April of 2006 I decided to travel to Bedford County in Pennsylvania and photograph their 14 covered bridges. When setting off on an excursion like this you never know what you are going to encounter. I had read some articles on the bridges, but I usually don't take the authors word as law. My wife and I went with open minds as to what we would find. This would be county twenty, and we have had our expectations of the bridges burned out from under us before. Well, not this time, and on with the story...May I say, Bedford County has some of the most beautiful and best maintained bridges in the state and they should be proud as to what they have done to preserve the beautiful heritage of these magnificent structures. And as long as I am giving out the compliments, I will add that I researched the net before embarking to Bedford. I chose to stay at a Mom and Pops motel by the name of Judy's...All I have to say is the people in this motel and the surrounding area were what we call down home folks and a pleasure to visit and associate with.
I did manage to get photos of 12 out of the
14 bridges, this was because the bridge that enters Old Bedford
Village (Claycomb) was completely torn down except for the Burr trusses.. They
are refurbishing the bridge, it should be reopened by the opening of the summer
tourist season of 2006. We also decided not to make the long trip to Palo Alto
bridge in the south western part of the county. I am going to wait until
Claycomb is finished and I will get both at that time.
The following year I returned
to Bedford County after photographing the bridges in Somerset County
and photographed the two remaining bridges I had missed.
Believe me when I say, anyone that enjoys
covered bridges and the splendor of them will not regret seeing the beautiful
bridges of Bedford County.
Bowser Covered Bridge
(GPS N40 10.62 W78 32.48)
This structure was built in 1890 and
crosses Bob's Creek, the length of the bridge is 90 ft. and the width is 12 ft.
4" utilizing the burr truss. The builder of the bridge is unknown and the owner is Bedford County.
The bridge can be found by Route 575, just west of of State Route 869,
approximately 1.3 miles northwest of Osterburg in E. St. Clair Twp.
This bridge only allows foot traffic, there is a
modern bridge alongside this structure. The bridge is in very good shape and
well maintained. It sits in a beautiful open setting of rolling hills and farm
land. This is a must to see bridge another jewel of Bedford County.
Claycolm Covered Bridge
(GPS N40 02439 W07830 405)
Claycomb/Reynoldsdale Bridge had been recently reconstructed in 2006 and has a weight limit of 28 tons, this is not common for covered bridges. The bridge is located at the entrance of Old Bedford village, being a tourist attraction it has quite a lot of bus traffic that goes across the bridge, this would account for the heavy tonnage on the structure.
This bridge was originally built in 1880 at Reynoldsdale
approximately fifteen miles north of its present location. The bridge
was moved to its new location in 1975. This structure utilizes the
Burr Truss and crosses Raystown Branch, Juniata River. The length of
bridge is 126 feet and the width is 13 ft. 10 in., it is open to all
traffic and is in excellent condition. The location of the bridge is
just west of State Route 220 at the entrance of Old Bedford Village,
approximately 1.8 miles north of Bedford, Pennsylvania.
Colvin/Calvin Covered Bridge
(GPS N40 02.30 W78 39.26)
The bridge was built in 1880 using the
Multiple kingpost design, the structure crosses Shawnee Creek in Napier Twp. The
builder is unknown and the county owns and maintains the bridge. The bridge is
located on Township Route 443, approximately 1 mile southwest of Shelisburg in
Napier Twp. The bridge is open to traffic and in excellent condition. This is
one of the very few bridges in Bedford county that utilizes the red barn paint
as the other bridges are painted white with a red trim. Again the bridge does
sit a a beautiful setting and is a pleasure to photograph.
Cuppetts Covered Bridge
(GPS N40 06.97 W78 38.38)
This bridge was built in 1882 using the
Burr truss and crosses Dunnings Creek. The length is 60 feet and the width is 12
feet. The builder is unknown and the owner at the present date is private. The
bridge is not open to traffic but has access to a walk across. The bridge had
been refurbished in natural wood not painted like most of the bridges in white.
