest. Avoid diluting the meaning of the word “historic.”

Steve Lindsey

Baker River Bridge to be replaced.
Posted June 9, 2016, by Steve Lindsey (SteveLindsey60 [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Locals plan to replace the 1909 bridge with a footbridge salvaged from the Wayarer Inn, famous for hosting events during New Hampshire's First in the Nation Primary.

From the state-wide newspaper: