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Bridging Old and New

He has been retired since 1993. He served in the Air Force forfour years, worked for General Electric for 37 years and traveledthe country.

Although he turned 79 years young on Jan. 4, the quiet Wessonman has never stopped.

“People retire for different reasons,” said Isaac “Doc”Entrican. “When I retired it gave me time to do some of the stuff Ilike to do.”

For fun, Entrican likes to tear things down. However, when he isdone breaking one structure apart, something usually goes backup.

His latest creation is a 30-feet long by 11-feet wide coveredbridge that crosses a creek that trickles through his property.

The bridge features a few windows and often catches theattention of those passing through on Lott-Smith Road. Thestructure has appeared on people’s Christmas cards, prom picturesand wedding photographs.

While the building is a thing of beauty, one interesting aspectof the bridge is that it is made mostly of recycled materials.

Entrican’s church, Mount Zion Baptist Church, acquired a newpiece of land and had no need for a rundown barn that stood on therecently obtained ground in 2007. Entrican helped take down thebarn and when no one wanted the lumber, he figured he could put itto good use.

The aged wood that once housed farming supplies and equipmentnow provides a unique look to Entrican’s latest masterpiece.

“I just hate to see stuff like that go to waste,” saidEntrican.

Entrican said he finished the bridge in March 2010 after threemonths of work, using just his two hands to turn an old barn into anew bridge. The only heavy machinery he used was a tractor to placesix support polls in the ground; the holes were dug with postholediggers.

Although breaking his collarbone in the process and placingevery board together and putting every rock in place by hand,Entrican said he finds the shoulder-breaking labor ratherpeaceful.

“When you build something by hand, you’re not in a hurry,” saidEntrican.

As the barn is a nice touch to his already beautifullylandscaped yard, Entrican said the structure is for more thanproviding shade and shelter to listen to the creek or watch theanimals during the spring.

“The things I build, I use,” said Entrican. “That bridge I haveout there, I use to cross the creek with my tractor andthings.”

Entrican said it was his travels in the 1980s through NewEngland, in which he noticed several covered bridges and his familythat gave him the idea to build a bridge of his own.

“We have fun with our grandchildren, that’s something I kept inmind when building the bridge,” said Entrican. “They like to playout in the creek.”

Although he has never taken any lessons in engineering orconstruction, Entrican said he has built four barns in addition tohis covered bridge throughout his life. His earliest barn datesback to 1975.

“You don’t have to be perfect building barns in carpentry,”Entrican began to joke. “A house is different.”

While he has served his country and has been to just about everystate in the U.S., finishing a work of art gives Entrican anirreplaceable sensation.

“I feel like I accomplish something,” said Entrican. “I feellike I haven’t wasted my time.”

While Entrican attributes his good health to staying busy, hiswife, Anita Entrican, just hopes it does not lead to any moreinjuries.

“He’s getting too old to fool with stuff like that,” said AnitaEntrican. “But, he won’t listen.”

Not taking his wife’s advice, Doc Entrican seems to show no signof slowing down.

“Well, I don’t have a good place right now to build firewood,”said Doc Entrican.