The Theodore Burr Covered Bridge Society of Pennsylvania, Inc.

Monthly Business Meeting and Bake Sale

Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church, Manheim, PA

Sunday, April 2, 2017


President Tom Walczak called the meeting to order at 2:15 p.m. and led us in the pledge of allegiance.


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

TREASURER’S REPORT:  We have two new members James and Aleta Simpson of Palmyra, PA and one new life member Martha J. Moore of Monterey, TN.  We have 382 members renewed for 2016-17, 10 more than 1 year ago.


Joe McCarthy reported that the company he works for has started the work on Sheeder’s-Hall’s (PA-15-12).  He brought in an original bolt from the bridge and a copy of the shop drawing of the truss.  Fire retardant will be applied to interior and exterior prior to painting.  They also plan to jack it up some to try and straighten it just enough to not cause more damage.  It should take about 5 weeks to complete the work.

Connie McLaughlin reported on the non-authentic bridge in Cherry Hill, NJ that was hit by a truck and she drove over Smith’s Bridge (DE-01-02 #2) a few times as she does each week.  She also noted that Shearer’s Bridge (PA-36-31 #2) appears on the header of the website for PA’s Department of Commerce.

Pat Cook saw a romantic shelter on a golf course behind the Bird & Hand Restaurant in Lancaster, PA.

Mike Rudnick saw several bridges in Carbon and Adams counties, PA, three in Tennessee, and the Green Sergeants (NJ-10-01) bridge.

Clyde Sheib posted an article on the board about the damage to Gibson/Harmony Hill (PA-15-10) that was hit by a car.  The bridge is closed indefinitely.

Tina Chandler saw Linton Stephens (PA-15-03) and Rudolph & Arthur (PA-15-01) right after the snow storm and took some good snow pictures.


President Tom Walczak Tom shared an article he posted on the board about the restoration efforts for Harrity (PA-13-01) in Carbon County.  The bridge needs repairs due to insect damage from sitting in the park.  Also on the board is the membership form to become a friend of Beltzville State Park so you can make a donation to the restoration efforts.  Tom has been busy this past month preparing the poster and obtaining the proclamation for See Pennsylvania’s Covered Bridges Week coming up next month.

First Vice President Jim Smedley  Jim was not at the meeting today due to an event conflict.  He made a three day trip to Bedford and Somerset Counties with Ray Finkelstein and Bob Kuether for further planning of the safari.

The deadline for PA Crossings is June 4th, the weekend of our safari in Bedford County, PA.

Second Vice President Ray Finkelstein  -  Ray visited the bridges we will be seeing on safari and will report on that later in the meeting.  He reminded everyone that April 29th is the Bogert’s Festival (Cherry Blossom Festival) in Allentown.  He will have a table that will be mostly an informational table to help promote the restoration of Bogart’s.  Also he will have a table at the Macungie Community night.  He encouraged members to drop by and see what a great event this is for his community and for spreading the word about our Society and preserving covered bridges. Also, Linda asked him to thank everyone for the get well wishes.  Her left knee surgery worked out well. She is doing well and says hello to all.


Third Vice President Steve Wolfhope visited Knox Bridge (PA-15-15 #2) after the snow storm hoping to get good photos but the walkways had not been cleared.  He and Gloria went to Western PA for a family event and stopped at Claycomb (PA-05-12), Shaffer’s (PA-56-11) and Dr. Knisley (PA-05-16).

Fourth Vice President Tim McLaughlin – Tim visited Speakman  #1 (PA-15-05) after a heavy rain to check the water level, Rapp’s Dam (PA-15-14) where they have placed the headache bars and 9’ clearance signs, Kennedy (PA-15-13 #2) where he found portal damage, Sheeder’s-Hall’s to see work being done, and Poole Forge (PA-36-01) where he and Connie were married one year ago on April 1st.

Historian Fred J. Moll -  After giving a program last month at Wertz’s Red Bridge Fred talked one of the volunteers into helping him measure the length of Wertz’s Bridge.  Wertz’s Bridge measures 202 feet in the clear and 218 feet and 7 inches portal to portal.  He was asked to do a 30 minute covered bridge program this month for the Fleetwood Grange.  So he put together a 20 minute PowerPoint program and has allowed for a 10 minute question and answer period.  In this short program he plans on covering the importance of Pennsylvania and its covered bridges, local covered bridges of interest, some railroad bridges, some foreign covered bridges, and ten photos of our Society and what we do (e.g. painting bridges, decorating Poole Forge for Christmas, going on safari’s, meeting with the governor, etc.).  Perhaps he can attract some new members.  The program will be on April 27th.


Recording Secretary Gloria Smedley – On Wednesday March 8th she and Jim Smedley gave a presentation for the senior citizens at the Chiques Church of the Brethren in Manheim, PA.  They had an excellent turnout – about 50 people.  They left with a sizeable donation of photo albums of covered bridge pictures from one attendee.  Gloria reported that our Facebook page is going strong with 814 fans of the page.

