Ryefield Bridge

When we drove to Norway (Maine!) with Anne and Matt two weeks ago, we came across a lovely little bridge, the Ryefield Bridge over the Crooked River between Otisfield and Harrison. Charley wanted to find an offbeat backwoods used bookstore. Arlene remembered that there was a bookstore in Norway that might fill the bill. We set off to retrace our route past the Bell Hill Meeting House and over the Ryefield Bridge.

It turns out that there were only two turns to remember. With minimal reference to the road atlas we got to the bridge, and from there to Norway.

This time I stopped and took pictures of the bridge. It’s not ancient, a little under a hundred years old. I’m not sure why it gets to be historic; to me, there should be something besides just being old to make something historic. Either something important happened there, or it’s the first or last remaining of its kind. I don’t know what the Ryefield Bridge’s claim to fame is, but I like it:

I think this bridge is really an example of the difference between just building something and engineering, that is, analyzing the problem to get a good solution with the least cost. The steelwork impresses me as being very light and graceful, built to last and hold the heaviest vehicle that’s likely to use it, with an adequate safety margin, but without any more material than it needs.

Maybe this gives you an idea of the lightness, as well as the nice stonework at the footings.

The roadway is wood, one lane.

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