Late last winter, Benson, Vt., builder Ted Kellogg convinced his bride-to-be that a brand-new covered bridge over the rocky stream behind his farmhouse would make a perfect spot for their summer nuptials. But as the big day approached, there was a minor problem: Thanks to an exhausting summer schedule of other work, the bridge they'd envisioned was still no more than a few sketches, a masonry pier, and a big pile of timbers. Undaunted, Kellogg rounded up a mostly-volunteer crew - including his son, his brother, his best man, and his fianc©e - and made the sawdust fly.

Although a simple king-post design would have been adequate for the 24-foot span, Kellogg opted for a more visually pleasing Town lattice truss (named for its inventor, 19th century Connecticut architect Ithiel Town) instead. He laid out and assembled the first truss on an old concrete slab conveniently located near his shop - but a half-mile...

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