Why Covered Bridges were Painted Red

19 Dec

Covered bridge Bennington Cty VT You’ve spent your budget building a structure and now need to give it color and weather protection. Enter the color red. It started by combining dirt and rust with your paint base–resourceful.  In time iron ochre became a legitimate color, yet still inexpensive. And both bridges and barns adopted it as their calling card.

Serendipity or Sales?
I find it incredible that this happened across the country; did magazines promote it? I suggest it jest, but maybe the farmers almanac did indeed have an ad.

Bennington County VT View from Covered BridgeJust Passing Through
A well-mapped drive through Bennigton County Vermont takes about an hour (or longer if you play in the river (shh, don’t tell) or are photo-inclined. The trek includes five covered bridges. Turning lanes, open windows…this is the stuff of vacation.

The bridges were built over a 100-year period and showcase different styles of craftsmanship. A walk through each shows how the lattice affects shadows and light. They also each project or muffle the sound of running water from the river below.

Bennington County VT Covered BridgeLinger a Little Longer
Covered bridges were sometimes called “kissing bridges,” providing a moment of privacy during the days of horse-and-buggy courtship.

We’ve lost that romance, I think. A stolen kiss at the stoplight may be invigorating, but it certainly lacks ambiance.

In what way(s) do you think we’ve lost romance in our environment?


One Response to “Why Covered Bridges were Painted Red”


  1. Vermont: Where the State Beverage is Milk « Americana the Beautiful - January 2, 2012

    […] People, Amazing Destinations Lake Champlain, Ben & Jerry’s, Teddy Bears, covered bridges, incredible Americana at the Shelburne Museum, and a Frank Olmstead landscape design at Shelburne […]

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