The Theodore Burr Covered Bridge Society of Pennsylvania, Inc.

Monthly Business Meeting

Manheim Farm Show Building

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


President Tom Walczak called the meeting to order at 2:13 p.m. with the Pledge of Allegiance.  He welcomed everyone to the meeting and urged all to do their civic duty and vote on Election Day. 




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


TREASURER’S REPORT:  There are 292 members renewed for 2020-2021 (included) 4 new.  This is 40 more members than a year ago. The report was approved as read and will be filed for audit.



Tim McLaughlin reported there was a large turn-out for the car show at Poole Forge Bridge on October 21st; he stopped counting at 171 vehicles.  A picture was taken of each vehicle as it drove through the bridge.  He and Connie also visited Everhart Bridge/Fort Hunter, Academia Bridge, and East Broad Top Railroad near Ashville.


Joe McCarthy reported they had a great time on the one-day safari.  He enjoys looking at the many different building styles.  He also reported that Pulpmill Covered Bridge in VT was hit by a DUI driver.


Pat Cook shared a picture of kids in school; setting was inside a covered bridge. 


Gloria Smedley reported she and Jim visited 8 bridges in Juniata, Snyder and Perry Counties.  Kochenderfer Bridge in Perry County and East Oriental Bridge in Juniata/Snyder Counties are in poor condition.  North Oriental Bridge and Klinepeter’s Bridge looked like they may have been recently painted.  They also toured 11 bridges in Perry County; Mount Pleasant Bridge and Clays Bridge also appear to have been recently painted.  Fleisher’s Bridge had a section of one portal missing.


Gloria Smedley and Judy Kuether have finalized the details, so you can now shop via AmazonSmile and a small percentage of your eligible purchase will be donated to the TBCBSP.  Just designate The Theodore Burr Covered Bridge Society of Pennsylvania, Inc. for your donation.


Tina Chandler reported Foxcatcher Farms Covered Bridge in MD was heavily damaged by flooding.



President Tom Walczak visited 3 bridges local to him: Banks Bridge, McConnell’s Mill Bridge which had beautiful fall foliage and Kidd’s Mill Bridge.  All are in good shape.


First Vice President Jim Smedley  - Jim and Gloria enjoyed a really nice safari in southern Lancaster County on a beautiful October day with 26 members participating. Thanks to Tony Abramo for leading the safari. Tony reported Neff’s Mill Bridge was closed for repairs due to a bad crack so it was removed from the list of bridges to visit.

Second Vice President Ray Finkelstein – Ray took part in the mini-safari and had a great time.  He visited South Perkasie, Sheards Mill (floor is bad), Knecht’s and Wehr’s Bridges.  Ray also visited Schlicher’s (a sideboard is cracked), Geiger’s, Guth’s and Bogert’s Bridges. Ray has a call into Penn DOT to find out why Guth’s remains closed.  Penn DOT gave notice to proceed with request for bids to rehab Geiger’s and Zimmerman’s.  The rehab for Zimmerman’s is expected to begin May 30, 2022 with completion by November 1, 2022 and Geiger’s to proceed October 12, 2021 with completion by September 2022.

When Ray spoke to Chris Thompson at Penn DOT, she talked about Joe McCarthy, saying what a nice guy he is and so appreciative that he was so careful to save every piece of timber possible in the reconstruction of Dreibelbis bridge.

Third Vice President Frank Mailey - Frank also reported enjoying the one-day safari in Lancaster County.  He and Pam assisted Bob and Judy Kuether in testing and replacing the lights on the wreaths and garlands to decorate Poole Forge covered bridge and gazebo.


Fourth Vice President Bob Griner – Not present.


Treasurer Bob Kuether – Bob reported it was a good one-day safari with six people attending who had never been on safari; two of these people joined the TBCBSP.


Historian Fred Moll  - Fred found a Reading Eagle newspaper in his attic, dated July 29, 1974.  It included an article about the damage done to the Pleasantville Bridge by an oversize vehicle.  Fred shared this excerpt:  “The bridge was damaged on May 2, 1975 when a truck carrying a backhoe rambled through the structure, breaking 10 of 13 crossbeams supporting the roof.  The driver of the truck said he panicked when he heard the bridge entrance start cracking.  Damage to the bridge, which was built in 1852 over the Manatawny Creek, one-half mile south of Pleasantville, was estimated at $20,000.”  Fred said this bridge gets damaged almost on a regular basis.


Corresponding Secretary Pam Heisey - No report


Recording Secretary Pam Mailey Pam thanked Tony and Karen Abramo for leading the recent safari in Lancaster County and finding the restaurant with delicious food (wherever that was); also thank you to Jim and Gloria Smedley who assisted in the planning.  The Officers are required to submit an Annual Report according to the By-Laws. Pam has those available for anyone who would like to view them; one report is still outstanding.



Jim Smedley reported the deadline to submit information is Sunday, February 7, 2021.



Condolences go out to Pat West’s family, from western PA, on her recent passing.  Her two daughters and sister-in-law would also attend safaris.




Tom Walczak thanked everyone who brought canned goods to donate to the Manheim church and to all who made baked goods, sold them and purchased them.


All 2021 meeting dates are reserved with the October date moved to October 17th due to the Manheim Farm Show’s use of the building and grounds.  Jim Smedley reported that we need five more programs for 2021 meetings.  A suggestion was made that Joe and/or Fred present on Dreibelbis Bridge.


Joe McCarthy suggested catering by Shady Maple for a future event at the meeting site.  Since this is a large building, Judy Kuether indicated we would be below the Governor’s 20% capacity.  She also said Hoss’ is reserved for July 2021 with capacity to be determined.


Connie McLaughlin reported there were a number of vendors at October’s Pool Forge Car show. Suggested the Country Store consider setting-up next year, since right at the covered bridge.


November 21st will be decorating the Poole Forge covered bridge and gazebo.  We will not need to prepare bags for the Christmas Cards or dues reminders; also no luncheon/snacks.  We will only have access to the Tenant House to warm-up or use the restroom.



Bob Kuether shared the wooden covered bridge light that he won at an auction.  He also stated that garden and house flags are for sale on the back table.


Judy Kuether showed the tissue box covers she is making out of blue or brown covered bridge fabric.  See Judy if interested in ordering.


Jim Smedley shared that Robert Rissinger from Lancaster donated two boxes of postcards and photos (444 in total), 80% black/white from the 1950’s and earlier.  He found a 1905 and 1906 postcard of Camelback Bridge in Harrisburg.  They are mostly PA covered red bridges with about 50 from Maine. He is scanning, inventorying and researching to identify.  Jim also contacts Todd Clark w/the National Society to assist in identification.  He plans to put some on e-bay to sell and share at future meeting.


APPROVAL OF MINUTES: October minutes were approved as presented. 

ADJOURNMENT: The meeting was adjourned at 3:15 p.m.

NEXT MEETING: Next meeting will be held on December 6, 2020 2:00 p.m. at Manheim Farm Show Building.  There will be a Christmas card exchange using the bags to place the card into.  Bob Kuether will present the History of Covered Bridges in Cumberland County.


PROGRAM TODAY: Fred Moll presented slides of Vera Wagner, former President.

-Respectfully Submitted by Pam Mailey, Recording Secretary, November 29, 2020.