An inn was built at the crossing over the Housatonic River by Jacob and Mary Bull, who were married in 1762. They ran the inn successfully (the Bull’s Bridge Inn is still a restaurant!) , although Mary was somewhat pressed for time having been “blessed with twenty children.”
GEORGE & THE BRIDGE | in 1781 George Washington moved through the region on his way to Newport, R.I. to confer with the French. Late Friday, March 2, he was in Dover, stopping for the night at the Morehouse Tavern, but Saturday saw the warrior up early and making his way along what is today known as Route 55, toward the bridge that Jacob Bull kept across the Housatonic River in Kent. There was a good ford at that point during much of the year, but in March the river must have been running full with spring runoff, and in 1781 the Bull family was rebuilding the span. Mr. Fales, writer for the “Arsenal of the Revolution”, tells the following story:
” By one account, the timbers were in but the flooring not ready yet. And so a plank or two were thrown down and Mr. Bull is said to have asked George Washington to dismount and – for safety reasons – walk across while someone led his horse. No one knows what happened, but there was a scramble, shouts and a splash, and suddenly there was a horse in the water. Another account has the general’s horse twisting an ankle between the planks and falling into the river.”
A mystery about what actually happened but how marvelous that a General & President of the United States walked across a bridge that is still open to traffic!
In fact, Bull’s Bridge is one of only two covered bridges in Connecticut that are open to automobile traffic. There is an overlook with benches on the west side of the bridge. There are also trails along the river, some of which lead safely down the rocks to the water. Take the safest one and be sure to wear sensible shoes. One can hike farther to the south along a nice, level portion of the Appalachian Trail to a modern bridge at the confluence of the Housatonic and Ten Mile Rivers. You’ll find plenty of spots with flat, rock outcroppings where you can dip your feet.
Winter is especially captivating and a visit here should not be missed.