Ghostly in its coat of white paint, the seventy-four-foot Greenbanks Hollow Bridge crosses Joe's Brook just upstream of a broken dam. Stone foundations stand dark in the brush along the banks of the stream. The bridge features a queenpost truss and a wide flaring roof much like the spans in the neighboring town of Lyndon. A bronze plaque mounted on a stone by the bridge portal reads: "Historic Site Greenbanks Hollow Covered Bridge 1886 Danville."
A bridge built here in the early 1800s burned in 1885 and was rebuilt in 1886. H. W Congdon in The Covered Bridge believes the original bridge was built without a roof.
In 1970 the bridge roadway was reinforced with steel beams installed on the deck and tie-bolted to the bottom chords below. The structure has also been supported with piers.
The Vermont Agency of Transportation has recommended that the town consider two options: close or relocate the bridge to a preservation site and build a new structure or reconstruct the bridge for moderate traffic. The Miller's Run Bridge in Lyndon offers an example of such reconstruction.
The bridge is best reached by driving south from Route 2 through Danville on the Danville-Peacham road for two miles. Turn left at Harvey's Hollow onto town highway 56 and drive east one mile to the bridge. Once you leave Harvey's Hollow, the roads are unpaved, and travel during mud season can be chancy.
To return to Route 2, you have the option of crossing the bridge and driving north, back to Danville.
Built by craftsmen whose names are lost to us, Greenbanks Hollow Bridge crosses Joe's Brook just upstream of a ruined dam. Ghostlike in low light, this white-painted span sparkles in the sun.
Chartered in 1786, Danville was named for the French Admiral Le Duc D'Anville. During their struggle to form a state in the New Hampshire Grants; the efforts of Ethan Allen and his associates were encouraged by the French Consul at Boston. In appreciation, they named several townships in honor of distinguished Frenchmen.
The selection of D'Anville seems strange, however. A look back in history reveals that Admiral D'Anville led a French mission to attack Boston in retaliation for the 1745 taking of Louisbourg on Cape Breton Island by a force of New Englanders. The Admiral's assault was nipped in the bud only by a North Atlantic storm that drowned him and destroyed most of his fleet.
Like all of the towns chartered and settled in those early years, the economy was based on water power and agriculture. Population centers began where industry could grow, which in Danville was along Joe's Brook. Today, there is very little evidence of those beginnings except for the covered bridge and the remains of the old mill works, the villages are gone.
Joe's Brook flows from Joe's Pond. Joe's Pond was named for Captain Joe, a Nova Scotia Indian -- the nearby Molly's Pond was named for his wife. Captain Joe used to hunt and fish around the pond, and at one time he had a camp there. He was a big help to the settlers with their relations with the local Indian tribes.
During the Revolutionary War, Captain Joe fought against the English, hating them for having dispersed his people in Nova Scotia. He and Molly had the distinction of having dined at the table of General George Washington. After the war they settled in Danville on a pension granted by the State of Vermont.
Today, Joe's Pond has the additional distinction of serving as the area harbinger of spring. Each year a cement block is set on the ice and the Spring season can't begin until the ice melts enough to let the block sink. Each year a Joe's Pond spring pool is set up and participants purchase blocks of time. Happy is the winner when the block sinks at the hoped-for day, hour, and minute.
1. Adapted from Spanning Time Vermont's Covered Bridges by Joseph C. Nelson ©1997