The Town of Salem offers a rich array of natural beauty, history, covered bridges, museums, music, arts and theater to suit any interest and taste. Visit these links to our many arts and theater organizations.
Bancroft Public Library
181 S. Main St.
Salem, NY 12865
Covered Bridges In Salem
There are three covered bridges in the town of Salem. All three span the Battenkill River. Two are operational – The Rexleigh, connecting Salem to the town of Jackson and the Eagleville connecting the Salem hamlet of Eagleville with the town of Jackson. The third has been converted into a museum and is located in the Salem hamlet of Shushan. Bridge models showing details of the two types of construction used on these bridges can be seen in the Shushan Bridge Museum. The Shushan Covered Bridge Museum, once a traffic bridge across the Batten Kill, is now an old farm equipment museum. The 1858 Town Lattice style bridge is 160 feet long. The bridge and one room school house are open to the public in the summer. All the covered bridges in Salem are on the National Historic Register.
Rexleigh Covered Bridge
Located approximately three miles from Salem Village on Rexleigh Road was built in 1874. Rexleigh, or “Kings Meadow,” appropriately describes the panoramic view of the wooden Rexleigh Covered Bridge, the flowing Battenkill, and the neatly farmed meadows one sees from the crest of Rexleigh Road in Salem, New York. This view, once experienced, explains the desire of the Rexleigh Covered Bridge Association to preserve this landmark.
The bridge is unique in many aspects. No other existing American wooden bridge but this one has cast iron “shoes” incorporated into its design. This feature patented by R. Comins of Troy, New York was used in building this bridge in 1874. Likewise, the Rexleigh Bridge is one of ten such covered bridges still standing in the Northeast, using the famous “Howe Truss” designed by William Howe of Spencer, Massachusetts in 1840. The unique iron “shoe” and “Howe Truss” mating puts this bridge into a class of its own. The bridge represents a transition between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, between an all-wood and an all-iron structure.
The one hundred and seven foot bridge is shaped roughly into the form of a boxed “X.” The “shoes” are used to fit timber into joints with adjustable iron rods. The abutments are made up of huge marble blocks from a nearby quarry, a feature usually found in some Vermont bridges. Furthermore, the Rexleigh covered bridge is one of four remaining bridges in Washington County. No other New York State county has this many existing wooden covered bridges. The bridge was restored in 1984 through private donations and county assistance.
Eagleville Covered Bridge
The Eagleville Covered Bridge is located two miles southeast of Shushan, and can be reached by traveling east on County Route 61 through the hamlet of Shushan and turning right on Eagleville Road. The bridge was built in 1858 by Ephraim W. Clapp. It is the best preserved example in the State of a 100 ft. double-chord Town lattice truss.
To tour the covered bridges by car, bicycle or water click here for a map and guide.
The Battenkill River
The Rexleigh, Eagleville and Shushan Covered Bridges span the Battenkill River which flows along and defines the entire southern boundary of the town of Salem on its course to the Hudson. The river’s headwaters are in Vermont and its 50 mile length is equally divided between Vermont and New York. The river is widely recognized for its natural beauty and is enjoyed by many users including trout fisherman, canoeists and floaters. To learn more about the river, its preservation and stewardship,visit the Battenkill Conservancy-NY website.