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Figuring out bridge's history takes its toll

NOTH CANAAN — Gwynne Lorenzo, who grew up on Church Street in North Canaan but is now a resident of Kent, stopped in last week to share this photo of a bridge in North Canaan, which she found in a bundle of her late mother’s papers.

No one here was quite sure where the bridge was. It was marked: Aerial view of Canaan, Conn., as flood sweeps New England Nov. 1927.  That could have meant North Canaan or Falls Village. But the river there doesn’t resemble the Housatonic at the Great Falls.

As is often the case, historian and Lakeville Journal columnist Dick Paddock knew all the answers.

“The bridge in the picture was the Canaan Toll bridge,” he explained. “It ran from Honey Hill Road in North Canaan over to Weatogue Road in Salisbury. It was built in the 1890s  by a private stock company of Canaan residents, to shorten the ride from North Canaan to Twin Lakes.”

Although he wasn’t certain on this part, Paddock said he believes that bridge was destroyed by a flood in 1938 and never rebuilt.

“Today there is no longer any trace of the bridge  or of the approach road that connected it to Weatogue Road,” Paddock said. “The industry in the picture is the Canaan Power Co., which operated until 1931 or 1932. There are some traces remaining of the dam the power company built. Those remains are a serious hazard for canoes and require one to walk around them for safety.”

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