The Theodore Burr Covered Bridge Society of Pennsylvania, Inc.

Monthly Business Meeting

Historic Poole Forge

Saturday, September 11, 2021 12:00 p.m.


President Tom Walczak called the meeting to order at 1:35 p.m. after a picnic lunch.  He welcomed everyone, had a moment of silence in remembrance of 9/11 and led the Pledge of Allegiance. 


NEW MEMBERS AND GUESTS:  Present were Diane Brannon-Nordtomme and Sarabeth Kohut, new members; Al and Karen Gentle, 1st meeting as members; Janet Orland (returning after 3 yrs absence).


APPROVAL OF MINUTES: Tom Walczak reminded everyone the August 2021 Meeting Minutes are available for review near the tables; he will ask for approval later in the meeting.


TREASURER’S REPORT:  Judy Kuether reported there are 379 members for 2020-2021 and 149 members for 2021-2022; one deceased member, Clyde Scheib.



Joe McCarthy: An Amish crew will be replacing the floor at Shearer’s Bridge.  The delay with Hassenplug bridge is due to suppliers; plan for springtime to remove iron grates and put in wood floors. - Joe is awaiting payment of funds to start work on Bartrams and Kintersburg Bridges.

- Rapp’s Dam Bridge suffered more damage with the storm (huge tree broke main tie/post).  This is in addition to the damage by the Penske truck (parts of bridge still stuck in the rental truck on its return; will be a felony charge for the driver).

- No structural damage to Speakman’s Bridge from the storm, however 40% of boards are broken off.


Steve Wolfhope: Gloria/Steve enjoyed the well-run safari; also saw 18 of 22 bridges in Northern Ohio.


Connie McLaughlin: Connie/Tim attended safari and said it was fantastic.  Extended their trip to see more bridges in 6 states (OH, MI, IN, KY, WV, PA) driving 3300 miles to see 72 bridges in total.



President Tom WalczakTom attended the Ohio safari and gave kudos to Jim/Gloria Smedley and Bob/Judy Kuether for a great safari (saw 18 bridges in 4 counties). Knowlton Bridge in Monroe County has 1 of 3 spans still standing; there are plans to rebuild. 

- Next weekend, September 18th-19th, is the Washington-Green County Covered Bridge Festival.


First Vice President Jim Smedley:  Gloria/Jim visited 9 covered bridges on September 3rd looking for any damage from the recent storm on September 1st.  Found damage to some of them most notably: Gibson’s, Speakman #1, Linton-Stevens, all in Chester County; South Perkasie in Bucks County; and we lost Rudolph & Arthur Bridge in Chester County.  Foxcatcher Farms in MD was also damaged at the lower siding as well as Pine Grove in Chester and Lancaster counties and we know that Rapp’s Dam also was damaged on both lower sides.  Jim’s sure Smith’s Bridge in Delaware was damaged for the water was nearly half way up the bridge but he has not seen anything about it yet.  Hunsecker’s Mill Bridge had water at least to the bottom of the bridge. Jim’s also concerned that there may be some damage to more Bucks County bridges but he has not heard anything yet.

Our safari was well received and Jim thanked everyone for making it successful.  Safaris go well when everyone follows the rules.  Jim will send out the group photos shortly for all who attended the safari.

Second Vice President Ray Finkelstein – Not present

Third Vice President Frank Mailey – Pam/Frank enjoyed safari.  After the Ohio safari, we traveled to Washington County, PA with Bob/Judy Kuether and saw 11 more bridges.  All looked good except Ebenezer Bridge which needs a second coat of paint. 


Fourth Vice President Bob Griner – KC/Bob attended safari and agree it was an outstanding job in planning.  They went with Tim/Connie McLaughlin and saw 5 more bridges in Ohio and then to Ashtabula, OH to see 13 bridges.


Treasurer Bob Kuether – Judy/Bob attended safari.  Saw 11 other bridges in Washington County, PA on the way home.

- To date, 217 calendars have been sold for 2022.


Historian Fred Moll – Not present; report emailed.  On August 3, 2021 Fred gave a PowerPoint program in Wernersville on The Covered Bridges of Berks County.  This was his first program since COVID Virus canceled everything; about 30 senior citizens in attendance and they appreciated the program.  