The bridge is in very good condition
Location of the structure is on the east
side of State Route 96 where it has been bypassed, approximately 1 mile north of
New Paris in Napier Twp.
Dr. Knisley Covered Bridge
(GPS N40 09.95 W78
Dr. Knisley bridge was built in 1867
and the builder is unknown and is privately owned. The structure construction
utilizes the Burr truss its length is 80ft and width 12 ft. The bridge is only
open to foot traffic and it crosses Dunnings Creek. The location of the bridge
is just north of State Route 4013, a short distance southwest of State Route 56,
approximately 1.4 miles southeast of Pleasantville in West St. Clair Twp.
This bridge is in beautiful condition and
the setting surrounding the bridge really does it justice. The bridge is well
maintained and one of the nicest in Bedford county. It is a bridge that is nice
to photograph no matter the season. Although the bridge is blocked off from any
traffic and privately owned there are no "No Trespassing" signs
visible on or around the bridge. This is another one of my favorite sites to see
in Bedford county..
Felton Covered Bridge
(GPS N39 58.38 W78 17.37)
The bridge was built in 1892 using the Burr
truss, its length is 105 ft. and width 12 ft. 6 in. The Builder was W.S. Mullins
and is privately owned. The bridge crosses Brush Creek and is only open to
foot traffic. The location is off State Route 2029 approximately 1.5 miles west
of Jackson Mills in East Providence Twp.
I can say this is one of the most heart
breaking sites of covered bridges I had the misfortune of seeing in the state of
Pennsylvania. The bridge is hard to get access to because of the over growth of
trees, weeds and any other garbage you may encounter on the path. The bridge is
in bad need of repair, I personally don't believe it can last a few more years
without falling into the creek. It is evident the owners have no interest in
this historical structure, the only thing I can see that will save it is if the
county acquires it. As you can see by the photo it is close to impossible to get
a good photograph of the bridge. Unless something is done I would not waste my
time investigating the structure.
Fischtner / Palo Alto Covered Bridge
(GPS N39 45.97 W78 45.44)
Fischtner Bridge was built 1880 by Jacob or Johnathon Fischtner
this bridge is quite separated from the other Bedford County bridges in
a remote corner of the county. The bridge was constructed using the
Multiple kingpost truss, it crosses Gladdens Run in Londonderry
Township. The bridge is 56 ft. long and 13 ft. wide. This bridge is
privately owned and in fair condition, it does allow vehicle traffic,
but I do believe there are no trespassing signs.
Halls Mill Covered Bridge
(GPS N40 07.46 W78 19.02)
The bridge was built in 1872 and the
builder is unknown, the owner of this structure is the county. The length of the
bridge is91 ft. and the width is 12 ft. 6 in. this bridge was built using the
Burr truss and it crosses Yellow Creek, it is open to traffic. Location is on
Twp. Rt. 528 St. Paul's Church Road, just east of State Rt. 1022, approximately
1 mile southeast of Yellow Creek in Hopewell Twp.
This bridge looks like it has just been
recently refurbished, everything looks in mint condition. The bridge sits in a
beautiful setting of farm fields and mountains. The structure rates an A+ in
scenic beauty and the county rates the same on the maintenance and up keep of
the bridge. This historical site is well worth visiting.
Heirline Covered Bridge
(GPS N40 00.88 W78 35.43)
The Heirline Covered Bridge was built in 1902 and the
builder is unknown, it crosses Juniata River. The length of the bridge is 138 ft
and the width is 8 ft. 10 inches, it utilizes the Burr truss construction. This
structure is owned and maintained by the state. The bridge is opened to all
traffic and is in excellent condition, the structure had been refurbished
recently. The bridge can be located on State Route 4005, Harrison Twp, where it
meets State Route 4007, Napier Twp., approximately 0.5 mile northwest of Route
31, about 1 mile north of Manns Choice,Pennsylvania between Harrison and Napier Twp.
