The Narrows Bridge is located at the south end of Chocorua Lake and crosses over the outlet into Little Chocorua Lake.
The rustic character of the Narrows Bridge and its picturesque setting make it one of the most photographed scenes in New Hampshire. The bridge’s setting captures an unparalleled view of Chocorua Lake and Mount Chocorua, which from the outset, the bridge’s design and appearance were intended to complement.
The Chocorua Lake Conservancy, like its predecessor organizations, maintains and periodically replaces the rustic wooden railings on the Narrows Bridge. The Town of Tamworth owns the bridge and is responsible for maintenance of the deck and underlying structure.
Volunteers who have built, repaired and maintained the railings have included Bun Nickerson, his son Larry Nickerson, Scott Paul, Sam Newsom, David Lloyd, Alan Phenix, Greg Lanou, Steve Weld, Kate Lanou and John Watkins.
The Narrows Bridge is supported by granite block abutments and wing walls on either end which date from the late 19th century. The deck is constructed of wooden planks. The wooden railings, most recently replaced in 2012, remain rustic in character, continuing a bridge design tradition established in the late 19th century. It has log posts and rails with inner panels containing a grid pattern and cross braces also fashioned with logs. The railing appears on both sides of the bridge and continues along both east and west approaches.
History of the Narrows Bridge
The Narrows Bridge was first build in 1802 by Federick Hobbs, who was paid all of $10 for the job. At that time, the first dam that created Little Chocorua Lake had not yet been built, and the crossing was over the Chocorua River. Each time the bridge was rebuilt it had a slightly different railing pattern and longer approaches, but the railings was always built of logs arranged in panels of similar proportions and retaining a rustic design.
Over the years, the railing have been rebuilt many times, usually every 15-20 years, by local craftsmen and volunteer. Like the current structure, the earlier bridge railings were built from trees that had been cut, stripped of all branches and bark, and arranged as log posts and rails in panels with log cross braces. At that time, the railing extended only a short way along the approach, but its appearance along the deck differed from the existing bridge only in that the lower rail was positioned at the mid-point of the braces, rather than at their base.
In 1954, the bridge railings were rebuilt by Roy Hammond. In 1971, the railings were vandalized, and were subsequently rebuilt by Bob Lloyd, his son Mac Lloyd, and Sam Newsom using spruce logs donated by the Moot family. In 1995, Sam Newsom and Greg Lanou built new railings using spruce logs donated by the Lloyd family. In 2011, the current cedar railings were built by Larry Nickerson, Ned Eldredge and Jack Terwilliger to replicate a historic design found in a photo taken in the early 1900s. The current railings are constructed from white cedar trees harvested near Machias, Maine.
The deck has similarly been replaced over the years, but again always built of wood planks. The granite abutments and wing walls remain unchanged. In 2014, the Town of Tamworth replaced the bridge’s underlying steel beam structure and wooden planks. To facilitate the bridge work, Larry Nickerson and some helpers removed the cedar railings and reinstalled them back on the new bridge.
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