Theodore Burr Covered Bridge Society of Pennsylvania, Inc.

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Manheim, PA

Meeting of October 12, 2014


President Tom Walczak called the meeting to order at 1:05 p.m. welcoming everyone and asking if there were any new members or guests.  There were none.  He then led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Treasurer Bob Kuether read the monthly financial report and the annual financial report.  We had one new member, Darlene Bucher.  We have 195 renewed members as of the meeting. Both financial reports were approved as read.

Katie Helm asked if there was a list of where our funds had been spent for restoration purposes.  This is usually included in the President’s Annual Report which Tom will do so in the future as he has in the past.


Michael W. Chorazy attended a presentation by the Brandywine Conservancy on September 16th on the restoration of the Laurels Preserve bridges – Hayes Clark (PA-15-07 #2) and Speakman #2/Mary Ann Pyle (PA-15-06).  The restoration architect engineer and contractor put on a collaborative presentation with many insights and even more interesting photographs.  Connie Francis and Tim McLaughlin enjoyed the program as well.  Michael worked one end of the room, chatting with the presenters, who agreed to put the presentation on for the Burr Society.  Meanwhile, Connie and Time worked the other side of the room, and put him in touch with the senior planner who will coordinate with him the details of our 2015 Safari visit to those bridges.

            Meantime, also going on in Chester Country that same evening was the Section 106 consulting parties meeting for the restoration of the Rudolph & Arthur Bridge (PA-15-01).  Fortunately, Tina Conn was able to attend that meeting.  PennDOT’s plan is to disassemble the bridge, build new abutments, install six steel I-beams, and reassemble the bridge salvaging all usable timbers.  The engineer is also recommending the installation of new LED lighting, a fire detection system, and a timber coating for improved fire resistance.

            The preliminary engineering plan needs to be finalized, after which the design is completed, and the project would then be put out to bid.  That much of the project is expected to take 2-3 years, after which one construction season would be needed for the work.  The bridge is expected to be unavailable for 6-9 months, perhaps even up to one year.  The preliminary cost estimate is $1.6 million.

            The comment period ended 30 September.  Michael submitted written comments on behalf of the Society, emphasizing, beyond the safety and integrity of the new bridge, the need to resist the urge to over engineer and overbuild the new bridge, robbing it of its historical significance and resulting in something like Lancaster County’s Siegrist Mill Bridge (PA-36-37#2), as opposed to, say, Pinetown Bridge (PA-36-05#2).  Thanks to Tina for her help

            Yesterday he did some restoration bridging:  He checked on the progress of Schuylkill County’s Rock Bridge (PA-54-02) and Carbon County’s Little Gap Bridge (PA-13-02).  At Rock Bridge, the bridge is completely disassembled, there are construction materials and vehicles scattered about the site, and work is finished on the new southern abutment.  At Little Gap, the bridge is still there, there are only two vehicles on site blocking the portals, and no materials.  The steel grate floor has been removed, revealing three massive I-beams.  In between he visited Schuylkill County’s Zimmerman Bridge (PA-54-01) and Berks County’s Dreibelbis Station Bridge (PA-06-07), both of which look good.

Bonnie Shultz took her brother’s girlfriend with her to visit Zimmerman and Rock covered bridges in Schulykill County.  No work has been done on Rock.  Someone living close to the bridge said it would be done in November.  Jim Smedley commented that the actual currently proposed completion date is Mid-May 2015.  They also visited two stringers and Millmont (PA-60-01), Keefer Station (PA-49-02) which had lots of graffiti on the outside, and Rishel (PA-49-05#2) where there was a beautiful reflection that day.

Pat Cook and Bonnie Shultz saw 22 covered bridges September 13-14th on the New York State Covered Bridge Society annual safari.  Lunch was provided by the Columbia County Covered Bridge Society.  Bob and Judy Kuether gave a presentation on the Columbia County Bridges during their meeting.  On October 3rd Pat helped at the country store at Knoebels and Bonnie helped there on the 4th.

Greg Williams saw Keefer Station, Krickbaum (PA-19-32/49-12) and Richards (PA-19-41/49-07) on the way to Knoebels where he also helped at the country store.  All three bridges were in good condition.

Bob Greer visited Pleasantville (PA-06-01), Greisemer’s (PA-06-03) where all the land had been cleared of brush and trees on the south side, and the three Frederick County bridges in Maryland.  He also visited Smith Bridge (DE-02-01#2) in Delaware.


President Tom Walczak helped out at the Washington Green Festival September 20-21st.  Last weekend he visited Hughes (PA-63-17) and Bailey (PA-63-08#2) in Washington County.  Hughes has a noticeable sag in it.  Bailey is always nice since it was rebuilt just a few years ago after arson in 1990.  He also visited 4 bridges in Green County: Lippencott (PA-30-25#2) beautiful just rebuilt last year.  He was disappointed that the builders did not replace the saw tooth portal which made it stand out from other bridges.  He may write a letter including old pictures with the saw tooth portal in an effort to preserve the original look of the bridge; Neddie Woods (PA-30-26), King (PA-30-24) and Scott (PA-30-28) bridges were all in good shape.  Yesterday he visited Lower Humbert (PA-56-12), Kings (PA-56-06) and Barronvale (PA-56-03) in Somerset County.  He mentioned King’s might be a nice place for our picnic or a mini safari since it has several picnic tables in the area of the bridge.  He also visited Jackson’s Mill (PA-05-25) in Bedford County where the eaves and abutments were covered with plastic.  Perhaps they are preparing to paint the inside of the bridge.  The grasshopper span was not back up yet.

