One of a number of covered bridges spanning over the Nashua River on Groton Street in Pepperell, Massachusetts was the Chester Waterous Covered Bridge, or the old Pepperell Covered Bridge. Built in 1962, it was the second covered bridge built at this site, with bridges of various styles having been located at this site as early as 1742. This particular edition of covered bridge in Pepperell was named for Chester H. Waterous, who was a Massachusetts state representative during the 20th Century. The old Pepperell Covered Bridge was the closest covered bridge in Boston and one of a handful of covered bridges in Massachusetts that was east of the Connecticut River. The bridge was a 108 foot span was built using a variation of the Pratt through truss design and was designed to be a wider covered bridge than the bridge it was replacing.
This spot on the Nashua River now spanned by the covered bridge has a lot of history to it. Even a brief history of the covered bridge in Pepperell must include an event that took place there just a couple of days after the British regulars marched into Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775. As a result of this action, local Minutemen from Pepperell, Groton and Hollis responded by the dozens, leaving their families to deal with the children, the farms and any situation that might arise in their absence. The bridge located at this spot in Pepperell during the American Revolution was known as Jewett's Bridge. About 70 years later, at an 1845 town meeting, it was voted to build a new covered bridge at this location. The bridge was to be named after Captain Levi Parker and was to be constructed exactly like Runnell's Bridge, which was located just over the state line in nearby Hollis, New Hampshire. After over 100 years of service and with technological improvements over age that led to heavier vehicular traffic, the covered bridge was closed in 1958. As a result of the bridge closure, it was through the work of Chester Waterous and others that a new covered bridge was built in place, which led to the Chester Waterous generation of covered bridge in Pepperell.
When I visited the covered bridge in Pepperell, Massachusetts back in September of 2006, the bridge was definitely showing wear and tear. As I later found out, the covered bridge was not long for this world. By 2008, the bridge was torn down to make room for a replacement covered bridge. By 2010, a new Pepperell Covered Bridge was built in Upstate New York, transported to Massachusetts and then erected where the old bridge once laid in Pepperell.
How to Get There:
Sources and Links:
Bridgehunter.com - Chester Waterous Bridge
Ontfin.com - Pepperell Covered Bridge, Massachusetts
Town of Pepperell - Covered Bridge Over the Nashua River
Vermont Covered Bridge Society - Waterous Bridge Taken Down