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

Ghost Town Tuesday; Vineland, Florida; the town killed by Disney

Vineland is a small ghost town located in southwest Orange County, Florida near the junction of Florida State Road 535 and Interstate 4.  Vineland is somewhat unique due to it largely being squeezed out of existence by Lake Buena Vista which is the company town where Disney World is located. Vineland was founded in the late 1800s as Englewood.  The town name of Englewood changed to Orange Center in 1911 before finally assuming the name Vineland in 1924.  Much like the rest of Orange County the community of Vineland was centered around Citrus Grove.  In the case of Vineland said orange groves were centered around Ruby Lake. The end of Vineland came as the Disney Corporation began purchasing parcels of citrus grove land to build Lake Buena Vista.  Vineland fell into a sharp decline in the 1960s but the community managed to continue to exist to modern times.  Much of the street grid of Vineland still exists east of FL 535 but most of the original structures are either gone or falle

Old NY 10 and Goodman Mountain in the Adirondacks

  Old highway alignments come in all shapes and sizes, as well as taking some different forms after their lifespan of serving cars and trucks has ended. In the case of an old alignment of what was NY 10 south of Tupper Lake, New York, part of the old road was turned into part of a hiking trail to go up Goodman Mountain. At one time, the road passed by Goodman Mountain to the east, or Litchfield Mountain as it was known at the time. As the years passed, sometime around 1960, the part of NY 10 north of Speculator became part of NY 30, and remains that way today from Speculator, past Indian Lake and Tupper Lake and up to the Canadian Border. At one time, the highway was realigned to pass the Goodman Mountain to the west, leaving this stretch of road to be mostly forgotten and to be reclaimed by nature. During the summer of 2014, a 1.6 mile long hiking trail was approved the Adirondack Park Agency to be constructed to the summit of the 2,176 foot high Goodman Mountain. For the first 0.9 mi

Oregon State Highway 58

  Also known as the Willamette Highway No. 18, the route of Oregon State Highway 58 (OR 58) stretches some 86 miles between US 97 north of Chemult and I-5 just outside of Eugene, Oregon. A main route between the Willamette Valley region of Oregon with Central Oregon and Crater Lake National Park, the highway follows the Middle Fork Willamette River and Salt Creek for much of its route as it makes its way to and across the Cascades, cresting at 5,138 feet above sea level at Willamette Pass. That is a gain of over 4,500 in elevation from where the highway begins at I-5. The upper reaches of OR 58 are dominated by the principal pinnacle that can sometimes be seen from the highway, Diamond Peak, and three nearby lakes, Crescent, Odell and Waldo (Oregon's second largest lake). OR 58 is chock full of rivers, creeks, mountain views, hot springs and waterfalls within a short distance from the highway. OR 58 was numbered as such by the Oregon State Highway Department in 1940. OR 58 is a del