Skip to main content

Jay Covered Bridge - New York

 

The 170 foot long Jay Covered Bridge spanning the East Branch of the Ausable River in the Essex County town of Jay, New York, was built in 1857 by George M. Burt. It is listed on the New York State Register of Historic Places and is the only remaining Howe truss designed covered bridge in the Adirondacks. Of the all covered bridges in New York, only two can be found in the Adirondacks and both happen to be located just downstream of waterfalls. The Copeland Covered Bridge in the Saratoga County town of Edinburg is the other one. The bridge crosses the river just below Jay Falls, a broad set of falls that that drop about 10 feet over several tiers.

The first covered bridge in this location was destroyed by flooding in 1856. There is an interesting history of the old covered bridge and what happened during the devastating flood. On September 30, 1856,  a violent thunderstorm brought a torrent of furious power. A man by the name David Heald (or Hale) had a cabin at Rainbow Falls and had been working on a dam. Later, he spoke of a cataract that he had seen while on Mount Colvin. It was a cataract 2,000 feet high and a mile wide. The dam went out after 10 pm and the water rose almost three feet in fifteen minutes in the Keene Valley. As a result, ten bridges crossing the East Branch of the Ausable River were carried downstream, with the exception of two bridges at Keeseville. Included among the bridges that were carried away in the floodwere the bridges located within the Town of Jay, the one which preceded the present day covered bridge.

George M. Burt built the present day covered bridge in 1857, but it wasn’t actually covered until 1858. It is one of only three Howe truss bridges in New York State. Original construction cost was $1,200. According to an account book kept by Burt, the contract to build the new Jay Covered Bridge was made on April 26, 1857. His book also contained a great number of entries about construction of other bridges in the area that were destroyed in the great flood of 1856, so it looks like he was keeping notes about what bridge may have best worked at that location.

The Jay Covered Bridge was situated over the East Branch of the Ausable River for many years following its construction in 1857, but not without having damage by motor vehicles and concerns from severe weather over the years. In 1953, a heavy truck damaged the floor and beams of the bridge. As a result, repairs required the replacement of 80 feet of the damaged end of the bridge. With the repairs, the bridge was shortened and bolstered with a concrete abutment. In 1976, an ice jam came dangerously close to removing the covered bridge from its abutments. In 1985, the bridge was once again damaged when a tractor trailer truck lost its brakes and tore out wooden beams and steel supports.

On May 14, 1997, the Jay Covered Bridge was officially closed to traffic following an inspection by the New York State Department of Transportation. With the closure, traffic was rerouted along back country roads. There was debate over the closing of the bridge along with the possibility of it being torn down and or being replaced with a new, modern bridge. The bridge was cut into four sections, lifted off their abutments and placed along the east bank of the Ausable River where they sat for a number of years while the covered bridge's fate was determined.

In 2006, the Jay Covered Bridge was rehabilitated and placed back over the East Branch of the Ausable River in 2007. During the rehabilitation, not all of the original truss pieces from the old bridge were used, so it is technically considered to be a new covered bridge. As a modern bridge for motor vehicles was built just downstream, the modern day Jay Covered Bridge has been repurposed as a pedestrian bridge.

To reach the bridge, all you have to do is follow Mill Hill Rd. from the intersection of NY 9N and NY 86. Mill Hill Rd. will intersect with John Fountain Rd. at Brick Store Ln., and then you'll arrive at the covered bridge. After checking out the bridge, you can relax at Douglas Memorial Park, which is located at the southern end of the bridge. There is parking on both sides of the bridge.

Historical marker.

North portal of the covered bridge.

A few views of the Jay Covered Bridge as seen from Douglas Memorial Park.



Jay Falls.

Looking downstream at the East Branch of the Ausable River.

Interpretive display about the history of the town of Jay along with the covered bridge.



How to Get There:




Sources and Links:
See / Swim - Jay Covered Bridge
Outdoor Project - Jay Covered Bridge
Bridgehunter.com - Jay Covered Bridge 32-16-01
Adirondack.net - See The Only Covered Bridge In The Adirondacks In The Town Of Jay
New York State Covered Bridge Society - Jay Covered Bridge Essex County

Update Log:
December 29, 2020 - Added to gribblenation.org.
December 29, 2020 - Crossposted to Unlocking New York.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

New River Gorge National River Area To Become A National Park

Great news for those that enjoy National Parks, West Virginia's New River Gorge Region, or West Virginia tourism.  Included within the Fiscal Year 2021 Omnibus Appropriations Bill signed by President Trump last night (December 27th) is the New River Gorge Park and Preserve Designation Act.   The act will designate the existing New River National River and over 72,000 acres of land within it as a National Park and Preserve. The New River Gorge Bridge will continue to be the centerpiece of the new New River Gorge National Park and Preserve. (Adam Prince, 2007) The river and surrounding land, which was added to the National Park System in 1978, will be our 63rd National Park.   The designation preserves over 7,000 acres as a National Park.  This area will not allow any hunting.  The remaining 65,000 acres of the existing park will be designated as a preserve allowing hunting and fishing. The main attractions to the New River Gorge - whitewater rafting, camping, hiking, mountain bikin

The Great PA 48 Clearance Sale

It's not often that any department of transportation sells land it purchased.  They are usually in the business of acquiring land for right-of-way.  But in 1982, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation did exactly that.  Offering to buyers land it purchased just 15 years earlier for the never-built Route 48 Expressway. Background: The sale was a result of the 1970s cash crunch the PennDOT experienced.  Many projects were cut back, shelved, or eliminated.  The 'New 48', or the North-South Parkway, which was touted for nearly 20 years as a connection from the industrial Mon Valley to the Turnpike and Monroeville was one of the casualties. In the mid-late 1960s, movement to construct the new highway began with targeting a two-mile stretch of highway from the Route 48 intersection at Lincoln Way in White Oak to US 30 in North Versailles.  The plan was then to continue the highway northwards to Monroeville.  Extension south across the Youghiogheny River and to PA 51 would

Legend of the Ridge Route; a history of crossing the mountains between the Los Angeles Basin and San Joaquin Valley from wagon trails to Interstates

Over the past two decades I've crossed the Interstate 5 corridor from Los Angeles north over the Sierra Pelona Mountains and Tehachapi Range to San Joaquin Valley what seems to be an immeasurable number of times.  While Interstate 5 from Castaic Junction to Grapevine via Tejon Pass today is known to most as "The Grapevine" it occupies a corridor which has been traversed by numerous historic highways.  The most notable of these highways is known as the "Ridge Route."  This article is dedicated to the Ridge Route and the various highways that preceded it.  The Ridge Route is a 44 mile section of highway which was completed in 1915.  The Ridge Route originally stretched from Castaic Junction north over Liebre Summit and Tejon Pass to the tiny community of Grapevine.  In spite of a roadway that once utilized nearly 700 curves the Ridge Route is generally considered far ahead of it's time and one of the first modern highways in California constructed for auto