The Fitch’s Covered Bridge is one of six covered bridges in Delaware County. It is one of three bridges owned and maintained by Delaware County; the other three bridges are privately owned.
Built by James Frazier and James Warren in 1870, this 113-foot-long, single span structure incorporates the Town lattice truss design patented on January 28, 1820, and again in 1835 by Ithiel Town of New Haven, Connecticut. The Fitch’s Covered Bridge is one of three covered crossings maintained by Delaware County that still carry traffic across branches of the Delaware River. The total cost to build the Fitch’s Covered Bridge in 1870 was $1,900.
When originally erected in Delhi, it was built to carry traffic on Kingston Street across the West Branch of the Delaware River. Around 1885, when a new Kingston Street bridge was required, David Wright and a few frugal town officials dismantled the lattice truss bridge, carefully marking the timbers, and transported it by wagon three miles further upstream. One can still see the letter-and-number markings on the old lattice timbers. Mr. Wright did not want any mistake made about which were the top chord pieces, so they were painted with the word ‘ Upp.’
He also found it handier to re-erect the bridge to face in the opposite direction from which it had stood in Delhi. As a result, all the timbers marked east are on the west side, and vice versa, and these markings can still be seen today. During the move, the bridge was also shortened from the length it had been at its original site. At the new location, the bridge opened into a steep uphill grade on the north end. To meet this grade, the plank floor inside sloped upwards beginning several feet from the north end. This reduced the clearance on this end, so in the 1980s the entire bridge was raised and the floor was reframed straight from end to end.
Rehabilitation of the Fitch’s Covered Bridge began in the spring of 2001, with the work being done by Delaware County’s own craftsmen. During the process, workmen discovered extensive damage to the top chord. Fortunately, the redundant nature of the Town lattice was the saving grace which enabled the bridge to remain standing.
During the 2001 rehabilitation, three diamond-shaped windows were added to each side of the bridge to allow light into the interior. The bridge was also put back to its original length of 113 feet. A wooden-shingled roof and natural wood siding were also new to the Fitch’s Covered Bridge.
Following a brief opening ceremony on December 20, 2001 the bridge was once again open to traffic. Total rehabilitation cost was $424,339. To keep as much of the original truss as possible, great care was taken during the rehabilitation of the Fitch’s Covered Bridge and today, she stands straight, cambered, and proud, ready to serve the residents of Delhi and the surrounding communities for many years to come.