Theodore Burr Covered Bridge Society of Pennsylvania, Inc.

Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church, Manheim, PA

Sunday, February 7, 2016


President Tom Walczak called the meeting to order at 2:05 p.m. and lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance.


Tom reminded members the minutes are in the box for review and approval later.

TREASURER’S REPORT (Bob Kuether).  360 members renewed for 2015-2016. Six less than one year ago.  Two new members:  Robert Nelson, Michael Rudnick.



Clyde Scheib found an old announcement in Jim Lockhart’s things of our 45th Anniversary Dinner May 2, 2004.  Cost of the dinner was only $2.75.  The luminaries at Kennedy Bridge (PA-15-13 #2) were a big success in December with 400 bags of light, more than any prior year.

Tim McLaughlin reported that Speakman #1 (PA-15-05) has been completely disassembled and moved to the warehouse where Joe McCarthy’s group will work on it.

Joe McCarthy added that the bridge will be raised 3 feet, 50% of timbers will be replaced, and it will have clear span underneath to prevent debris from collecting there.  After the program Joe shared photos of the work at Speakman projected onto the screen.

Greg Williams visited Sachs (PA-01-01) and 5 other PA bridges since our last meeting.

Pat Cook visited two romantic shelters while in Florida, and showed various publications featuring ads with covered bridges in them.

Michael Chorazy attended member Mary Darrenkamp’s funeral mass. Her love of covered bridges was mentioned in the eulogy.  He visited Knox (PA-15-15#2). The work is supposed to be completed by mid February but from what he saw not a lot of progress has been made.



President Tom Walczak visited Jericho (MD-03-02 & MD-12-01) yesterday.  It looks almost finished with siding and roof completed and surveillance cameras in place although it will be about 6 weeks before they are active.  He mentioned a bridge at Quiet Valley Farm in PA he was not previously aware of that he saw while browsing

First Vice President Jim Smedley Work is continuing on Jericho on the approaches, surveillance system and headache bars (set back about 75 yards from portals).   In late December he and Gloria visited 8 bridges in Ohio and 2 in West Virginia.  The highlight of the trip was the newly rehabilitated Otway Bridge (OH-73-15) Scioto County and Stonelick Bridge (OH-13-02) in Clermont County and Crabtree Bridge (OH-40-06).  For the most part all of the bridges they saw in southern Ohio were in nice condition.  They also tripped out to Frederick County, MD after the snow melted some to get some nice winter snow photos of the three Frederick County bridges.

The deadline for the fall issue of PA Crossings is today, February 7th.  Members should be receiving it in the mail around February 19th.

Second Vice President Ray Finkelstein is working with Jim Smedley on updating our by-laws.  They will be getting a committee together to meet, report to the board, then present changes to the membership for consideration. They hope to complete this task by September 2016.  He has been sending out membership reminder notices.  He visited the Manassas Guths Bridge (PA-39-03) last month which is now open to traffic.  He will participate in the annual Community Night on May 3, 2016 as in the past, and will man a table representing the Society.


On June 12, 2016 there will be a 175th Anniversary Celebration at Bogert’s Covered Bridge (PA-39-01) in Allentown.  As regarding the cost to restore Bogert’s, yesterday the Allentown Parks Dept met with the engineering firm who restores covered bridges.  It will cost approx. $1.5 million to restore the bridge; a Band-Aid fix which will cover perhaps 5 more years is about $200,000. The design plans for restoration are approx. $150,000.  Ray is investigating grants and working on a strategy to engage the public in a fund raising effort for the restoration.  P. Joseph Lehman, Inc. is the firm who did the inspection. The city would have to put out the project for bid.  He has additional information on the table up front for anyone interested.

He and Linda visited Pinetown Road (PA-36-05#2) and Hunsecker’s Mill (PA-36-06#2).   He also visited Manassas Guths and Wehr’s (PA-39-02) and passed through Pleasantville (PA-06-01) yesterday which looks to be in good shape.

Third Vice President Steve Wolfhope – no report. 

Fourth Vice President Tim Cohen was sick and could not attend the meeting today.

Historian Fred J. Moll will give a Power Point presentation on “Covered Bridges of Berks County” at the Highlands in Wyomissing on Thursday, February 18, 2016 at 7PM.  This past month he checked on five covered bridges in Berks County and all seem well.  On Tuesday, January 19, he photographed the arrival of the new Colebrookdale Trust railroad diesel locomotive in Boyertown, an engine from the 1950’s. Excursions starting in May this year will use the newly acquired locomotive and will travel from Boyertown to Pottstown and back.  His son Andrew, while not a covered bridge enthusiast, sent him a picture he took of Fisher’s Railroad Bridge in Wolcott Vermont while visiting there last month.

Recording Secretary Gloria Smedley – No report.

Corresponding Secretary/Program Chair Pam Heisey - No report.

Treasurer Robert Kuether attended the Montour County Commissioner’s meeting to ask for approval to paint Sam Wagner’s (PA-47-01/49-11) Covered Bridge which is shared with Northumberland County.  He visited the bridge to determine the condition.  Our Society became members of the Lancaster Visitor Center on Greenfield Road where we have put covered bridge merchandise (mugs, notecards, PA book) on consignment with them.  Bob thanked Jim & Gloria Smedley and Ray & Linda Finkelstein for bring the needed merchandise for the display.  Bob visited 5 Lancaster bridges just before the snow melted to take photos for the calendar.


REPORTS OF ILLNESSES OR DEATHS – Mary Darrenkamp passed away in late December.  Pat Cook’s husband Ken is having hernia surgery tomorrow.  Janet Orland’s husband, Herb, is recovering from recent prostate surgery.


OLD BUSINESS – Tom reviewed items discussed at today’s Executive Board Meeting.




Jim showed the safari shirt for this year’s safari.  The color is maroon with a digi-print photo of Stark (NH-04-05) bridge on the front.  We are using a different vendor this year.


Jim and Gloria attended the book release party for a new federally funded book entitled “Covered Bridges and the Birth of American Engineering”. He obtained copies for distribution at today’s meeting.  A copy was given to everyone (one per couple).


June Evans suggested members be able to donate money to the Church Food Drive for those who often forget to bring in a food item for the grocery basket in the vestibule.  Pam Heisey can accept donations on behalf of the church for the food drive.


Gloria Smedley announced that refreshments are available in the kitchen during the break and thanked Gloria Wolfhope and Judy Kuether for helping her provide these today.  The refreshments are free although each month we will have a container by the refreshments for small donations to offset the cost.  Linda Finkelstein has agreed to coordinate this effort each month and already has volunteers lined up for the upcoming meetings.  Individuals who bring in refreshments can be reimbursed up to $15 to cover the cost.  The items can be homemade or store bought.



Ray Finkelstein showed a candle his son had given him as a gift with a group photo at a bridge on it.

Judy Kuether showed a puzzle of a covered bridge that Ed Myers had created.

Greg Williams mentioned the Wal-Mart covered bridge model he obtained.

Donna Talak purchased a covered bridge calendar at Wal-Mart and the tin.


APPROVAL OF MINUTES - December minutes were approved as presented.

Today’s program was given by Michael Chorazy, entitled “New York State’s Covered Bridges”.



Our Next Meeting will be on March 6, 2016 here at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. 



 The meeting was adjourned at 4:30 p.m.


Respectfully Submitted by Recording Secretary, Gloria Smedley

February 19, 2016