List of covered bridges in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania

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Lancaster County, Pennsylvania
Baumgardener's Covered Bridge Bitzer's Mill Covered Bridge Bucher's Mill Covered Bridge Buck Hill Covered Bridge Colemanville Covered Bridge Erb's Covered Bridge Forry's Mill Covered Bridge Herr's Mill Covered Bridge Hunsecker's Covered Bridge Jackson's Sawmill Covered Bridge Kauffman's Distillery Covered Bridge Keller's Mill Covered Bridge Kurtz's Mill Covered Bridge Landis Mill Covered Bridge Leaman's Place Covered Bridge Lime Valley Covered Bridge Mercer's Mill Covered Bridge Neff's Mill Covered Bridge Pine Grove Covered Bridge Pinetown Bushong's Covered Bridge Pool Forge Covered Bridge Red Run Covered Bridge Schenck's Mill Covered Bridge Shearer's Mill Covered Bridge Siegrist's Mill Covered Bridge Weaver's Mill Covered Bridge White Rock Forge Mill Covered Bridge Willow Hill Covered Bridge Zook's Mill Covered Bridge
Map of the 29 existing covered bridges as of October, 2006 (clickable)

The following is a list of covered bridges in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania USA. Lancaster County has the most covered bridges in Pennsylvania with 29 covered bridges. Parke County, Indiana has the most covered bridges of any county in the United States with 31 covered bridges[1] All of the covered bridges in Lancaster County, except for the Hunsecker's Mill Covered Bridge, Kurtz's Mill Covered Bridge, and the Willow Hill Covered Bridge, are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Most have been on the list since 1980.[2] The WGCB numbering prefix for the county is 38-36[3]

The bridges are an important tourist attraction, both economically and culturally. This is due to both their historical significance and, being in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country, the frequent, iconic Amish horse and buggies bridge crossings. They are often visited in the form of covered bridge driving tours.[4]

History[edit]

In the early to late 1800s there were approximately 1,500 covered bridges in the state of Pennsylvania. That number has decreased to just over 200 bridges, with more located in Lancaster County than any other county in the state.[5] The remaining covered bridges in the county are a remnant of a time where most bridges in the United States were made from wood, since wood was relatively inexpensive and easy to acquire. Bridge making, however, was anything but easy and required significant cost, effort, and time. The cost of the building the bridges was covered by government funds or by private individuals building bridges across their land. Since the bridges were built from wood, they were covered to provide protection from the weather, dramatically extending the life of the bridges. Nevertheless, as floods and fires destroyed more bridges, they were eventually replaced or bypassed with more durable and longer-lasting reinforced concrete and steel beam bridges.[6] Most of the existing bridges are owned by the county government which is responsible for periodic upkeep and maintenance.[7]

Modern status[edit]

Throughout the years, many of the existing covered bridges have been destroyed, but were later reconstructed. For example, in 1972 a number of the county's covered bridges were either destroyed or badly damaged as a result of flooding caused by Hurricane Agnes. Notably, the Zook's Mill Covered Bridge managed to survive despite being filled with a few feet of water. The Willow Hill Covered Bridge, a relatively new bridge built in 1962, is a reconstructed bridge using materials recovered from the old Miller's Farm and Good's Fording covered bridges.

Design[edit]

The covered bridges in Lancaster County are all built of similar construction and appearance. Some of this is because many of the existing bridges were built by the same man, Elias McMellen, who built 12 of the existing bridges. The most common construction method used was that of the Burr arch truss. It is found in its single and double span forms in almost all of the covered bridges in the county, except for the Landis Mill Covered Bridge, a multiple kingpost design. The Pine Grove Covered Bridge and Herr's Mill Covered Bridge are the county's only double span covered bridges. While most of the bridges are situated in remote locations where there is limited traffic, a number of the bridges, such as Jackson's Sawmill Covered Bridge, were later reinforced with steel beams underneath the bridge floor and steel hanger rods on the sides to support heavier traffic or give the bridge additional support.

Historically, the Lancaster County covered bridges were painted with red sides and all-white portals.[6] Today most of the bridges retain this pattern, however, some of the portals are painted red with white trim (such as on the Zook's Mill Covered Bridge) or all-red (such as on the Pool Forge Covered Bridge). A number of these bridges also have the side panels painted red on the inside of the bridge while leaving the trusses unpainted. The Keller's Mill Covered Bridge is painted all-white, the only one of its kind in the county. Three of the bridges, Buck Hill Covered Bridge, Schenck's Mill Covered Bridge, and Shearer's Covered Bridge, have horizontal side boards. The rest of the bridges have vertical side boards.

