The Theodore Burr Covered Bridge Society of Pennsylvania, Inc.

Monthly Business Meeting

Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church, Manheim, PA

Sunday, September 10, 2017


President Tom Walczak called the meeting to order at 2:08 p.m. and led us in the pledge of allegiance.  He asked that we remember and keep in our prayers those lost in the 9/11 terrorist attack and those suffering in Hurricane Irma.


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

TREASURER’S REPORT:  We have no new members this month.  We have 386 members renewed for 2016-17, 3 more than 1 year ago.  Treasurer’s report was approved as read.


Clyde Scheib coordinated the re-opening ceremony for Kennedy (PA-15-13 #2) bridge last Friday.  It was a lovely day with about 61 people in attendance.  He thanked Ray Finkelstein for representing the society.

Tina Conn attended the National Society’s tour in Oregon.  She did the basic tour of 22 bridges and 1 romantic shelter.  It was a shame there was so many wild fires and smoke.

Bonnie Shultz also attended the National’s Oregon tour 2 of the 3 days.  She saw many extra bridges and romantic shelters.  Yesterday she visited Rose Hill (PA-36-14).

Michael Rudnick was in Georgia three weeks ago doing a covered bridge tour.  A week ago he was at the Sullivan County Fair and saw bridges there and in Lycoming County - all in great shape.  Last week he visited Jackson Sawmill (PA-36-33 #2) for the first time.

Bob Greer attended the Kennedy opening ceremony.  Clyde did a great job.  Bob shared a picture he took of Wertz (PA-06-06) with two kayakers going under the bridge.



President Tom Walczak visited quite a few bridges since last month’s meeting:  Wanich (PA-19-18), Old Keefer’s Mill (PA-47-03), Sam Wagner (PA-47-01/49-11) - in good shape, Red/Millmont Bridge (PA-60-01 #2) (which is closed permanently with posts at each end), McGees Mill (PA-17-01) which looked recently painted with a new cedar roof, Roddy Road (MD-10-02 #2), Utica Mills  (MD-10-01) and Loy’s Station  (MD-10-03 #2).  He was pleased to see the nice park areas at Roddy and Loys Station.  Loys Station in particular would be a nice place for a picnic and tour of the three MD bridges.  He also visited Sachs (PA-01-01) and found a lot of fishermen there that day.

First Vice President Jim Smedley  He and Gloria attended the National Society’s safari in Oregon the end of August.  Bridges they saw on the safari and others while out west numbered 3 in California, 4 in Washington and 43 in Oregon counting 4 non-authentic bridges.  Although they encountered some smoky conditions from the wild fires while there they did manage to see all of the bridges they planned but not all of the other sightseeing areas.  Everything considered, it was a very enjoyable trip.

The deadline for PA Crossings is October 1st, the day of our Pasta Dinner Fundraiser.

Second Vice President Ray Finkelstein  -  Ray did some traveling but did not visit any covered bridges on the trip.  He went to the NYS Fair and Corning Glass Museum which was outstanding. He went to Kennedy Bridge Ribbon cutting on September 1st.  He was honored to represent the Society and gave a short talk.  He had not been to many ribbon cutting but Clyde Scheib did an outstanding job in getting people together.  We had close to a dozen TBCBS members in attendance. 

Third Vice President Steve Wolfhope and Gloria attended the NSPCB Covered Bridge Tour in Cottage Grove, OR.  They went out three days early and stayed four days after to do some bridging and sightseeing.  They saw 44 authentic and 3 non-authentic covered bridges in Oregon, 5 authentic covered bridges in Washington and 3 authentic covered bridges in California.  Smoke from the forest fires was bad on several days.  They also saw 6 lighthouses – 4 in OR and 2 in CA.

Fourth Vice President Tim McLaughlin saw many bridges last month including Speakman #1 (PA-15-05) at night, Larkin’s Mill (PA-15-11 #2), and Sheeder-Hall (PA-15-12) where work platforms were gone.  Connie visited Harmony Hill (PA-15-10) and said it looks great.  He and Connie visited bridges on Labor Day including Little Gap (PA-13-02), Bogerts (PA-39-01) Manassas Guths (PA-39-03), Wehr’s  (PA-39-02) Kreidersville (PA-48-01), Harrity (PA-13-01), Schlicher’s (PA-39-06 #2), Geiger’s (PA-39-05), Rex’s (PA-39-04), Pleasantville (PA-06-01), Griesemer’s Mill (PA-06-03) and Poole Forge (PA-36-01).

Historian Fred J. Moll -  Fred gave his annual report of the condition of Berks County covered bridges as of September, 2017.

            Wertz’s Bridge –Wertz’s Bridge is in good condition, solid roof, sides are painted smoothly and no side boards are missing.

            Pleasantville Bridge (PA-06-01) –Pleasantville Bridge still in good shape since its restoration several years ago and since our Society’s touchup of the portals.  However one of the height restriction devices has been has been damaged and is leaning.  Once again the bridge has been saved by this device.

            Griesemer’s Bridge –is in good shape.  There are two pin size holes found in the tin roof but it is not enough yet to worry about.  The siding is all in place and the paint that we put on the bridge four years ago is still holding up.  Several floor boards are loose, but then the sound of rattling floor boards is what makes this bridge a pleasure driving through.    

