Old Blenheim Bridge

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Old Blenheim Bridge
BlenheimBridge HAER cropped.jpg
HAER photo in 2004
Carries Vehicles (1855–1936)
Pedestrians (1936–2011)
Crosses Schoharie Creek
Locale North Blenheim, NY
Design double-barreled Long truss with center arch covered bridge[1][2]
Total length 232 ft 0 in (70.7 m)[3]
Width 26 ft 3 in (8.0 m)[3]
Height 30 feet (9.1 m)[3]
Longest span 210 feet (64 m)[3]
Designer Nichols M. Powers[4][3]
Opened 1855[1]
Collapsed August 28, 2011
Old Blenheim Bridge
Old Blenheim Bridge is located in New York
Old Blenheim Bridge
Location North Blenheim, NY
Coordinates 42°28′21.11″N 74°26′28.58″W / 42.4725306°N 74.4412722°W / 42.4725306; -74.4412722Coordinates: 42°28′21.11″N 74°26′28.58″W / 42.4725306°N 74.4412722°W / 42.4725306; -74.4412722
Area Schoharie County
Built 1854–1855
Architect Nichols Montgomery Powers
NRHP Reference # 66000570
Significant dates
Added to NRHP October 15, 1966[5]
Designated NHL January 29, 1964[6]
Delisted NHL July 21, 2015

Old Blenheim Bridge was a wooden covered bridge that spanned Schoharie Creek in North Blenheim, New York, United States. With an open span of 210 feet (64 m), it had the longest span of any surviving single-span covered bridge in the world, although the structure's total length made it second in that respect to the Bridgeport Covered Bridge (233 feet (71 m) long with a 208 feet (63 m) clear span).[1] The bridge, opened in 1855, was also one of the oldest of its type in the United States. It was destroyed on August 28, 2011, as a result of flooding from Tropical Storm Irene.


Nichols Montgomery Powers[4][3] was brought in from Vermont to build the bridge by a group of local business men who formed the Blenheim Bridge Company for the purpose of constructing this bridge. The bridge opened in 1855, and remained in use for vehicles until 1932, when a steel truss bridge was constructed near-by. Since then, the bridge was maintained as a historic site open to pedestrians.[1] It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1964.[6][7]

On August 28, 2011, record flooding along the Schoharie Creek, due to Tropical Storm Irene, resulted in the bridge being washed away and completely destroyed.[8]

Longest bridge[edit]

Many sources simply claimed the Old Blenheim Bridge was the longest surviving single-span covered bridge, without getting into span-length vs. total-length. There are also sources that claim the Bridgeport Covered Bridge in California is longer. The New York Covered Bridge Society states that Blenheim bridge was 2 feet (0.61 m) longer than "a bridge in California" (presumably Bridgeport), in terms of clear span. Blenheim's clear span was originally 219 feet (67 m), according to this website.

A report by the U.S. Department of the Interior states that the Bridgeport Covered Bridge (HAER No. CA-41) has clear spans of 210 feet (64 m) on one side and 208 feet (63 m) on the other, while Blenheim Bridge (HAER No. NY-331) had a documented clear span of 210 feet (64 m) in the middle (1936 HABS drawings). In August 2003, measurements of post-repair Blenheim Bridge abutments were 209 feet 2 inches (63.75 m) on the upstream side, and 205 feet 6 inches (62.64 m) on the downstream side.[3]

Historically, the longest single-span covered bridge on record was Pennsylvania's McCall's Ferry Bridge with a claimed clear span of 360 feet (110 m) (built 1814–15, destroyed by ice jam 1817).[3]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Jackson, Donald C. (1988). Great American Bridges and Dams. Wiley. p. 140. ISBN 0-471-14385-5. 
  2. ^ "Blenheim Bridge". Covered Bridges of the Northeast USA. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Bennett, Lola (2002). "Blenheim Bridge" (PDF). Historic American Engineering Record. Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress. p. 1. Retrieved March 1, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b Jeffords, Jim (Winter 2004). Common Ground, volume 9, number 4 (pdf). Washington, D.C.: National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior. p. 2. ISSN 1087-9889. Retrieved 2010-05-30. In 1837, the people of Pittsford, Vermont, contracted 19-year-old Nichols Powers to build a bridge over Otter Creek. 
  5. ^ National Park Service (2007-01-23). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  6. ^ a b "Blenheim Covered Bridge". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. 2007-09-18. 
  7. ^ James Dillon (1974). "National Register of Historic Places Registration: Old Blenheim Bridge." (pdf). National Park Service.  and Accompanying Photos, from 1974 PDF (642 KB)
  8. ^ Eckholm, Erik (August 31, 2011). "Covered Bridges, Beloved Remnants of Another Era, Were Casualties, Too". The New York Times. Retrieved September 1, 2011. 

External links[edit]