A century after his death, this covered bridge still calls to mind the plein air painter who loved it.
Maine is home to several of America’s most charming bridges, from the Wire Bridge in New Portland to the Wiggly Bridge in York (which may be the world’s smallest suspension bridge). Maine also boasts a number of remarkable 19th-century covered bridges, of which one of the most picturesque is the Sunday River Bridge, commonly called the Artist’s Bridge.
The bridge, built in 1872, is a 100-foot structure that spans the Sunday River in western Newry. The unnamed artist is John Enneking, one of America’s first impressionists. Before Enneking became a painter, he was Union soldier in the Civil War, who was captured and held as a prisoner of war. After the war ended, he relocated to Boston and threw himself into his craft. He eventually became one of the first Americans to paint in Monet’s garden (which boasts its own singular overpass, the iconic Japanese bridge over the pond of water lilies).
Upon returning to the states, Enneking became a specialist in New England landscapes, rendering the mountains and bridges of the region in loose brushstrokes and rich hues. He was fond of Newry and came often to paint in plein air by the side of the bridge. He was seen working in the structure’s vicinity so often that passersby began referring to the Sunday River bridge as the Artist’s Bridge. Today, a hundred years after Enneking’s death, both his paintings and the name endure.
Know Before You Go
The bridge is located in western Newry. It is adjacent to the crossing of the Sunday River by Sunday River Road, northeast of the Sunday River Ski Resort.
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