This is one of three bridges that is
painted the typical covered bridge color of red. The setting of the bridge is
very beautiful, at the entrance it looks like you are running into the mountain
on the other side. This is a great site to photograph no matter where you
position yourself. A must see covered bridge and a very well done to the owners,
Hewitt Covered Bridge
(GPS N39 45.26 W78 30.67)
The bridge was built in 1880 and the
builder is unknown, it crosses Twin Creek. The length is 88 ft. and the width is
13 ft. the owner is the county of Bedford. The construction uses the Burr truss,
the bridge is in excellent condition and open to all traffic. Location of the
bridge is on Twp Route 305, just east of Twp Route 306 approximately 0.4 mile
south of the junction with the State Route 326 in Hewitt, Southampton Twp.
This bridge is in a very remote area of the
county with mountains and farms fields all around, the setting is beautiful. In
and around the structure it is very well maintained by the county, it was a
pleasure to photograph such a grand historical site.
Jackson Mills Covered Bridge
(GPS N39 58.29 W78 16.30)
This bridge was built in 1875 utilizing the
Burr truss, it crosses Brush Creek. The length of the bridge is 91 ft. and the
width is 15 ft. The structure is owned by the county and was built by A.D.
Bottomfield and Joe Pee. The location of the bridge is just off Twp. Route
412, approximately 1 mile south of State Route 2029, about 2 miles south of
Breezewood in E. Providence Twp.
The bridge was named after M.J. Jackson who
owned and operated the gristmill and sawmill which is located close by. This
bridge is open to all traffic it had been refurbished in 1991 at a cost of
$489,000 which was much lower than the cost of a contemporary structure at the
price of $850,000. The bridge has a very unusual uncovered bridge portion that
extends from the roadbed to the east of the bridge. This unusual look has led to
the nickname "The Grasshopper Bridge". The surrounding area around the
bridge is nicely manicured and adds to the beauty of the surrounding area, the
county does a very good job on the upkeep of this historical site.
Raystown Covered Bridge
(GPS N40 00.58 W78 38.90)
This bridge was built in 1892 and uses the
Burr truss. The length of the bridge is 89 ft. with a width of 12 ft. 10 in. The
structure crosses the Raystown Branch of the Juniata river in Harrison
Twp. The builder is unknown and the owner of the bridge is Bedford county. This
bridge carries vehicle traffic like most of the Bedford county bridges. The
location of the bridge is on Twp. Route 418, approximately 0.4 mile north of
State Route 31, midway between New Buena Vista and Manns Choice in Harrison Twp.
This bridge is in good condition and is well maintained by Bedford County.
Ryot Covered Bridge
(GPS N40 08.54 W78 37.45)
The bridge was built in 1868 with a Burr
truss construction. Its length is 84 ft. and the width is 12 ft. and crosses
Dunnings Creek. The builder is unknown and the owner is Bedford County. The
condition of the bridge is excellent and opened to all traffic. The location of
the bridge is on Twp Route 599, just west of State Route 4013, approximately 0.4
mile east of Ryot in Clair Twp. The setting of the bridge in in open farm land
with mountain background, a beautiful photograph can be accomplished in these
Snooks Covered Bridge
(GPS N40 10.15 W78 34.76)
This bridge was built in 1880 using the Burr truss, the builder was unknown. The bridges length is 82 ft. and the width is 16 ft., It crosses Dunnings Creek in East St. Clair Twp. The bridge is owned and maintained by the County of Bedford. The location of the bridge is on Twp. Rt. 578 where it meets Twp Rte. 508, approximately 1 mile north of Spring Meadow in East St. Clair Twp. The bridge is open to all traffic and in excellent condition. Anyone wanting to photograph this bridge can have some fun with its surroundings, long white fences, farm land and mountains.