Old Tollhouse at Cornish-Windsor Bridge

Old Tollhouse at Cornish-Windsor Bridge

Site: V09-95
Municipality: Windsor, VT
Location: 45, then 42 Bridge Street
Site Type: Miscellaneous


The Old Tollhouse is one of two remaining covered bridge tollhouses in the State. A tollhouse appears on this site on maps of 1853 and 1869, and this structure may well date from that period. The ell was built as a special room for collecting tolls, and thus was constructed out to the highway. The building is significant for its historical association with the Cornish-Windsor covered bridge, which is listed on the National Register.

ADDITIONAL ARCHITECTURAL OR STRUCTURAL DESCRIPTION: This structure has a 5x3 bay gabled main block with molded cornice, frieze, corner boards and two gabled wall dormers on the front facade. The cornice and frieze return on the gable ends. Attached to the western end of the main block is a shorter 1-1/2 story gable-front ell which extends all the way out to the edge of the street. Sash is 2/2.
BUILT: Not given.
REFERENCES: Hugh H. Henry, Rare Old Covered Bridges of Windsor County, Vermont.
RECORDED BY: Nancy E. Boone, Vt. Div. for Historic Preservation. 5/80.
(Source 130)

The new bridge was framed in a meadow north of Bridge Street on the Vermont side and moved into place before the end of 1866. Like most Connecticut River bridges, it had been and continued to be a toll bridge, with the tollhouse first at 45 Bridge Street, then at 42 Bridge Street. Agitation to make the bridge toll free began as early as the 1880s, but it was only in 1943 that the practice was discontinued. In 1936, the proprietors agreed to sell out for $22,000 ($20,000 from New Hampshire and $2000 from Vermont), but tolls continued to pay back the appropriation and maintenance costs. During World War II gas rationing, however, it cost more to collect tolls than people paid. A special bill in the New Hampshire Legislature finally freed the bridge, the last on the river to have collected tolls.
(Source 159:140)