Surprise Offer for Ossipee’s Rotting Covered Bridge

Ossipee — October 7, 2006 — As the town scrambles to dredge up cash to slap a band aid on an ailing historic landmark before first snowfall, three folks from the sunny South last week offered to buy it, tear it down and haul it back home, officials said.

Selectmen parlayed the jaw-dropping offer on Ossipee’s embattled Whittier Covered Bridge into an exposition that the fast-spoiling span was worth something to somebody. Selectman Harry Merrow said there was little chance of a deal with the eager log-home builder who popped in unannounced from North Carolina, a state that boasts its own town of Ossipee.

“I thought I would throw that out to show that somebody at least was interested,” he said. As the season turns colder, officials fear the sagging landmark may not hold up well to another lashing winter of heavy sleet and snow. It was closed recently even to foot traffic as the prognosis worsened. The town may soon slap up a $3,500 patch, but many thousands more loom as the roof is tattered and underpinnings are rotten.

Merrow said the builder’s offer was “interesting,” as the town’s calls for donations have yet to net enough for a full fix. Selectmen are eying with envy the towns of Lancaster and Hopkinton whose covered bridges each won recent overhauls.

“Let’s hope that we hear that the Ossipee one is being repaired,” he said.

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