The Theodore Burr Covered Bridge Society of Pennsylvania, Inc.

Monthly Business Meeting

Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church, Manheim, PA

Sunday, March 1, 2020, 2:00 p.m.


President Tom Walczak called the meeting to order at 2:09 p.m. welcoming everyone to our first meeting of the new decade. Tom thanked Jim Smedley for filling in for him at the December Christmas Dinner.  He led us in the pledge of allegiance.




APPROVAL OF MINUTES – Tom reminded everyone the minutes were available for review and he will ask for approval later in the meeting.


TREASURER’S REPORT:  We have 371 members renewed for 2019-2020, 4 more than 1 year ago.




Clyde Scheib announced that the Luminaries Event at Kennedy Bridge in December was a big success!  The weather was beautiful and they had a great turnout.


Joe McCarthy shared an article in Timber Framers Magazine written by one of his crew.  He had extra copies available for those interested.  He took a carload to the Luminaries Event which he said was quite enjoyable.  He reported on the continuing work on Dreibelbis.  Part of the steel has been delivered to the site.  They will be connecting sections of beams to make one long one.  Engineers said 3 beams, not 1, will be required or the structure will fall into the river.  They will once again need the use of a crane to pick up the beams to set them in place.  Afterwards, Joe’s crew will set the sides in place.  The open house they held this past week was quite a success with over 130 people attending that day.  He talked with a District 8 official who said they have 7 bridges to repair so they held a meeting on the spot to see how much it would cost for Lancaster Timber Frames to repair the bridges.  Joe thought he was close to retirement but seems there are too many bridges still in need of repair for him to do so.  Joe mentioned that a few of the guys that work for him are becoming more interested in covered bridges and may join our society.


Pat Cook and husband Ken had a great time at Joe’s Company’s open house.  They also saw a romantic shelter while in Florida.  It was white on Dale Travis’s website but is now red.  She will send Dale a photo to update his site.



President Tom Walczak didn’t do any bridging but has been busy with other society business.  He has sent the wording for the See Pennsylvania’s Covered Bridges Week Proclamation to the Governor’s Office.  Tom is looking forward to our various upcoming society events.


First Vice President Jim Smedley and his wife, Gloria, were in New Hampshire last weekend and stopped to see six bridges in southwest NH: Ashuelot, Coombs, Slate, Carlton, Thompson and Cresson and all were in excellent condition.  He mentioned that there are extra safari T-shirt order forms, safari registration forms and Anniversary Dinner registration forms at the front table.


The deadline for PA Crossings is June 7, 2020, the Sunday of our Annual Safari.

Second Vice President Ray Finkelstein – No report.

Third Vice President Steve Wolfhope – Steve and Gloria had a great time at Joe’s Company’s Open House.  It was impressive to see the vast truss laid out on their property.  He and Gloria saw Forry’s Mill and Siegrist’s Mill on their way home from the open house – both are still in good shape.


Fourth Vice President Rob Griner – Bob and KC are in FL for Spring Training so he was not present.


Treasurer Bob Kuether announced that he had postcards for sale at 1 cent each and reminded everyone of the silent book auction that is ongoing today. 


Historian Fred Moll gave a Power-Point program on Berks County Covered Bridges on January 8, 2020 at the Calvary Baptist Church in Shillington.  Their members seemed interested in our society.  He has been asked to write six articles on the topic “Bridges in Berks” for the AAA on the Go magazine.  Their six bimonthly magazines this year will each carry one of his articles and several bridge photos in their magazine.  The current March-April issue has a bridge photograph of Fred’s on the cover of their magazine.  Earlier this year he was also privileged to have a photograph on the cover of Timber Framing Magazine.  Fred wrote a letter to the three county commissioners of Berks County about the constant damage being done to the Pleasantville Covered Bridge height restriction device.  Along with the letter he sent a copy of the recent newspaper article reporting the damage.  He suggested instead of having the height restriction device bolted to the abutment wall to have it moved away from the abutment and be anchored into the ground.  Fred also suggested that a camera be installed on that side of the bridge so that in the future they might be able to find out who did the damage to the bridge.  According to the newspaper to repair the device cost twenty thousand dollars.  The Heritage Festival at Wertz’s Red Bridge in October is no longer going to be held.  He will not be able to give tours anymore through the covered bridge.  However, he will be giving a Power-Point program July 26th at Wertz’s Red Bridge on old covered bridges of Berks County.  After the program he is considering taking anyone interested on a walk into Wertz’s Red Bridge to discover some of the secrets of the bridge.


Corresponding Secretary Pam Heisey: No report.


Recording Secretary Gloria Smedley:  No report.


ILLNESSES/DEATHS of MEMBERS:  Gloria Wolfhope spoke with Olive Jones on the phone and she is doing much better and sends her regards.  Member Donald Yeager passed away on September 16, 2019.  Pam Mailey is here today just 5 days post-op of knee surgery.  Frank Mailey is here also after having another heart catheterization just prior to Pam’s knee surgery.


OLD BUSINESS:  Tom asked for a show of hands of those who would be interested in participating in a yard sale at Poole Forge this summer.  About 7 raised their hands.


NEW BUSINESS:   Gloria updated the members on the 50/50 fundraiser raffle.  Ticket sales are going extremely well.  We’ve even received additional donations above and beyond the ticket sales.  At this time the winner’s pot is approximately $700.  Between the society’s 50% and additional donations the society will get nearly $1000 at this point.  Gloria has received a lot of positive feedback from members regarding the fundraiser.  Member Rebecca Kierski gave a $200 donation in memoriam of her mother who passed away last December.


NEW COVERED BRIDGE ITEMS:  Greg Williams shared a few framed pictures he picked up at Goodwill and a ceramic model given to him by a friend.


APPROVAL OF MINUTES – December minutes were approved as presented.  

ADJOURNMENT - The meeting was adjourned at 3:15 p.m. followed by the presentation “Cruising from Amsterdam to Budapest” by Ray Finkelstein.

NEXT MEETING - Our Next Meeting will be held on April 5th at 2:00pm at Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church, Manheim, PA.  The program will be a movie entitled “Conowingo Dam, Power on the Susquehanna”.



Respectfully Submitted, Gloria Smedley, Recording Secretary, March 9, 2020