Friday, October 23, 2009
COVERED BRIDGES IN QUEBEC
One wonders why the destruction never stops in Quebec and one is forced to realize that everytime a bridge is destroyed up here, Tourism will stop coming up and go somewhere else... So through the years, covered bridge so called preservationist in Quebec got fed policies, excuse and arguments such as to convince them of the holiness of authenticity, almost as the dogma related to the catholic church in that province, by so called experts south of our border.
No reflection, no analysis was ever done by those Quebecers who proceeded withholding information on restoration are relocations they had witnessed and which had been described to them as HERESY!!!!
Covered bridges festival became a forbidden topic and as soon as a bridge was moved, even if it was the last resort, it was removed from the list and considered lost! This practice still goes on today on Quebec covered bridge web pages except for ATAWALK.net! Best example is the Painchaud bridge in northern Lac St-Jean region which was about to cap-size into the Ticouapé river... on two Quebec web pages, it is now gone, not authentic, another loss... this is the extend to which Gerald Arbour understands covered bridge preservation and altho he never signs or puts his name on any of the comments we find, we all recognize his lack of vision.
I wonder if Gerald really understand what happened here... he really got played by some very clever dudes who gave him plenty of ideas to uphold... with a disastrous effect for covered bridge preservation as it exist in Indiana, Vermont, Pennsylvania, Ohio never had a chance in Quebec. Gerald told me several time when pressed that he prefered to see a bridge gone and destroyed than moved... even to save it! No joke... Hello preservation!!! So the last victim of this non sense is the Gareau bridge north of Mont-Laurier.
That enormous Double-Web Town truss is UNIQUE in Canada. It sits half-demolished on the Lièvre river, last of dozens of nice big covered bridge that dotted the area until about 1975... the last ones we try to save and rebuild had Arbour write all sorts of misconceptions and half-truth so much so that the project collapsed... Bowman 1996. Beauce 1995, Wakefield 1993-97...
If covered bridge lovers have nothing to look for in Quebec, they will go to New-England...
I wonder if Arbour ever realized what was his role in that little game initiated by some members of the NATIONAL SOCIETY FOR THE PRESERVATION OF COVERED BRIDGE of New-Hampshire as it is called... LOL!!!
No, not everyone in there is that clever... and when one realizes how much money is spent every year restoring covered bridges in New-England, one also realizes quickly how much every covered bridge is worth in the economy of those States. Not every official or members of the NATIONAL is manipulative to the point of causing destruction... they simply elected someone to do it for them.
When a municipality contacted the Quebec Covered Bridge Society, they got told to leave it, do not touch it, or fix it and pay the price of a costly restoration all done by big contractors... few municipalities could be bothered and instead of showing the American model of volunteers and grass-root groups, nothing was ever proposed, being fat government employee themselves, many Quebec bridge Society officials would never propose anything of the sort for fear it would give people ideas!!!
So the municipalities kept in the dark went ahead and burned their covered bridges!
Arbour related the sorry lost... first to know everytime...
And now we have this, half a Gareau bridge two year later when measure could have been taken to save that super-historic span... I for one will no longer let American policies in covered bridge conservation blind my judgement. There are many south of the border who will agree with me. It is time to change some of the ways these societies are run! Or like in Quebec, they will hang themselves with a very short rope... Arbour so infuriated people with stupid policies that didn't make sense that his society had to close for lack of members... one wonders little why! After a bridge was rescued after a flood and arson had half-destroyed the span, local citizens got together, moved the bridge to safety and restored it to its original shape... Arbour refused to even list the bridge as moved. It so infuriated Beauce County people who where numerous in the organization that they all left and the SQPC folded a year later due to stupidity and no membership to speak of!
So I am trying to mobilize some kind of attention around the Gareau bridge and ask that Americans and Canadian and Quebecers, all bridge lovers get behind this call, I will prepare a list of folks to contact and post it so people can voice their opinion and offer services, money, sweat and hammer-juice to save that awesome bridge...
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Covered bridges from CHINA
To finally do the posting of the Chinese covered bridges is, for me, a great honour indeed. I have been with covered bridges all my life. I have travelled so many places and saw so many awesome little red barns on rivers... but anyone who has spent any given time hunting bridges anywhere will tell you, the folks you meet are as important as the structures one may visit.
Ashtabula, Parke, Saxony... I met some amazing folks on and off bridges. I also met some boneheads who call themselves experts and who have no clue what covered bridge is. But as it seems now, it is quite possible that covered bridges everywhere are related to the structures in China. We know suspension chain bridges existed in 600 AD in China, we know now that much of the so called western-technology, including iron, actually originated from China... not to take away the merit of the development of western knowledge... but really folks, 114 thousand tons of Iron where produced in China in 1076, England produces 68 thousand tons in 1766...
Arab/Muslim traders had been in contact with the far east for hundreds of years and covered bridges were probably drafted and sold as well for there was a need for such structure in the west... but nut much before 1000 or so, there was just not enough population yet to warrant such expenditure it would seems. But then, probably following the silk route somehow... the bridges covered of the far-east once were brought over and, built. There was already much bridge construction about the Roman and Greek empires... for wood was starting to become scarce on the immediate Mediterranean coastal areas, bridges where made of stones.
North of the Alps... in the realm of the tribes and forest people of the north, there was wood. So when cities started to develop, commerce followed and so did goods from all over. Don't kid yourself folks... the world was already discovered... Christian World History is one thing... world history is another!!!
For sure, we don't know if or when covered bridges arrived in Europe... all we have is circumstantial evidence that when trade from the far-east became routine, covered bridges started popping in Europe... you draw your own conclusions.
There are possibly as many as 5000 covered bridges in China today, from the 15 feet (4m) long pond-hoppers to some formidable 800+ feet long (260+m) mega bridge... as you will see in the pages of ATAWALK.net, the craftsmanship and style of these structures are indeed very telling of the civilization that produced them. Historical perspective must be respected in order to understand the role played by all. Europe took a concept and adapted it to the land and its resources. America did the same and moved the technology further. This is a small planet.
Can we enjoy the fruit of thousands of year of evolution in peace and marvel at what we once created?
May be if we do enuff of that, we will stop trying to discredit the next guy for his achievements.
Fujian, Jiangxi and Hong-Kong are now showing bridges...
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