First Vice President, Jim Smedley and Gloria Smedley visited the Bridgeport Bridge (CA-29-01) and Oregon Creek Bridge (CA-58-01) while on vacation in that area.  They also saw the newly discovered Simpson Ranch Bridge (CA-31-B).  A determination as to whether or not this will be classified an authentic covered bridge is still under review by the NSPCB.  For now, it has been given a non-authentic number.  They also saw Zimmerman Bridge and the current rebuilding of Rock Bridge on their way to Knoebels on October 4th where they helped at the country store.  Last Wednesday, October 8th, they visited Steve and Gloria Wolfhope and the four of them stopped by Rapp’s Dam (PA-15-14) bridge.   

On September 17th Gloria and Jim provided a PowerPoint program at the Hershey Library that went well.  Jim thanked Bob and Judy Kuether for attending and supporting the program.  Jim was presented with a $100 check for conducting the program which he handed over to President Tom Walczak as a donation for our Preservation Fund.

The deadline for PA Crossings Newsletter is today, October 12th.  Jim requested any news item be given to him today.

Second Vice President, Ray Finkelstein, and Dave Green visited all the covered bridges in Washington and Green Counties September 18-22.  While there he also helped at the country store one day during the Washington Green Festival.  On the way home they saw Academia (PA-34-01) and Dimsville (PA-34-02) which is ready to fall into the creek.  Ray went to Knoebels October 4th and 5th to help at our country store.  When he left Knoebels on Sunday he visited Johnson (PA-19-37), Krickbaum (PA-19-32/49-12) and Richards (PA-19-41/49-07) bridges.

            On October 7th he gave a presentation on Lehigh Valley Covered Bridges Past and Present at the Lower Macungie Recreation Center for the Lower Macungie Senior Citizens Group.  About 100 people attended.  He shared a copy of the October 4th edition of the Morning Call newspaper which had a big article with a tour of the bridges in Lehigh Valley.  Next month he will do another presentation within his community.

            Ray was contacted by the Rock bridge engineer that he has some old wood at their office in Mechanicsburg available for the taking.  If anyone is interested let Ray know, and he will contact the engineer.   He mentioned that commissioners want to remove the dam at Wehr’s Bridge (PA-39-02).  Ray will contact appropriate officials with his thoughts on keeping the dam and preserving the existing environment around the bridge.

Third Vice President, Steve Wolfhope and Gloria visited bridges in western PA and eastern OH on vacation, along with many lighthouses.  They saw 18 bridges (17 authentic) in Ashtabula County, Ohio and visited the Flight 93 Memorial on the way home.  Last Wednesday they and Jim and Gloria Smedley visited Rapp's Dam (PA-15-14) where he reported that the cables were gone and half the roof had been removed and was covered with a tarp.  He and Jim were surprised at how thin the siding on the bridge was when examining one piece flapping in the wind.  The four of them also drove by Knox (PA-15-15#2) but were unable to park.  The parking area was closed and a new pedestrian walkway had been installed along one side of the bridge.  The new paint on the bridge appeared to be faded already or in need of serious cleaning.

Fourth Vice President, Ed Myers had no bridge report but provided some important reminders to the group:  to submit photos for next year’s calendar to Jim anytime; we need volunteers for this year’s Christmas Show at the Harrisburg Farm Show, the Christmas dinner, and decorating the bridge at Poole Forge (PA-36-01).

Recording Secretary, Gloria Smedley and Jim stopped by the I-83N Welcome Center this morning.  The covered bridge throw donated as part of Margaret Moore’s estate, was now on display and looks great!  They were told that their tri-fold display which can be seen from the outside draws in as many people as the antique Harley Davidson motorcycle on display next to our tri-fold covered bridge display.

Corresponding Secretary / Program Chair Pamela A. Heisey had no report.

Treasurer Bob Kuether and Judy gave a presentation to attendees of the New York State Covered Bridge Society Annual Safari.  They also attended the presentation at the Hershey Library given by Jim and Gloria Smedley.  He noted that a highlight of the Hershey talk was that Charter Member Howard Sitler attended the Hershey presentation along with his daughter.  Bob thanked all who helped with the country store at the recent festivals.  Knoebels sales set a new record ($3,744).  Both Washington/Greene and Knoebels Festivals are considering adding another day.

            Bob visited Henry (PA-63-16) and Ebenezer (PA-63-14) bridges, Parr’s Mill (PA-19-29) which was in great shape, and Esther Furnace (PA-19-20) and Davis (PA-19-16) which both needed paint.

Historian Fred J. Moll was absent and did not send in a report.


Minutes of last month’s meeting were been made available for members’ review.  There were no additions/corrections.  Minutes were approved as presented.


Greg Williams’s dad spent several days in the hospital and rehab because of dizzy spells, but is doing better.

Karen Bittinger will undergo a heart procedure to insert 3 stents on Wednesday.




Michael noted he will have to revisit parking at Knox Bridge for the 2015 safari after hearing the earlier report regarding changes to the area.


George Rothlingshofer left Indiana County bridge maps and an article on the front table.  He showed a new beer bottle with Packsaddle (PA-56-02) covered bridge on the label and offered empty bottles to members who were interested.


Our Next Meeting will be held on Sunday, November 2nd at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church  – also our Bake Sale.


Tom encouraged members to bring food donations for the Church’s ongoing Food Drive especially considering the upcoming holiday season.  He also announced the annual Executive Board Meeting will be held Saturday, November 1st at the church.  He will email the board with the starting time.

Bob announced he had left brochures for the Christmas Show on the table ($1 off admission) and provided instructions for the auction to follow the meeting.


The meeting was adjourned at 2:15 p.m.

PROGRAM:  Auction of covered bridge items donated from Margaret Moore’s estate.


Respectfully Submitted by Recording Secretary, Gloria Smedley

October 14, 2014 (revised November 3, 2014)