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   The 1,282 foot Hartland Covered Bridge is the longest covered bridge in the world.  It was originally constructed by the Hartland Bridge Company, which was formed by citizens on both sides of the St. John River, and officially opened July 4, 1901.

   The bridge was purchased by the government of New Brunswick in 1906.  Two spans of the bridge were taken out by river ice April 6, 1920, and the government made major repairs and covered the structure in 1922.

   The side walkway was added to the bridge in 1945 and on June 23, 1980, the Hartland Covered Bridge was declared a National Historic Site and on September 15, 1999 it was declared a Provincial Historic Site.

   The bid for $27,945.00 was unanimously accepted by the board of directors from Albert Brewer, of Woodstock.  In 1898, the Hon. H.R. Emmerson told the Board of trade delegation that a permanent bridge would cost between $70,000.00 and $80,000.00.  The bridge would be eight steel spans. Since the bridge was built out of cedar spruce and hard pine, and local businessmen were used, the costs came in at a much lower amount.

   The original completion date was to be May 14, 1901, but as the day approached, an emergency forced the first person to cross the bridge twelve hours early.  At about 9:00pm on Monday the 13th of May, Dr. Estey responded to an urgent call to attend to a patient on the west side of the river. Dr. Estey approached the bridge and revealed to the workers, his circumstances. Workers then placed planks so he could drive across the bridge.

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   Repairs were done to the bridge in 1982-83 when a car struck a steel strain rod, causing the bridge to drop and break the main beam on the western most span.

   The car received an estimated $400.00 damage, while the bill for repairing the bridge was $140,000.00. The bridge finally reopened for traffic, on February 10, 1983.

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   Yes...   You can drive across the Longest Covered Bridge in the World at Hartland, but there are certain vehicle restrictions which do apply.  The vehicle restrictions are as follows:

Maximum Height Clearance:    13’ - 9”

Maximum Vehicle Weight:    10 tonnes


World’s Longest Covered Bridge Milestones.

1899

“Hartland Bridge Company” was formed by a group of private citizens who were tired of waiting for the government to decide whether or not to build a bridge across the St. John River at Hartland.

1901

July 4, 1901 the bridge was officially opened with the following tolls charged:  three cents for pedestrians, six cents for a single horse and wagon, twelve cents for a double team. A strip of twenty tickets could be purchased for fifty cents.

1906

The provincial government took over the ownership and maintenance of the bridge and removed the tolls.

1920

In April of 1920 two spans of the bridge were swept away by the ice.

1922

The bridge was covered and in the early years snow had to be hauled and placed on the floor so the sleds could easily travel on it in the winter.

1924

Lights were installed on the bridge.

1945

Sidewalk was added, which is a small bridge in itself.

1980

On June 23, 1980 the bridge was declared a national historic site.

1982

Small car ran into the west end of the bridge on the Somerville side and did extensive damage.  The bridge was closed for several months while repairs were done.

1987

Olympic torch was carried through the bridge as part of celebrations of the 1988 Winter Olympics held in Calgary.

1995

On September 1, 1995, Canada Post Corporation launched a postage stamp honouring the bridge.

1999

On September 15, 1999, the bridge was declared a provincial historic site.

2001

Festivities celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the bridge were held in 2001.


A Wishing Bridge

     The longest covered bridge in the world, at Hartland, New Brunswick, Canada, is a wishing bridge. When you enter the bridge, you make a wish, close your eyes, cross your fingers and hold your breath.  Make certain you are not the driver!  If you can do this for the entire length of the bridge, your wish is very likely to come true.

     This tradition is as old as the bridge. Sometimes it is varied by simply saying that you will have good luck if you can hold your breath until you have crossed the entire length of the bridge.


A Kissing Bridge

     The longest covered bridge in the world at Hartland, New Brunswick, Canada is a kissing bridge. This is a legend, which developed during the years when this covered structure was used mainly by horses and wagons.

     This was of so much concern to the general public that there was great opposition when they talked of covering the bridge.  Sermons were even preached on how a covered bridge would destroy the morals of the young citizens.  Their concerns were heard, but not heeded and the bridge was covered.

     It is said that young men trained their horses to stop about half way across the bridge.  The horse would wait until the couple shared a couple of kisses and then it would continue to the other side of the bridge.

     Today, you can see many couples going to the bridge to share a kiss and receive the special feeling of their love with the spirit of the grand old bridge. We are certain that the bridge’s spirit will look favourably on these couples.

     A good example of this was in September 1993, when Charmaine Laffoley and David Hunt of Toronto became the first couple to be married on the bridge.