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3.02.2016

Covered Bridges of Washington County, PA

Today we go on a tour of Washington County's many covered bridges. Most of this county's covered bridges have a distinctive style and size. We start today's tour at Jackson's Mill Covered Bridge in Burgettstown. Other nearby covered bridges include Lyle Covered Bridge at 40.454258, -80.375515 and Devil's Den at 40.424667, -80.446667
Jackson's Mill Covered Bridge: Coordinates: 40.341389, -80.489722
Jackson's Mill Covered Bridge - The date of construction is unknown, estimated to be 1865, and located in Burgettstown, PA. The bridge measures in at 35 feet long and is located in a remote valley. It crosses Kings Creek.
The former Wilson's Mill Covered Bridge in Cross Creek County Park, Avella, PA
This is what remains of Wilson's Mill Covered Bridge in Avella, PA. The bridge was a victim of arson in 2002. Since the bridge was retrofitted with a steel bridge, only the historic wooden structure of the bridge was destroyed. 14 years later, with seemingly no effort to replace the bridge, and heavy fracking drilling activity occurring around the spot, it is very unlikely that this bridge will be rebuilt.
Cross Creek County Park. This area is surrounded by drilling sites, possibly the most that I have seen throughout my drives around the state. 
Meadowcroft Rock Shelter and Historical Village: Coordinates: 40.287495, -80.491886
Next we head to the site of the oldest known human presence within the state, the Meadowcroft Rockshelter. Accompanying the rock shelter is a village that shows 19th century life with a series of many different artifacts the create a stunning timeline of human life in Western Pennsylvania. Nearly 16,000 years of continuous human occupation are demonstrated at Meadowcroft.

Included in the village is the Pine Bank Covered Bridge, the only covered bridge in Washington County that did not originate within the county. It was moved to the Meadowcroft Village in 1962. It was built in Greene County in 1870. It measures in at 30 feet and has some subtle differences from the other Washington County Covered Bridges. This bridge crosses a portion of a ravine.
Pine Bank Covered Bridge: Built in 1870, moved to Washington County in 1962. It is located at Meadowcroft Village near Avella, PA.
The inside of the bridge remains unpainted, revealing some old advertisements. 
Also included in the village are a log cabin, a one room schoolhouse, and more.

Whenever I see a road that says "tunnel," I have to stop and investigate. While I love exploring for lost rail tunnels, this expedition was about covered bridges. Tunnel Road was just calling my name. Located in West Alexander, this is one of nine tunnels that were originally built for the Hempfield Railroad that traveled between Wheeling, Washington, PA, and Pittsburgh, with connections to the B&O to points east. The railroad opened in 1850, closed in 1987, and traveled for 76 miles. It had a total of nine tunnels, six of which are abandoned. All are relatively small, with only one reaching the thousand foot threshold. The West Alexander Tunnel seems to serve as an impromptu creek now. Heading into this tunnel would be an extremely unwise decision, so I took this one in from the portal. The way mother nature appears to have reclaimed this tunnel and rail bed into a creek is pretty impressive to me. It is amazing what nearly thirty years of abandonment will do to something.
Our next stop is at the Mays Blaney Covered Bridge
Coordinates: 40.0881° N, 80.4875° W
Mays Blaney Covered Bridge: Built in 1899 and located in rural West Alexander, PA. This stately little covered bridge is similar to the rest of its siblings throughout the county, built in both the Queenpost style, and measuring in at about 35 feet. There is something about this little Queenpost covered bridge really sticks out to me. It is impeccably maintained, one of the best in the county in this respect. The location in an extremely remote part of the county, adding beautiful surroundings to the bridge.

Erskine Covered Bridge
Coordinates: 40.0662° N, 80.5161° W
Erskine Covered Bridge: Built in 1845 and located one tenth of a mile from the West Virginia border, making it the furthest west bridge of any kind within the state of Pennsylvania. It is also the oldest covered bridge in Washington County and one of the oldest in the state. Similar to most of the other covered bridges within the county, the span measures in at 39 feet and it was built with the Queenpost method. It was rebuilt in 2006.
Looking out towards the mountains of wild and wonderful West Virginia. This area of Washington County has a similar mountainous landscape to that of West Virginia. 
Danley Covered Bridge
Coordinates: 40.055, -80.439444
Danley Covered Bridge: Built at some point after 1860, in the Queenpost style, and located in West Finley. Similar to most of the Washington County covered bridges, it is located in an extremely remote area and it also measures in at 39 feet.
Wyit Sprowls Covered Bridge:
Coordinates: 40.0112° N, 80.4624° W
Wyit Sprowls Covered Bridge: Built in 1865 and located in West Finley. The covered bridge and the neighboring historic Jordan one room schoolhouse, are located in West Finley's community park and are brilliantly preserved as the centerpieces of the community park. This is another bridge that seems to be in the same mold as the rest of the Washington County Bridges. This one is a little longer though, measuring in at 43 feet. 

