Construction on the Halls Mills Covered Bridge was completed in 1912, making it one of the younger of the New York State covered bridges, but perhaps one of the best constructed. It has stood for the past 99 years with a minimum of maintenance necessary, having heavy vehicle traffic until the late 1950’s, when it was retired due to the movement of County Rt 19. Since then, the bridge has stood in quiet beauty, a stunning part of Claryville’s well-preserved history.
When Hurricanes Irene and Lee passed through in late August, high waters and a large number of whole trees passing downriver severely damaged one of the original stone abutments, leaving a marginal amount standing to hold the weight of the 90 ton bridge through the winter. Engineers have been consulted, and it is possible to shore it up before winter, with more major repairs to be scheduled for spring, after the snowmelt. However, county funds are stretched, with 20 other bridges that have vehicle traffic being damaged in the floods as well. FEMA funding has not been distributed for bridges yet, and therefore no work has been started on the bridge.
Without some work being done before the snow flies, it is quite probable that the bridge will not make it through heavy snows and high waters accompanying spring snowmelt. New York State Covered Bridge Society has begun a tax deductible 501c3 account to fund fall work, to assure that the bridge stands until spring. All monies will be allocated to engineering and shoring up and preserving this local attraction for another 99 years!