Drivers turning onto Tucker Hill Road at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday (June 17th) were surprised to find the road closed. The reason? The covered bridge on Tucker Hill Road, also known as the Sayre Bridge, was being honored with the installation of custom-made signs.
A group of residents, led by Katherine Babbott, raised funds to commission the handpainted wooden signs. The design is similar to the the signs on the Union Village covered bridge.
The first sign was installed on the west side by the Daniels Company between 12:30 and 1:00 p.m. Meanwhile residents, a few dogs and three Selectboard members gathered on the east side for an informal ceremony scripted by Selectboard Chair Sharon Harkay to accompany the installation of the second sign. All the donors who contributed to the fundraising were invited to write their signatures on the sign’s reverse side. Sally Duston of the Thetford Historical Society gave a brief presentation about the history of the bridge and the Sayre family for whom it is named. Among other things the Sayre Brothers operated an extension-table factory in Thetford Center after 1833. The bridge itself is thought to date from about 1840 and is unique in having a “Haupt Truss with kingpost” structure. It is the only Haupt Truss bridge in New England. The bridge was restored in 2018 but retains all its original, large, structural timbers.
The ceremony culminated with the extending of a blue ribbon across the entrance to the bridge. Sharon Harkay then cut the ribbon to applause.