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 The Narrows Bridge, Fitch Bay, Lake Memphremagog

(Photo and Text by Louise Abbott)

p-295 dsc01730-la-lightened-as-smart-object-1_vitoMore than a decade ago, Niels and I joined a subculture of "bridgers"—people who scout for covered bridges wherever they go in North America or anywhere else that has these remnants of the past.

I had conceived the idea of a feature on covered bridges in eastern Canada for Heritage magazine, and Niels and I had decided to take photographs together for the assignment. We travelled far and wide in Quebec and New Brunswick—the two provinces where covered bridges were once so prominent and where a considerable but diminishing number remain. We went to West Montrose, Ontario, too. There we happened upon Old Order Mennonites in horse-drawn buggies clattering through the only surviving historical covered bridge in the province as they drove to church on Easter Sunday. But for reasons that now elude me, we overlooked a covered bridge that we have since come to pass by regularly. It spans Lake Memphremagog at the Narrows—a channel that divides Fitch Bay into two distinct stretches of water.

In recent years, I have been collecting footage for a documentary on covered bridges in Quebec titled Driving into the Past. At last I shall have the chance to right the wrong. The Narrows Bridge will be included in the film. And so it should be: it is one of only two covered bridges in the province to cross the waters of a lake, rather than a river, although, as the appellation Narrows suggests, the span is not all that long—ninety-two feet (twenty-eight metres). The other such bridge runs from Nepawa Island to the shore of Lake Abitibi.

Driving into the Past will be available for screening in English or English with French subtitles in the summer of 2018.

In the meantime, I have written a feature about the Narrows Bridge  for the 2017 edition of the Stanstead Historical Society Journal, which was published in June. I had to rewrite the original ending to my story because of some  wonderful news: In  March of 2017, the municipality of Stanstead Township learned that the Quebec government intended to classify the bridge as a heritage property, calling it an “architectural jewel” and citing its age, its location over lake waters, its drystone abutments, and its Town lattice truss as distinctive features. The Conseil du patrimoine culturel du Québec—the provincial cultural heritage council—will study the matter and make a recommendation to the government on whether or not to finalize the classification. It may take up to one year before the decision is made public. 

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What readers are saying about Memphrémagog : An Illustrated History / Une histoire illustrée (volume 1) :

Des commentaires des lecteurs :

"A wonderful blend of narrative, history, and artistry." D.

"It is both a good and a good-looking book! Wow." S.

"Un chef-d'oeuvre bilingue remarquable tant par sa beauté que par les informations que l'on y retrouve." F.

"Un travail de recherche sérieux et exhaustif." J.-F.

This hard-cover coffee-table book runs 308 pages and has a bilingual text illustrated with 175 archival images and 90 contemporary photos by Louise Abbott and Niels Jensen. A revised edition of the original 2014 publication is now available. The retail price is $79.95 CAD, $60 US.  Memphremagog Conservation Inc. (MCI) receives a portion of the proceeds from book sales. 

If you're interested in obtaining the revised edition of volume one , please contact Georgeville Press representative Hélène Hamel: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  

To watch a video trailer about the book, please see The Birth of a Book on YouTube. 

An article in the Sherbrooke Record, July 21, 2o14: Memphrémagog: An Illustrated History / Une histoire illustrée 

CBC Radio's Rachelle Solomon in interview with Louise Abbott on July 29, 2014


Ce beau livre d'art bilingue de 308 pages richement illustrées renferme 175 reproductions de photos, peintures et cartes historiques ainsi que 90 photos contemporaines prises par Louise Abbott et Niels Jensen. Il se vend 79,95 $ CAD, 60,00 US, et une portion du produit de la vente sera remise à Memphremagog Conservation Inc. (MCI).

 YouTube avec sous-titres français : La naissance d'un livre

 Un article dans La Tribune le 25 juillet, 2014 : Le Memphrémagog sous la loupe de Louise Abbott


Saving the Founder's Home

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In August of 2015, Louise Abbott  completed a documentary titled Saving the Founder's Home for the Brome County Historical Society (BCHS) about the preservation of the Paul Holland Knowlton house in Knowlton, Quebec. The circa 1815 square-timber house was moved on Friday, October 17, 2014, from its quarters at the Knowlton Golf Club on Lakeside to its new home on the grounds of the BCHS on Lakeside.


Louise followed the progress of work on the building through to its restoration. The house was officially opened to the public on August 15, 2015, and Louise's documentary was screened at the inauguration. The film is now available for sale in DVD ($20) and Blu-ray ($25) format from the Brome County Historical Society or from Rural Route Communications. Proceeds go towards the final touches on the house, in particular, chinking between the squared logs.


 Yves Beaupré gathers wood, while David Kininmonth does some measuring at the Paul Holland Knowlton House on April 7, 2015.


By Design

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Niels Jensen's work as a furniture designer-maker was featured in a show of modern furniture titled By Designat Studio Georgeville in late June.

Niels continues to take on commissioned projects, like the tables and chairs seen in the photos below that belong to a client on the shores of Lake Memphremagog.



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