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Bowstrong bridges

Photo courtesy of Robert Hulley

This bridge used to be located on the Sixth Line but is now at Wellington County Museum and Archives.

Bridges saved from fading into oblivion

By Robert Hulley
Special to The Tribune
When a colleague called to say he had found a concrete bowstring bridge that someone moved to a private property in Rockwood, I was very skeptical. After all, even a small concrete bridge would weigh some 40 tons or more. You don’t just pick it up like a suitcase and take it to wherever you want to go!
It turned out to be true. A resident concerned about preserving what he called “a piece of our history” had a bowstring bridge moved to his property at his own expense, rather than see it demolished. It was formerly located in Guelph/Eramosa Township just to the east of the Sixth Line, where Sideroad 20 crosses Lutteral Creek.
Coincidently, the Wellington County Museum and Archives did exactly the same thing in 2004. It had a similar concrete bowstring bridge moved to its site near Fergus. That bridge was located on the Sixth Line, slightly downstream from the Rockwood bridge. The museum’s bridge will likely be there for our children and our children’s children to experience as part of our heritage legacy.
With our many waterways, bridges were key to the successful settlement and development of southern Ontario.
There is even a third bowstring bridge in the area. It is also located on the Sixth Line just to the south of Sideroad 30, where the road crosses the upper reaches of the Speed River. However, judging from its condition, it too may soon have to be replaced by a more modern structure.
But, if this is the true, it leaves one to wonder: if a private individual and the county museum see something of value in preserving these monuments to our past, why shouldn’t this one be preserved?
Brampton resident Robert      Hulley has an keen interest in heritage restoration and conservation.

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