- In the August 16th Reading Eagle, there was an ad for bids to replace the Pleasantville Covered Bridge headache bars, one of which was destroyed by a garbage truck.  From reviewing the construction plans (formally called blue prints) it appears the headache bars (terminology used in the contract) will still be imbedded in the abutment walls instead of moving them away from the abutments and bridge.  There will be a suspended bar below the headache bar that will be attached by chains and that will have a sign on it stating “10ft 5in” for the clearance.  It will be a while until the bids are received, a contract is signed, and the project gets finished.  For now, the Bridge is temporarily open for traffic.

- Fred visited the five existing covered bridges of Berks County which all made it through the flood of Ida:  Wertz’s Bridge is in good shape; Kutz’s Mill Bridge is not in bad shape but has a pothole in cement floor; Dreibelbis Bridge is still an outstanding example of good craftsmanship and is in good shape;

Greisemer’s Mill Bridge could use some touchup work, but has a solid floor and roof.


Corresponding Secretary Pam Heisey   Pam read in the newspaper that Hunsecker’s Mill and Pinetown Bridges were OK after the flooding.


Recording Secretary Pam Mailey – Pam assisted Bob/Judy Kuether with inventory of clothing for upcoming festivals; note the new bar-code labels on the hoodies that Judy developed for scanning.

- Pam was contacted by Keith Greenawalt, Director of Dillsburg Area Public Library about a Covered Bridge Presentation similar to what Bob/Judy Kuether did for the Red Land Library a couple years ago.  We will be meeting with him on September 23rd to finalize plans for the October 19th presentation.


NEWSLETTER: Jim Smedley reported the deadline to submit information is October 3rd.

ILLNESSES/DEATHS of MEMBERS: Clyde Scheib, long time member, passed away at age 95.  His wife, Alda, reported they plan to continue the luminaries for the holidays at Kennedy Bridge.

- Linda Finkelstein is still having health and stability problems.


OLD BUSINESS: Bob Kuether showed a covered bridge quilt that was donated to the Society.  It will be raffled off at December’s meeting.  Tickets are on sale now – 3 tickets for $1.


ELECTION OF OFFICERS 2021-2022:  Tim and Connie McLaughlin comprise the Nominating Committee for 2021-2022 Officers.  Tim thanked Tom Walczak for all his efforts as the outgoing President.  Tim stated each position, read the nominee and asked for other nominations from the floor, of which there were none.  Following are the elected Officers for 2021-2022:

President:  Bob Kuether

1st Vice President:  Jim Smedley

2nd Vice President:  Ray Finkelstein

3rd Vice President:  Frank Mailey

4th Vice President:  Tony Abramo

Recording Secretary:  Pam Mailey

Corresponding Secretary/Program Director:  Pam Heisey

Treasurer:  Judy Kuether

Historian:  Fred Moll


NEW BUSINESS: Judy Kuether reported The Columbia-Montour Covered Bridge and Arts Festival has moved from Knoebel’s to the Bloomsburg Fair grounds and will be held the first weekend in October.

Judy asked for suggestions for the holiday dinner on December 12th.  The usual location, Dutch Way Restaurant, is not offering a buffet for groups.  One option is to have the dinner at the Manheim Community Center before the meeting with pot-luck. 

- Joe McCarthy was contacted by HGTV Restoration show, looking for projects to highlight for their 2nd or 3rd season.  Joe may be able to get Hassenplug Bridge project on the show.

- Tony Abramo volunteered to lead another mini-safari; asked if the person who mentioned this would contact him for the area.

- The 2022 Safari will be in Bucks County, led by Tim/Connie McLaughlin w/Michael Chorazy’s help.


NEW COVERED BRIDGE ITEMS: Gloria Wolfhope found covered bridge birthday cards at Ollie’s.


APPROVAL OF MINUTES: August meeting minutes were approved with one change reported by Steve Wolfhope to correct his service as Vice President from 3 years to 6 years.

NEXT MEETING: Sunday, October 17, 2021 at 2:00 p.m. at Manheim Community Center (note the church is using the room until 1:30).  Program will be “The Society’s Year in Review” by Tom Walczak.


ADJOURNMENT: The meeting was adjourned at 2:50 p.m. No Program was scheduled for today.


Respectfully Submitted by Pam Mailey, Recording Secretary, September 30, 2021