Before the first covered bridge was built across the Big Gull, Reynolds Gull, or Stuart Gull, the first highway crossed it at a place a few rods east of the present county road known as “Sky Acres”. In fact, the roadway to the creek used by the present owner, is about where the first highway road was built.
The old road crossed the creek to the south and turned westward for about a half mile along the south bank of the gull and south meeting the Tabor’s Corner Road east of the place now occupied by Hilbert Jensen.
In the year 1840 Orson Walbridge and Gooden Thayer built the first covered bridge across the Reynold’s Gull on the same site that the iron bridge was built years later. The first bridge was a latice work bridge.
According to Mr. Walbridge, there was, at the time of building the bridge, a saw mill in operation on the north bank of the gull, nearly where the fill was made for the new road crossing. Hemlock lumber that came from the Wiley Jackman’s farm, now owned by Merle Crooks, was used in the construction of the bridge.
It is of interest, to note the cost of the lumber for the bridge, Hemlock logs delivered to the mill cost $2.50 per thousand board feet. The charge for sawing the logs into lumber was $2 per thousand. Thus making a total cost of $4.50 per thousand feet delivered at the bridge site. Since the mill was located on the north side of the gull, the logs were hauled over a rather poorly constructed road down the south bank and up the steep north bank.
The bridge itself, was much shorter than the iron one that replaced the second covered bridge. As nearly as can be estimated, the covered bridge was approximately 70 feet long and 16 feet wide. The bridge had a gable roof covered with hand shaved shingles. The sides were enclosed from the floor up for about five feet, the rest of the way to the plate that supprted the roof, was lattice work. The clearance was about 10 feet. The bridge was very noisy when a wagon passed through it due to planks being loosened by the traffic.
Stephen Brophy, father of Frank Brophy and grandfather of Waldo Snyder replaced the first covered bridge in 1873. This bridge stood until the spring of 1902, when it fell into the bottom of the gull.
There was, at the time, much speculation as to what may have caused it to collapse. One theory was that the rhythm of a dog trotting through the bridge set it into vibration causing it to be shaken from its foundation for it claimed a dead dog was found in the fallen bridge. Another explanation for its falling was that the south entrance had become rotted and thus weakened and when the frost left the ground it somehow caused the south end to move off its foundation enough to cause it to crash.
The covered bridge, sometimes served as a shelter from a rain storm. It was also rather hard for a team to draw a loaded sleigh through it because, sleigh runners did not easily slide over dry boards.
A longer steel bridge was erected during the summer of 1902, replacing the old covered bridge by the United Construction Company. This bridge stood until 1952, when it was hauled down sometime after the fill was made for the road west of the bridge site.
The fill was made to straighten the road and to take out the sharp steep curves of the approaches that lead to the former bridge, made it more permanent and in the final analysis, perhaps cheaper.