Theodore Burr Covered Bridge Society of Pennsylvania, Inc.

Annual Christmas Dinner and Meeting

December 9, 2017


President Tom Walczak was not feeling well so was unable to attend today’s dinner.  Jim Smedley called the meeting to order at 12:40 p.m. welcoming everyone to our Annual Christmas dinner.  He led us in the pledge to the flag.

NEW MEMBERS AND GUESTS:  Guests included a group from the Lancaster Visitor’s Bureau: Christine Weaver, Wanda Wayne and her husband Barry Mortimer, and Tom Cusick.  Jim also recognized those who traveled some distance to attend: Gene and Jeannine Ross from Virginia and Stacey Dyrwal and her daughter Quamari from Pittsburgh.


Jim thanked those who helped to organize today’s dinner – Judy, Bob & Desi Kuether, Linda Havens, and Linda Finkelstein.


Treasurer Bob Kuether read the monthly treasurer’s report.  We gained six new members in November -  John Cooney, Jim and Sandy Evans, Dwight Johnson, and Ernie and Kay Jones.  We have 327 members renewed for 2017-2018, 38 more than one year ago.  Treasurer’s report was approved as read.


Jim reminded everyone that donations were being accepted today for our Bridge Preservation Fund.  Donations can be placed in the covered bridge model on the table in the back of the room.  He mentioned that minutes were available in the box for review and will be approved later in the meeting.



Tina Conn saw two bridges in Georgia since our last meeting – Watson Mill (GA-97-01/GA-109-02) (beautiful settings, 4 spans) and Howards (GA-109-01).  She also visited Bartram’s (PA-15-17/PA-23-02) which has been decorated for the holidays.

Joe McCarthy reported that the south and center trusses are constructed at Blenheim (NY-48-01 #2).  More trucks are on the way to the site.  They will likely stop work and cover what they’ve done until spring.  He will let everyone know when all the trusses are finished and being moved into place.  Work on Loux (PA-09-11) is complete, repairs are done, except for painting which will be done next week.  Last night he took his crew to Poole Forge (PA-36-01) to see the lights and hoping to encourage enthusiasm and get some new members from his crew.


President Tom Walczak was not present due to illness.

First Vice President, Jim Smedley – No report.

The deadline for PA Crossings Newsletter is February 4th the day of our first meeting next year. 

Second Vice President, Ray Finkelstein – Not present.




Third Vice President, Steve Wolfhope helped with decorating Poole Forge.  While visiting Shady Maples last week he drove through Poole Forge to see if decorations were holding up and they were.

Fourth Vice President, Tim McLaughlin visited Poole Forge and found the garland had blown loose so he reattached it.  He and Connie visited some Ohio bridges while there for Thanksgiving.  They also saw Banks (PA-37-02) which needs cleaning, Thomas Ford (PA-32-06 #2), Trusel (PA-32-03) Harmon (PA-32-04) and Kintersberg (PA-32-05) where there was cribbing and a jack under one end of the bridge.  He showed a painting of Stonelick (OH-13-02) he had brought in.

Recording Secretary, Gloria Smedley - no report.

Corresponding Secretary / Program Chair Pamela A. Heisey – no report.  She wished everyone a Happy Holidays and New Year.

Treasurer Bob Kuether thanked all who helped with the decorations at Poole Forge and doing the reminder postcards and Christmas card bags.  He asked Pam Mailey to report on the Christmas Show.  She thanked all who had helped and reported that we sold $1,720 total in merchandise - $500 over last year.


Historian Fred J. Moll:  On October 1st, 2017 he attended the celebration for the 150th Anniversary of Wertz’s Red Bridge (PA-06-06) in Berks County with a birthday cake and the singing of Happy Birthday.  What he did not know at that time is that there was to be an official proclamation for the bridge that had not arrived until after the event.  So the Berks County Parks and Recreation Department, in conjunction with state Representative Barry Jozwiak, will mark the occasion by unveiling an official citation from the state House during a ceremony at the Berks County Heritage Center on December 14 at 11 A.M.   For more information, contact Jazwiak’s office at 610-378-4407 or Christopher Stress, executive director of parks and recreation, at 610-372-8939.  The event will take about 10-15 minutes and will be open to the public.


REPORTS OF ILLNESSES OR DEATHS:  Gloria Wolfhope received a note from Olive Jones. Olive is recovering from a heart attack in the spring but sends her regards to all.  Linda Finkelstein took a bad fall and has been hospitalized overnight, just 2 weeks after kidney surgery.  She thanks everyone for the many cards she has received.  Brian McKee is having hearing and sight problems due to a severe ear infection and his partner, Karen Bittenger is having stomach and heart issues.   Stacey Drywal thanked all for the many cards she received after the death of her mother, Judy Talmonti.  Judy was on the safari but soon after went downhill quickly.  Stacey told how her mom loved the safaris and the members of the society.  She plans to join in memory of her mom and hopes to learn a lot from the group about the bridges.

OLD BUSINESS  -  22 people attended the decorating of Poole Forge this year – a great turnout!

NEW BUSINESS – Jim reported we have only a few calendars left.  We purchased 400 for 2018 and they are almost gone! Jim also reminded everyone the annual luminaries at Kennedy Bridge (PA-15-13 #2) will be held on December 22nd and 23rd at dusk.  Clyde and Alda Scheib would appreciate help from members.




COVERED BRIDGE ITEMS:  Dave Evans mentioned you can find covered bridge items at antique shows.  Gloria Smedley said BJs has 4 different double puzzle sets with different covered bridges on them.  She purchased two of each for Bob Kuether and they are available in the back. Michael Chorazy provided the Society with some brochures of Frederick County, Maryland covered bridges he picked up while traveling through the area.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:  Minutes were approved as presented.


NEXT MEETING: Our Next Meeting will be held on Sunday, February 4th at St Paul’s Episcopal Church.  The program will be a movie on West Virginia covered bridges.  Refreshments will be served.


ADJOURNMENT: The meeting was adjourned at 1:35 p.m.  Various raffles with prizes were conducted.


Respectfully Submitted by Recording Secretary, Gloria Smedley

December 11, 2017