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Arts & Culture

Painting History: Contoocook's Covered Railroad Bridge Gets a Facelift

Paint cans marked "warm mahogany" circling his drop cloth, Glenn Bostic takes a moment to reflect on the nature of his work on the oldest surviving covered railroad bridge in the United States. Built in 1889, this covered bridge spans the Contoocook River and served rail traffic until 1960. 

Bostic has painted his share of historic structures, including the Mount Washington Hotel. For this bridge project, he's using a 120-foot lift to get out toward the middle span.

Watch and listen as he discusses the job:

The bridge is at the junction of Routes 103 and 127. It's receiving minor repairs, with the work expected to last several weeks, New Hampshire's State Historic Preservation Officer Elizabeth Muzzey says. It was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.

Bostic says he's planning for 30 gallons of primer and around 60 gallons of paint for the exterior. This is for the side facing the roads. The other side, which sees much less direct sun, is going to stay natural.

Why "warm mahogany?" That color was chosen to best match the hue of the 1907 vintage passenger coach at the nearby Contoocook Railroad Museum.

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