Existing bridges[edit]

Bridge[8][9] Image WGCB Code Truss Type Length Year Original Builder Open to Traffic? Location
Baumgardener's Covered Bridge Baumgardener's Covered Bridge Side View 3008px.JPG 38-36-25 Burr arch truss 120 feet (37 m) 1860 Davis Kitch Yes (one lane) Baumgardener's Covered Bridge Dot Map.png
Bitzer's Mill Covered Bridge Bitzer's Mill Covered Bridge Side 3008px.jpg 38-36-04 Burr arch truss 98 feet (30 m) 1846 George Fink and Sam Reamsnyder Yes (one lane) Bitzer's Mill Covered Bridge Dot Map.png
Bucher's Mill Covered Bridge Bucher's Mill Covered Bridge Full Side 3008px.jpg 38-36-12 Burr arch truss 64 feet (20 m) 1881 Elias McMellen Yes (one lane) Bucher's Mill Covered Bridge Dot Map.png
Buck Hill Covered Bridge Buck Hill Farm Covered Bridge Three Quarters HDR 2950px.jpg 38-36-15 Burr arch truss 58 feet (18 m) 1825 Unknown No Buck Hill Covered Bridge Dot Map.png
Colemanville Covered Bridge Colemanville Covered Bridge Full Side View 3008px.jpg 38-36-26 Burr arch truss 170 feet (52 m) 1856 James C. Carpenter Yes (one lane) Colemanville Covered Bridge Dot Map.png
Erb's Covered Bridge Erb's Covered Bridge Side View 3000px.jpg 38-36-34 Burr arch truss 80 feet (24 m) 1849 Unknown Yes (one lane) Erb's Covered Bridge Dot Map.png
Forry's Mill Covered Bridge Forry's Mill Covered Bridge Wide Angle Side View 3000px.jpg 38-36-28 Burr arch truss 103 feet (31 m) 1869 Elias McMellen Yes (one lane) Forry's Mill Covered Bridge Dot Map.png
Herr's Mill Covered Bridge Herr's Mill Covered Bridge Side View 2696px.jpg 38-36-21 Burr arch truss 178 feet (54 m) 1844 Joseph Elliot and Robert Russell No Herr's Mill Covered Bridge Dot Map.png
Hunsecker's Mill Covered Bridge HunsickerMillBridge.jpg 38-36-06 Burr arch truss 180 feet (55 m) 1843 John Russell Yes (one lane) Hunsecker's Mill Covered Bridge Dot Map.png
Jackson's Sawmill Covered Bridge Jackson's Sawmill Covered Bridge Three Quarters View 3264px.jpg 38-36-33 Burr arch truss 143 feet (44 m) 1878 John Smith and Samuel Stauffer Yes (one lane) Jackson's Sawmill Covered Bridge Dot Map.png
Kauffman's Distillery Covered Bridge Kauffman's Distillery Covered Bridge Side View 3000px.jpg 38-36-32 Burr arch truss 96 feet (29 m) 1857 James C. Carpenter Yes (one lane) Kauffman's Distillery Covered Bridge Dot Map.png
Keller's Mill Covered Bridge Kellers Mill Covered Bridge Side View 3000px.jpg 38-36-13 Burr arch truss 74 feet (23 m) 1873 Elias McMellen Yes (one lane) Keller's Mill Covered Bridge Dot Map.png
Kurtz's Mill Covered Bridge Kurtz's Mill Covered Bridge Side View 3008px.jpg 38-36-03 Burr arch truss 90 feet (27 m) 1876 W. W. Upp Yes (one lane) Kurtz's Mill Covered Bridge Dot Map.png
Landis Mill Covered Bridge Landis Mill Covered Bridge Side View 3264px.jpg 38-36-16 Multiple king post 53 feet (16 m) 1873 Elias McMellen Yes (one lane) Landis Mill Covered Bridge Dot Map.png
Leaman's Place Covered Bridge Leaman's Place Covered Bridge Three-Quarters View 3008px.jpg 38-36-20 Burr arch truss 113 feet (34 m) 1845 James C. Carpenter Yes (one lane) Leaman's Place Covered Bridge Dot Map.png
Lime Valley Covered Bridge Lime Valley Covered Bridge Side View 3000px.jpg 38-36-23 Burr arch truss 103 feet (31 m) 1871 Joseph Cramer or Elias McMellen Yes (one lane) Lime Valley Covered Bridge Dot Map.png
Mercer's Mill Covered Bridge Mercer's Mill Covered Bridge 2600px.jpg 38-36-38 Burr arch truss 87 feet (27 m) 1880 B. J. Carter Yes (one lane) Mercer's Mill Covered Bridge Dot Map.png
Neff's Mill Covered Bridge Neff's Mill Covered Bridge Side View 3000px.jpg 38-36-22 Burr arch truss 102 feet (31 m) 1824 Christian Brackbill Yes (one lane) Neff's Mill Covered Bridge Dot Map.png
Pine Grove Covered Bridge Pine Grove Covered Bridge Wide Side View 3000px.jpg 38-36-41 Burr arch truss 204 feet (62 m) 1884 Elias McMellen Yes (one lane) Pine Grove Covered Bridge Dot Map.png
Pinetown Bushong's Mill Covered Bridge Pinetown Bushong's Mill Covered Bridge Side View 3000px.jpg 38-36-05 Burr arch truss 133 feet (41 m) 1867 Elias McMellen Yes (one lane) Pinetown Bushong's Mill Covered Bridge Dot Map.png
Pool Forge Covered Bridge Pool Forge Covered Bridge Three Quarters View HDR 3008px.jpg 38-36-01 Burr arch truss 99 feet (30 m) 1859 Levi Fink and Elias McMellen No Pool Forge Covered Bridge Dot Map.png
Red Run Covered Bridge Red Run Covered Bridge 3000px.jpg 38-36-10 Burr arch truss 107 feet (33 m) 1866 Elias McMellen No Red Run Covered Bridge Dot Map.png
Schenck's Mill Covered Bridge Schenck's Mill Covered Bridge Side View 3000px.jpg 38-36-30 Burr arch truss 96 feet (29 m) 1855 Charles Malhorn and Levi Fink Yes (one lane) Schenck's Mill Covered Bridge Dot Map.png
Shearer's Covered Bridge Shearer's Covered Bridge Side View 3000px.jpg 38-36-31 Burr arch truss 86 feet (26 m) 1847 Jacob Clare No Shearer's Covered Bridge Dot Map.png
Siegrist's Mill Covered Bridge Siegrist's Mill Covered Bridge 2600px.jpg 38-36-37 Burr arch truss 102 feet (31 m) 1885 James C. Carpenter Yes (one lane) Siegrist's Mill Covered Bridge Dot Map.png
Weaver's Mill Covered Bridge Weaver's Mill Covered Bridge Three Quarters View 3008px.jpg 38-36-02 Burr arch truss 85 feet (26 m) 1878 B. J. Carter and J. F. Stauffer Yes (one lane) Weaver's Mill Covered Bridge Dot Map.png
White Rock Forge Covered Bridge White Rock Forge Covered Bridge Side View 3000px.jpg 38-36-18 Burr arch truss 110 feet (34 m) 1847 John Russell and Elias McMellen Yes (one lane) White Rock Forge Covered Bridge Dot Map.png
Willow Hill Covered Bridge Willow Hill Covered Bridge Side View 3000px.jpg 38-36-43 Burr arch truss 93 feet (28 m) 1962 Roy Zimmerman No Willow Hill Covered Bridge Dot Map.png
Zook's Mill Covered Bridge Zook's Mill Covered Bridge Side View 3000px.jpg 38-36-14 Burr arch truss 89 feet (27 m) 1849 Henry Zook Yes (one lane) Zook's Mill Covered Bridge Dot Map.png