Plants Covered Bridge
Coordinates: 40.021111, -80.416111
Here is the Plants Covered Bridge. It was built in 1876 utilizing the Kingpost design and measuring in at 24 feet. It is located in West Finley Township, Washington County. 
Hughes Covered Bridge
Coordinates: 40.033056, -80.160278
The Hughes Covered Bridge: Built in 1889 and located in Amwell Township. This covered bridge is closed to traffic, and you can see how much sagging is in the structure. This is one of the longest covered bridges in Washington County, measuring in at just 55 feet long. It utilizes the Queenpost construction design. It is located right off of the Marianna I-79 exit within a community park. The county attempted to move this bridge to the beautiful Mingo Creek Park. The township fought against the county's plans to move the bridge, which is likely unfortunate for the bridge, when looking at the great condition of the covered bridges at Mingo. 
Bailey Covered Bridge
Coordinates: 40.020556, -80.195833
The Bailey Covered Bridge stands in stark contrast with the poor structural condition of the Hughes Bridge that is located just up the street from here. The bridge dates back to 1889 and it is the only remaining Burr Arch-Truss bridge in Washington County. It measures in at 66 feet, making it one foot short of being the longest covered bridge in Washington County. It is located in Amity, PA and it was rebuilt in 1994 after some loser drove his truck onto the bridge and burned it down. In my humble opinion, this is one of the nicest covered bridges in the county.
Just down the road is this old Pony Truss bridge. I appreciate an old pony truss bridge as much as the old covered bridges. 
Farabee Road Bridge, Built in 1904 and located in Amity, PA. 

I noticed that adjacent to this old bridges are these small bridges that look like they were intended for pedestrians. Does anyone have any insights on this?
Notice the spelling of "Pittsburg"
Archer One Room Schoolhouse - Morris Township Historical Society
The Archer One Room Schoolhouse is an awesomely preserved relic. One of the most stunning things about the county is the amount of one room schoolhouses that remain throughout the entire area. As I said earlier, it often appears that areas of Washington and Greene Counties are frozen in time. Many areas throughout the county appear to be untouched. The plethora of historic buildings, covered bridges, and other old structures, really make this a fun place to drive around.
Day Covered Bridge
Coordinates: 40.029444, -80.293056
The Day Covered Bridge dates back to 1875 and is a standard, Washington County style, Queenpost bridge that measures in at 36 feet. 
Sprowls Covered Bridge
Coordinates: 40.010833, -80.406944
Sprowls Covered Bridge: Built in 1875, located in West Finley, PA, and another clone of many of the other bridges within the county, built with the Queenpost method and measuring in at 36 feet. It was badly damaged in 2000 due to area mining. It was repaired and eventually reopened after the structure was badly twisted from the damage. 
Crawford Bridge
Coordinates: 40.002222, -80.472222
Crawford Bridge: Located in West Finley, PA. We know very little about the origin of this bridge. We do know that it was closed in 1996 for renovations. This follows the mold of most of the other Washington County Bridges, built with the Queenpost method and measuring in at 39 feet. There is something about this bridge that sticks out for me in regards to the surroundings. It is located in a dramatic mountain valley, with am old farmhouse located right near it.

The way the light shines through this bridge's vertical planks is truly stunning.
We dip into Greene County for another beautiful old Pony Truss Bridge. This one was bypassed at some point and is closed to traffic. 
Walker Hill Pony Truss Bridge, built in 1911. 
This area was known as the Ackley Homestead.
Nearby you can see piers from a former covered bridge. The bridge was donated to Henry Ford for his museum in Michigan. The Ackley Covered Bridge stands as a display at the museum. 
"In Memory Of
Sarah Jane Price Ackley
1762-1851
Widow of the Revolutionary Soldiers John Parker and Daniel Ackley
In 1818 she made the long journey with her family of several children and her household goods from Wilkes Barre to this site. Crossing mountains and fording rivers over almost impassable roads and through unbroken forest. 

Near this site, the original Ackley Home was built and the original Ackley Settlement was made. She lived here till her death in 1851. Here she reared her family; many of her descendants remain in this region, even to this day. Others have spread throughout wider areas. 

Wherever they may be, all turn to this place as a shrine dedicated to a heroic woman. History knows no finer characters than this pioneer mothers. 

Her descendants gathered here in 1940 to dedicate this tablet to her sacred memory.

A great Pioneer Mother."
Longdon L. Miller Covered Bridge
Coordinates: 39.999167, -80.472778
Longdon L. Miller Covered Bridge: Located in, it is the longest covered bridge in Washington County by a mere foot, at 67 feet. This is an uncharacteristically long Queenpost Bridge and it is quite beautiful, located on a remote gravel road. The date of construction is unknown. 

Between Washington and Greene Counties, there are 29 different covered bridges. While many are similar, it is still cool to take all of them in while also appreciating the many other old bridges, structures, and more. Drives through the country roads of Washington and Greene Counties are great for some relaxation. For more Washington County covered bridges, be sure to check out our post on the beauties at Mingo Creek County Park. 

1 comment :

  1. Wilson Mill Bridge was rebuilt on the bike trail in McDonald, PA... It now sits directly on the ground over the trail.

    ReplyDelete

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