Corresponding Secretary/Program Chair Pam Heisey - No report.

Treasurer Robert Kuether  - No report.



Ray Finkelstein provided an update on the safari.

·         Safari is June 3,4,5


·         Our regular meeting will be held at the Bedford Quality Inn at 8PM on Friday, June 3rd.


·         Motel information as in the PA Crossing Newsletter. Call the motel direct both in Bedford and Somerset. Remember to tell them that you are part of the Theodore Burr Covered Bridge Society.  As of this past week we have 16 rooms reserved at Bedford and Somerset 18 for Saturday 13 for Sunday.


·         Today is the last day to order safari shirts. We will take our group photo at Dr. Knisley Bridge on Saturday. Please wear your Safari shirt for the picture.


·         We will visit all the bridges in both counties except for Palo Alto, Hewett and Shaffer.  All three bridges are just too far to include them and at Palo Alto and Shaffer parking is extremely poor. 


·         We will be visiting some very local rest stops along the way and have gotten a great response from the owners.  He asked everyone to have patience and support the kindness of the local people.  They are going out of their way to accommodate us. 


·         Sunday lunch will be a picnic lunch at the Somerset Historical Society.  We have contacted another local place that is closed for the season and will open beginning of May. We have spoken to them and they will accommodate us on Sunday morning between 9:30 and 10AM.  They have Ice Cream and you can get sandwiches made up for lunch.  We are also trying to work out a way in which you can order beforehand and they will have it ready.  Again, a local place having very good reviews on internet sites. More details next month.


·         We will be visiting Flight 93 Memorial on Sunday striving to get there between 2:30 and 3PM.  He would appreciate if those that are going would let him know if they want to go to a presentation by one of the park Rangers.  They will accommodate us as a group but what he needs to know approximately how many people would like to attend.  There is a new building that you can visit that is open until 5PM.  The talk will take place at to site where the wall is located.  That is a long walk but if you want to go to just hear the talk it is a short walk.  The main building is also a short walk. If you do not wish to go at all that is your choice, we will give directions back to the motel or if you are not going on Monday you can head home. He would greatly appreciate if everyone can advise him of what they want to do. 


·         For those that will continue Monday we will be visiting Burkholder Bridge and Packsaddle in Somerset, Felton and last Jackson Mill in Bedford.  We have planned one last stop in between at another local place for a rest stop where you will be able to get coffee drinks and will have pastries for us.


·         If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact Ray.  He left some 2016 Bedford Guides up front for anyone that is interested as well as some Flight 93 information.


Gloria Smedley provided a safari T-shirt update from Jim.  T-shirt orders are going well.  Today is the deadline to order.  You can turn your forms and money into Gloria today.  The company we get the shirts from informed Jim the cost would be more because of the ‘weave’ edge originally requested.  He did not know this when he presented the photo of the shirt at the February meeting.  Because of the additional cost we decided to go with a rectangular photo with a wood-look frame around it.  If members would like the ‘weave’ look on next year’s shirt we can raise the prices to cover the additional cost.  A photo of the new design is on the board. We have also combined the safari date with the sleeve logo so we can eliminate a third pass process for the shirt company.  Each year we can just change the date of the safari or include it on the front of the shirt and just have the logo on the sleeve.  



NEW BUSINESS – Gloria Smedley gave an update on the 2018 calendar contest.  We ended up with 158 photos submitted, a few more than last year but fewer photographers.  Our judges are finished with rating the photos and Jim will be submitting the winning photos to the printer sometime this week to obtain proofs.  We should be able to have the calendars ready for the May 6th Anniversary Dinner.

Tom thanked all who submitted photos for the 2018 calendar.  He thanked Jim for all the hard work and effort that goes into producing the calendar.




See PA Covered Bridges Week is May 13-21st.  Steve Wolfhope read the Governor’s Proclamation.



·         Greg Williams shared several covered bridge items he picked up at various antique shops including a bird house of Knox Bridge.

·         Judy Kuether noted there are many ‘free’ items on the tables along the side of the room.

·         Pam Mailey shared a vintage postcard of troops marching through a NY covered bridge. 

·         Tina Cohn purchased a bridge birdhouse while in Florida on vacation

·         Tim McLaughlin shared a picture he purchased and noted several covered bridge items he found at Shady Maples Restaurant.


APPROVAL OF MINUTES – March minutes were approved as presented.


NEXT MEETING - Our Next Meeting will be our Anniversary Dinner on Saturday, May 6th at Dutch-Way Farm Market Restaurant, Gap, PA, Lancaster Co.


 ADJOURNMENT:  The meeting was adjourned at 4:45 p.m. following a presentation by Tim and Connie McLaughlin entitled “Highlights of Our Trip to New England in 2016”.


Respectfully Submitted by Gloria Smedley, Recording Secretary

April 5, 2017