The Townshend Highway Department finished installing interpretive signboards at each of Townshend’s seven historic bridges this past week. The new signage was funded by a $16,640 USDA Rural Business Development Enterprise grant to the Townshend Historical Society.
The signage project, in conjunction with development of an enhanced historic bridges resource page on the Historical Society website and digital advertising, is designed to attract cultural tourists to Townshend, stimulate the economy, and ultimately create new jobs at small, rural businesses.
It is a part of Townshend Historical Society’s multi-year effort to preserve Townshend’s six surviving and historically-significant stone arch bridges. Restoration of the Follett Bridge on State Forest Road was completed in June of 2020. Funds are now being raised for preservation of the still-travelled-upon West Townshend Stone Arch Bridge which is in urgent in need of repairs.
A tour of Townshend’s historic bridges by car, on foot, or by bicycle, now provides a fun, educational outing for local residents and tourists of all ages. It includes six 100-plus-year-old stone arch bridges built by Townshend farmer-turned-stone mason James Otis Follett and the Scott Covered Bridge built in 1870 by Harrison Chamberlin.
To download a tour map or to find more information on these historic bridges and their builders, visit Townshend Historical Society’s website: townshendvt.org.