Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Covered Bridge, Pennsylvania

Day in the Amish Country

We spent a pleasant hour just looking and taking photos of this lovely bridge on the Conestoga River, in Lancaster County.  It made me think of the movie The Bridges of Madison County, as here I was with my camera just taking all sorts of shots.

I must say that covered bridges have always fascinated me from when I first came to the States and Pennsylvania is the state to see them.

There is a space between the edge of the road and the side walls of the bridge and here I am looking down.

Scenic and romantic, numerous covered bridges still link Pennsylvania to a nearly forgotten past. At one point, the Keystone state had at least 1,500 covered bridges, and today over 200 have stood the test of time. Found in 40 of Pennsylvania's 67 counties, more covered bridges exist in Pennsylvania than in any other state - highlighting its designation as 'Covered Bridge Capital of the World.' There is even a covered bridge located on the way to Paradise -- Paradise, Lancaster County, that is.
A reminder of a young nation carved out of the wilderness, covered bridges are charming, yet practical. Timothy Palmer built the first American covered bridge over the Schuylkill River at 30th Street in Philadelphia in 1800. The investors asked to have it covered in the hopes of extending the life of the bridge, and Palmer reluctantly agreed. The value of the covered bridge design was quickly recognized, as it greatly extended the life of the wooden bridges by protecting the side supporting timbers (not necessarily the floorboards) from exposure to the weather, thus lowering maintenance costs. There are several wife's tales which present alternate views as to why these bridges were built with a cover, including safeguarding livestock when crossing water, or scaring off evil spirits, but the true reason the bridges were covered was to preserve them from the environment. As a result, many of these wonderful wooden structures have survived for over a century.

While covering the bridges was a practical way to protect them from snow and rain, it also had a downside. During pre-automobile days, when sleds were the primary method of winter transportation, snow actually had to be shoveled back onto the bridges to provide a snowy surface for the sled runners.

Covered bridges dot all regions of Pennsylvania and they are a treat, regardless of the season. Wherever you plan to visit in the state, there is probably at least one covered bridge nearby. So bring your sweetheart and discover why these timeless treasures were also known as "kissing bridges."

Listing of Pennsylvania Covered Bridges 

There is a cut out in the middle of the bridge either side to let in the light.

Just spending time at the bridge took you back to a slower pace, and I just love all that wood, struts, tresses and huge bolts.  Two pigeons kept flying down to the road pecking around and when ever a car came, leaving it to the last minute to fly up.  Yes we had our day in "Madison County."



  1. Absolutely beautiful pictures Christy!

    Your countryside is so different to mine...I love seeing where other people live :)


  2. I found the pictures and explanations really interesting. I have never heard of covered bridges but think they are beautiful and your photos show them so well. I look forward to seeing the bridges sometime.


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