Former bridges[edit]

†Located on the border between Lancaster County and Chester County

‡Located on the border between Lancaster County and York County

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Parke County - Covered Bridge Capital of the World". 2008. Retrieved November 19, 2008. 
  2. ^ "PENNSYLVANIA - Lancaster County". National Register of Historic Places. Retrieved 2007-03-20. 
  3. ^ Bickel, Hank (2001-11-09). "Pennsylvania Covered Bridges". Covered Bridges of the Northeast USA. Retrieved 2006-08-03. 
  4. ^ "Covered Bridges of Lancaster County". Lancaster County Pennsylvania Dutch Country Official Visitors Center. Pennsylvania Dutch Convention & Visitors Bureau. 2009. Retrieved June 13, 2009. 
  5. ^ "Covered Bridges". Pennsylvania Dutch Country Welcome Center. Action Video, Inc. 2005. Retrieved 2006-09-26. 
  6. ^ a b Conwill, Joseph D. (2004). Covered Bridges Across North America. St. Paul, MN: MBI Publishing. ISBN 0-7603-1822-0. 
  7. ^ "The Covered Bridges of Lancaster County". County of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. November 9, 2001. Retrieved July 7, 2006. 
  8. ^ McCain, Roger A. "Covered Bridges by County and State". A Guide to Old Covered Bridges of Southeastern Pennsylvania and nearby areas. Retrieved August 3, 2006. 
  9. ^ Travis, Dale. "Pennsylvania by County". Round Barns & Covered Bridges. Retrieved 2006-08-07.