Shushan Covered Bridge Museum

Address Cty Rte 61
Shushan, NY 12873
Phone (518) 677-8251
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Themes Canals & Transportation, Art & Culture, Innovation & Commerce
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The Shushan Covered Bridge is one of four covered bridges still standing in Washington County and is the only bridge owned and maintained by the Town of Shushan. Two of the other three bridges are owned by Washington County, and the third is owned jointly by Rensselear and Washington Counties. The Shushan Bridge crosses the Batten Kill and now serves as a museum for the Town of Shushan.
Built by brothers, Milton and James Stevens, during the spring and summer of 1858 (the same year as the Eagleville Covered Bridge), this 161-foot-long, two span structure incorporates the Town lattice truss design patented on January 28, 1820, and again in 1835 by Ithiel Town of New Haven, Connecticut. The bridge trusses were laid out and assembled on the village green beside the railroad depot, then drawn by oxen to the bridge site where they were erected over the river on a system of falsework. When originally built, the bridge was supported near the middle by a large pier made of dry-laid stone. The pier, twenty feet square, rose from the still water of a mill pond formed by a dam a short distance downstream. When the dam washed out in the flood of 1927 the pier became an obstruction in the now fast-flowing stream. It was replaced by a narrower pier in 1938.
The Shushan Covered Bridge has 46 panels, each 3½ feet on centers. All truss timbers are white pine, spruce or hemlock fastened at the joints by treenails (pronounced “tunnels”) of either red oak or locust. The total weight of the bridge, including roof and siding, is estimated at 80 tons. Although posted for a safe load of 5 tons, it has been estimated that it could have safely carried six times that amount.
In 1962, a new steel bridge was built and the Shushan Covered Bridge was bypassed. It stood for over a decade as the longest single span covered bridge on the Batten Kill.
In May 1974, the Shushan Covered Bridge Association was founded by John Rich and Carleton Foster and grew to include most of the residents of Shushan. The all-volunteer group bought the bridge from Washington County for $1.00, erected a new center pier, and installed a new roof. It now serves as a museum of farm tools, mostly donated by Shushan farmers.


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