List of covered bridges in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania
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 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. The WGCB numbering prefix for the county is 38-36
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.
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. 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. Most of the existing bridges are owned by the county government which is responsible for periodic upkeep and maintenance.
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.
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. 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.
|Bridge||Image||WGCB Code||Truss Type||Length||Year||Original Builder||Open to Traffic?||Location|
|Baumgardener's Covered Bridge||38-36-25||Burr arch truss||120 feet (37 m)||1860||Davis Kitch||Yes (one lane)|
|Bitzer's Mill Covered Bridge||38-36-04||Burr arch truss||98 feet (30 m)||1846||George Fink and Sam Reamsnyder||Yes (one lane)|
|Bucher's Mill Covered Bridge||38-36-12||Burr arch truss||64 feet (20 m)||1881||Elias McMellen||Yes (one lane)|
|Buck Hill Covered Bridge||38-36-15||Burr arch truss||58 feet (18 m)||1825||Unknown||No|
|Colemanville Covered Bridge||38-36-26||Burr arch truss||170 feet (52 m)||1856||James C. Carpenter||Yes (one lane)|
|Erb's Covered Bridge||38-36-34||Burr arch truss||80 feet (24 m)||1849||Unknown||Yes (one lane)|
|Forry's Mill Covered Bridge||38-36-28||Burr arch truss||103 feet (31 m)||1869||Elias McMellen||Yes (one lane)|
|Herr's Mill Covered Bridge||38-36-21||Burr arch truss||178 feet (54 m)||1844||Joseph Elliot and Robert Russell||No|
|Hunsecker's Mill Covered Bridge||38-36-06||Burr arch truss||180 feet (55 m)||1843||John Russell||Yes (one lane)|
|Jackson's Sawmill Covered Bridge||38-36-33||Burr arch truss||143 feet (44 m)||1878||John Smith and Samuel Stauffer||Yes (one lane)|
|Kauffman's Distillery Covered Bridge||38-36-32||Burr arch truss||96 feet (29 m)||1857||James C. Carpenter||Yes (one lane)|
|Keller's Mill Covered Bridge||38-36-13||Burr arch truss||74 feet (23 m)||1873||Elias McMellen||Yes (one lane)|
|Kurtz's Mill Covered Bridge||38-36-03||Burr arch truss||90 feet (27 m)||1876||W. W. Upp||Yes (one lane)|
|Landis Mill Covered Bridge||38-36-16||Multiple king post||53 feet (16 m)||1873||Elias McMellen||Yes (one lane)|
|Leaman's Place Covered Bridge||38-36-20||Burr arch truss||113 feet (34 m)||1845||James C. Carpenter||Yes (one lane)|
|Lime Valley Covered Bridge||38-36-23||Burr arch truss||103 feet (31 m)||1871||Joseph Cramer or Elias McMellen||Yes (one lane)|
|Mercer's Mill Covered Bridge†||38-36-38||Burr arch truss||87 feet (27 m)||1880||B. J. Carter||Yes (one lane)|
|Neff's Mill Covered Bridge||38-36-22||Burr arch truss||102 feet (31 m)||1824||Christian Brackbill||Yes (one lane)|
|Pine Grove Covered Bridge†||38-36-41||Burr arch truss||204 feet (62 m)||1884||Elias McMellen||Yes (one lane)|
|Pinetown Bushong's Mill Covered Bridge||38-36-05||Burr arch truss||133 feet (41 m)||1867||Elias McMellen||Yes (one lane)|
|Pool Forge Covered Bridge||38-36-01||Burr arch truss||99 feet (30 m)||1859||Levi Fink and Elias McMellen||No|
|Red Run Covered Bridge||38-36-10||Burr arch truss||107 feet (33 m)||1866||Elias McMellen||No|
|Schenck's Mill Covered Bridge||38-36-30||Burr arch truss||96 feet (29 m)||1855||Charles Malhorn and Levi Fink||Yes (one lane)|
|Shearer's Covered Bridge||38-36-31||Burr arch truss||86 feet (26 m)||1847||Jacob Clare||No|
|Siegrist's Mill Covered Bridge||38-36-37||Burr arch truss||102 feet (31 m)||1885||James C. Carpenter||Yes (one lane)|
|Weaver's Mill Covered Bridge||38-36-02||Burr arch truss||85 feet (26 m)||1878||B. J. Carter and J. F. Stauffer||Yes (one lane)|
|White Rock Forge Covered Bridge||38-36-18||Burr arch truss||110 feet (34 m)||1847||John Russell and Elias McMellen||Yes (one lane)|
|Willow Hill Covered Bridge||38-36-43||Burr arch truss||93 feet (28 m)||1962||Roy Zimmerman||No|
|Zook's Mill Covered Bridge||38-36-14||Burr arch truss||89 feet (27 m)||1849||Henry Zook||Yes (one lane)|
- Bellbank Covered Bridge† (burnt in 1979)
- Daniel Good's Fording Covered Bridge (Used to make Willow Hill Covered Bridge in 1962)
- Miller's Farm Covered Bridge (Used to make Willow Hill Covered Bridge in 1962)
- Pennsylvania Railroad Bridge‡ - Created in the 1820s, burnt during the American civil war in July 1863. It was the longest covered bridge in the world (over a mile and a quarter in length).
- Risser's Mill Covered Bridge (burnt on July 8, 2002)
†Located on the border between Lancaster County and Chester County
‡Located on the border between Lancaster County and York County
- List of covered bridges in Columbia County, Pennsylvania
- List of covered bridges of Bradford, Sullivan and Lycoming Counties
- "Parke County - Covered Bridge Capital of the World". 2008. Retrieved November 19, 2008.
- "PENNSYLVANIA - Lancaster County". National Register of Historic Places. Retrieved 2007-03-20.
- Bickel, Hank (2001-11-09). "Pennsylvania Covered Bridges". Covered Bridges of the Northeast USA. Retrieved 2006-08-03.
- "Covered Bridges of Lancaster County". Lancaster County Pennsylvania Dutch Country Official Visitors Center. Pennsylvania Dutch Convention & Visitors Bureau. 2009. Retrieved June 13, 2009.
- "Covered Bridges". Pennsylvania Dutch Country Welcome Center. Action Video, Inc. 2005. Retrieved 2006-09-26.
- Conwill, Joseph D. (2004). Covered Bridges Across North America. St. Paul, MN: MBI Publishing. ISBN 0-7603-1822-0.
- "The Covered Bridges of Lancaster County". County of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. November 9, 2001. Archived from the original on December 26, 2005. Retrieved July 7, 2006.
- 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.
- Travis, Dale. "Pennsylvania by County". Round Barns & Covered Bridges. Retrieved 2006-08-07.