Contoocook Railroad Covered Bridge – Contoocook, New Hampshire - Atlas Obscura

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Contoocook Railroad Covered Bridge

Contoocook, New Hampshire

The oldest covered railroad bridge still standing in the United States. 


Originally constructed in 1850 and rebuilt in 1889, the Contoocook Railroad covered bridge is the oldest surviving covered railroad bridge in the United States. The bridge, a double-web town lattice design, originally served the Concord and Claremont Railroad and later served the Boston and Maine when it was acquired in 1887.

The bridge was washed off its abutments twice in its lifetime, first due to a flood in the Contoocook River in 1936 and then again by a hurricane in 1939. The bridge served as a railroad bridge until 1962. From 1962 until 1990, it was used by a local merchant as a warehouse, after which it was given to the New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources.

Since then the bridge has undergone several upgrades, receiving structural repairs to the bottom chord in 2006 and fitted with a fire suppression system and motion sensor LED lights in 2010. 

Currently, the bridge is used as a footpath for locals as well as the local wildlife. 

Know Before You Go

Access to the bridge is open 24-7.

Parking can be found in the municipal parking lot situated between the Contoocook Railroad Museum and the Bank on Main Street.

The Contoocook Railroad Museum located next to the bridge can provide additional history of the bridge as well as the history of the railroads that served the area.

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November 23, 2021

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