            Dreibelbis Bridge (PA-06-07) –The Dreibelbis Bridge is in bad shape but is waiting to be restored in the fall of this year or the spring of next year under the guidance of PennDOT.

            Kutz’s Mill Bridge (PA-06-05) –Kutz’s Mill Bridge is in good shape.  The sides and the tin roof of the bridge are solid.  But while he was walking through the bridge and looking for dead leaves and other debris that might cause rot along the sides of the bridge (last month Joe pointed out that this might be done when we paint a bridge) he found two interesting things.  First, and he never reported this before about a covered bridge, there are potholes developing in the floor of the bridge.  This is because the bridge has a concrete floor.  Secondly, there was a strange plastic box with a handle and ventilation holes setting down along the inside of the bridge.  It appears to be an animal transport case.  It cannot be seen from driving through the bridge, but it can be seen from walking through the bridge.  He called the Greenwich Township building and told them about it.  They said they would check into it. Later that week he called the township back and the road master did not want to bother with any animal matter.  They said they called an animal association of some sort and that they would take care of it.  But two weeks later the case is still in the bridge.  

            There is a brochure out on the 34th Annual Lyons Fiddle Festival being held on September 17th.  Inside it mentions raffles they are having for a Martin Guitar and a Handmade Quilt.  The photograph of the Martin Guitar has the guitar setting up against a tree with Wertz’s Red Bridge in the background.  Yet another example of bridges serving as a scenic backdrop.

            He and Shirley unfortunately will not be able to attend the Pasta and Meatball Dinner.  Every year on the first Saturday of October he gives tours of Wertz’s Red Bridge during the Heritage Festival.  This year they changed the day to Sunday.  He gives tours of the bridge at 1:00PM, 2:30PM, and at 3:00 celebrate the 150th birthday of Wertz’s Bridge with cake or cupcakes.


 Recording Secretary Gloria Smedley – No report.

Corresponding Secretary/Program Chair Pam Heisey - No report.

Treasurer Robert Kuether delivered rack cards per a request through FaceBook to the Greencastle-Antrim Chamber of Commerce.  He visited Martin’s Mill (PA-28-01) and Witherspoon (PA-28-02) bridges.

REPORTS OF ILLNESSES OR DEATHS –  Michael Chorazy had double bypass heart surgery on August 30th.  Tom spoke to him on September 1st and he was doing okay.  Helen Small, former member and wife of former president Roger Small, passed away at 100 years old.  She did a lot behind the scenes when Roger was president.  Olive Jones had a heart attack back in the spring and now has someone living with her to take care of her.


NEW BUSINESS – Pam Heisey conducted our annual memorial service.  Those lost this past year and their years as members included:

MEMBER                                           DATE OF DEATH                 MEMBER FOR

Charles W. Devenney                        01/24/2017                              16 Years

Dr. Emerson C. Flurkey                     10/25/2016                              37 Years

Anthony (Tony) Orsini                        10/17/2016                              Former (42)

William (Bill) Jeffrey                           09/29/2016                              Former (?)

Raymond Musselman                        04/25/2017                              13 Years

Marcia J. Shanafelt                            02/02/2017                              Former (03)

Larry L. Shumaker                              10/10/2016                              06 Years

Charter Member Harold L. Sitler        06/06/2017                              57 Years

Helen Small                                        07/31/2017                              Former (41)

Doug Smith                                         04/20/2017                              12 Years

Carolina Soroka                                  01/11/2017                              19 Years

Judy Talmonti                                                 07/20/2017                              20 Years

Greg Williams conducted the annual election of officers.  The nominees were as follows:

President……………………Tom Walczak            First Vice President…………. Jim Smedley

Treasurer……………………Robert J. Kuether       Second Vice President……... Ray Finkelstein

Recording Secretary…........Gloria Smedley        Third Vice President………… Steve Wolfhope

Corresponding Secretary/                                  Fourth Vice President………. Tim McLaughlin

Program Chairperson…….. Pamela Heisey          Historian ……………….......... Fred J. Moll

As there were no other nominations from the floor, the Recording Secretary cast a unanimous ballot.

Tom announced that officers are required to provide written annual reports which will be available at the next few meetings.

Jim Smedley reported on the recent audit as part of his duties as 1st Vice President.  He reviewed several months of paperwork from Bob and found no discrepancies.  Bob has consolidated into one bank which makes things easier.

Gloria announced our October 1st Pasta Dinner Fundraiser.  She encouraged members to sign up or donate funds if unable to attend.


NEW COVERED BRIDGE ITEMS:  Bob has a new puzzle, hats and calendars available for sale.

Refreshments were served during intermission.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES – August minutes were approved as presented.

NEXT MEETING - Our Next Meeting will be held on October 1, 2017 and will be our Pasta Dinner Fundraiser.


 ADJOURNMENT:  The meeting was adjourned at 4:20 p.m. following a presentation by Tom Walczak entitled “Our Society Year in Review”.


Respectfully Submitted by Gloria Smedley, Recording Secretary

September 13, 2017