ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Covered bridges have long been a staple throughout the Northeast. According to the New York State Covered Bridge Society, New York was once home to over 300 covered bridges.

Covered bridges are made of wood and are, in fact, covered. Most covered bridges were built during the 1800s when wood was the preferred bridge-building material, said the Covered Bridge Society.

Most early wood truss bridges were Kingpost or Queenpost trusses, which were easy to build and could be used for crossings up to 50 feet long, said the Covered Bridge Society. For wider crossings, the trusses were built in a series and supported by masonry piers or cribbing between them.

But why were these bridges covered? According to the Covered Bridge Society, this was to protect the interior supporting timbers from moisture. The roof, sideboards, and floorboards were replaceable, but moisture would cause the trusses to rot, and the bridge would need to be replaced every 10 to 20 years.

Almost all of the authentic covered bridges still standing in New York are over one hundred years old. According to the Covered Bridge Society, the Hyde Hall covered bridge in Glimmerglass State Park is the oldest covered bridge in the state and was built around 1825.

In the early 1800s, Major Salmon Wheat was credited with building the first covered bridge in New York. The bridge, which crossed the Neversink River in Sullivan County, was built in 1807. The bridge was in use for over 100 years before it was removed in 1917, said the Covered Bridge Society.

Also in the early 1800s, sawmill owner Theodore Burr invented the Burr Truss, which was a simple parallel chord truss and wooden arch. Burr’s four-span 800-foot wooden arch bridge was the first to be built across the Hudson River in Waterford. According to the Covered Bridge Society, his design became a major advancement in bridge building and a prototype for future covered bridges.

The Burr Truss was used to build the Blenheim bridge that crossed the Schoharie Creek, which was the longest single-spanned wooden covered bridge in the world at 228 feet. The bridge was lost in the flood waters of Hurricane Irene in 2011. However, it was rebuilt in 2019 and is now the longest covered bridge in the state at 210 feet.

Today, only 34 “authentic” New York covered bridges are left. These include the Waldbillig bridge in Albany County, the Eagle Mills bridge in Fulton County, the Copeland Bridge in Saratoga County, and the Buskirk, Rexleigh, Eagleville, and Shushan bridges in Rensselaer and Washington Counties. You can view the full list of New York covered bridges and more information about them on the New York State Covered Bridge Society website.

In Vermont, there are more than 100 covered bridges, according to the Vermont Tourism website. The state has more covered bridges per square mile than any other state.

The bridges date back to 1820, with most built during the mid to late 19th century. According to the Vermont Tourism website, the longest two-span covered bridge in the world is the Windsor Cornish bridge at 465 feet. It spans the Connecticut River between Windsor, Vermont, and Cornish, New Hampshire.

Bennington alone has three covered bridges: the Paper Mill, Henry, and Silk bridges. The town even had a Covered Bridge Museum, but it closed in 2019. You can view a full map of all of Vermont’s covered bridges on the Vermont Tourism website.