Covered bridges were once common, especially in New England. Many still survive today. This is amazing since they were made of wood, and placed in a moist environment over rivers and streams. One would think that many of them might have deteriorated. Then, wood is subject to fire, and lightning could easily take one out during any thunderstorm, especially if the surrounding land has nothing higher than the bridge.
Today, they are appreciated for their beauty, and can immediately take us back in time to another period. They have thus become true treasures, and have found many who appreciate them.
What functions might covered bridges have served? Well, one may well have been to keep horses from becoming wary of crossing the bridge. The horse would not feel elevated over the water below. Another advantage of having a bridge covered could have been to give travelers a place to rest out of the hot sun, or away from the bitter cold wind, rain, or snow. Then, on icy wood a surface could become slippery in cold weather due to icing. There is a reduced likelihood of slipping if the bridge is covered, because ice is less likely to form, and falling sleet or snow is stopped by the bridge’s roof.
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