Working restoring a covered bridge

Covered Bridge Restoration

Arnold M Graton is the only Master Covered Bridgewright in the country that has built 14 new Covered Bridges and restored more than 60.


Please read below to learn about some of our most recent projects:


The William Henry Stevens Covered Bridge

Highlands, NC formerly the Bagley Bridge of Warner, NH

 

The Town of Warner, NH had decided to destroy the Bagley Covered Bridge in 1966 due to the “terribly sick” state of the bridge:

 

Milton and Arnold M. Graton paid the Town of Warner $1.00 for the Bagley Covered Bridge. The bridge trusses were hauled off the Warner River in December of 1966 by Arnold. The bridge was dismantled, numbered and stored in a shed at the shop of Arnold M. Graton Associates, Inc. Milton and Arnold had hoped that they could preserve and restore the bridge for future generations and this has come to fruition. After 42 years, the Bagley Covered Bridge has being restored by Arnold M. Graton, Master Bridge Wright to its original configuration in accordance with the Town lattice design of Ithiel Town originally patented in North Carolina. This Covered Bridge was purchased for The Bascom, A Center For The Visual Arts.

 

The William Henry Stevens Covered Bridge is one lane, 14 feet wide and is 87 feet 6 inches long. In April of 2007 the original lattice members were taken out of storage and the bridge was laid out at Arnold's shop in Ashland, New Hampshire. In February of 2008, the timbers were loaded on his tractor trailer headed for their new home in Highlands, North Carolina.

 

Arnold M. Graton follows and respects the ways of the original builders of these unique structures. The type of wood, design and unique characteristics of this bridge will be restored as closely as possible to the earliest design. He has "dressed", using his planes and lathe, each of the 1100 treenails which fasten the bridge. A treenail nicknamed trunnel is a 2" wooden peg. There is no metal holding the bridge together. Each chord end was hand cut with a two man timber saw for the closest fit. Each lattice truss weighs approximately 6 tons and was raised slowly on April 30 using gin poles rigged with cable and blocks. Three people stationed at a pole, raised the bridge up by coiling the cables. Arnold, in his many bridge restorations, has never raised both sides of a bridge simultaneously. He has always raised one side at a time. The two lattice sides of this Covered Bridge were raised as one successfully with no troubles. Considering the weight of the bridge and the methods used this first is quite an accomplishment. Memorial Day weekend 2008 marks the date that the William Henry Stevens Covered Bridge crossed the creek being pulled with oxen and a capstan.

 

 

 

Johnson Creek Covered Bridge

Mount Oilvet, KY

Three year restoration completed in April 2009 - Winner of the Restoration of the Year by Governor of Kentucky.

 

Restoration included upper and lower chords and shear blocks, splicing the braces and counterbraces of 90% of the lattice, new flooring, siding and roof. First design build completed for the State of Kentucky.

 

 

 

Cabin Creek Covered Bridge

Lewis County, KY

Stabilization of bridge due to flooding which had washed out the lower bents of causing the bridge to list into the stream.

 

 

Durgin Covered Bridge

Sandwich, NH

Repairs made to rare Paddleford truss completed July 2009. Work included replacement of vertical and the brace after a car accident.

 

 

The Last of the Covered Bridge Builders (Book)

The Last of the Covered Bridge Builders is a book written by Milton Graton and Arnold M. Graton (Father and Son). It was published in 1990 by M S Graton / Clifford-Nicol. If you would like to read more about it, please contact us.

 

More about our Covered Bridge projects:

Consisting of 50 years of Covered Bridge rehabilitation and construction including 36 years working with Father, Milton S. Graton. Together they built 11 Covered Bridges and repaired and/or restored more than 40 in the United States using traditional materials and methods. Authenticity is a primary goal.

 

Recent projects include the 36' long, Heritage New Hampshire Covered Bridge, which is located at Glen, New Hampshire. This authentically constructed Covered Bridge was built in New Hampshire, then transported to the Smithsonian Folk Life Festival in Washington D.C. It was on display from June 23, 1999 through July 4, 1999. It was then moved to Glen, New Hampshire.

 

Another project, Corbin Covered Bridge, Newport, New Hampshire, is a replication of the 102'-5" long timber bridge. The original had been lost to fire. The new Town lattice bridge for Newport was completed in January 1995. The Knight's Ferry Covered Bridge in Knight's Ferry in California was a complete restoration of a 365‘, four span Howe truss Covered Bridge. An additional phase included the dry stonewall restoration, which was rebuilt from photographs of the original and using original stone. Included in the restoration was rebuilding the abutment wing wall; dry packing the abutments and piers and tuning the bridge following an earthquake. Knights Ferry Covered Bridge was completed in July 1995, this project was selected for and received the Award of Merit from the Corps of Engineers, U. S. Army Engineering District, Sacramento, California.

 

Another project was the restoration of the 81 foot span Bunker Hill Covered Bridge in Claremont, North Carolina for the Catawba County Historical Association, in Newton, North Carolina. The task was to match the original bridge builders' work for quality, grade and species of wood. This was completed in March 1994.