From the Archives, #36700

TOWNSHEND — Townshend Historical Society Awarded Prestigious Save America's Treasures Grant for Restoration of West Townshend Stone Arch Bridge

Townshend Historical Society has been awarded a $221,000 Save America's Treasures grant from the national Historic Preservation Fund. Together with a matching sum raised by the Historical Society and Town of Townshend, the grant will partly fund restoration of the West Townshend Stone Arch Bridge. It is to be administered by the National Park Service of the Department of the Interior.

The West Townshend Stone Arch Bridge carries Back Windham Road across Tannery Brook at the east edge of West Townshend village. Local farmer and self-taught stone mason James Otis Follett constructed the bridge in 1910. With its span of 37 feet, it holds the distinction of being the longest dry stone arch bridge built by Follett in Townshend and the last bridge that he built before his death in 1911. While its arch remains structurally sound and it continues to carry local traffic, erosion over the years caused by runoff, freezing and thawing, and, more recently, use by heavy vehicles, has caused serious structural damage to its foundation and walls.

The restoration process will be carried out by a team of certified dry stone masons using the same techniques as the original builder. The project's goals are to restore one of the town's historic treasures and to give the bridge another hundred years of useful life. The total cost of the project, slated to begin in spring of 2024, is estimated at $800,000. As of this date, $250,000 remains to be raised.

Questions and comments about this Save America's Treasures grant, the preservation project, and continued fundraising may be directed to Townshend Historical Society, [email protected] or PO Box 202, Townshend, VT 05353.

For more information about the West Townshend Stone Arch Bridge and Townshend's five other stone arch bridges go to .

Subscribe to the newsletter for weekly updates