Theodore Burr Covered Bridge Society of Pennsylvania, Inc.

Annual Meeting and Election of Officers

September 13, 2015


President Tom Walczak called the meeting to order at 2:09 p.m. and lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance. George Rothlingshofer introduced his mother Mary as a guest at today’s meeting. Tom reminded everyone that copies of the August minutes are available for review.  These were approved later in the meeting.

Treasurer Bob Kuether read the treasurer’s report for the month of August.  Member total as of end of August was 135 renewed for 2015-16, 368 renewed for 2014-15. There were no corrections or additions to the report and it was approved as read.


Tim McLaughlin visited Rapp’s Dam (PA-15-14) over the last three weekends and noted that progress continued over each weekend.  He also visited Knox (PA-15-15 #2) where he was stunned by the damage and saw the wing wall in the creek.  He also visited Wertz’s (PA-06-06) which looks fabulous.  He noted that nothing is happening at Speakman #1 (PA-15-05) as work is now planned for 2016.  He plans to visit Rapp’s again tomorrow for his 4th weekend visit.

Bob Greer was on vacation last week in Connecticut and visited 3 bridges.  He had his laptop set up with pictures of Gold Mine Bridge (CT-06-21) a new bridge being celebrated today and being moved with oxen.  He spoke with the owner of the bridge who welcomed our Society to hold a dinner on his new bridge.

George Rothlingshofer took a took a 10 day motorcycle ride near the end of August.  He saw 73 covered bridges and 21 grist mills in Ohio and Indiana.  He noted seeing different trusses such as the Wernwag truss and an inverted bowstring truss in Germantown Ohio.  He has visited a total of 737 covered bridges in 6 years with only 30 being non-authentic bridges and has seen all the double barreled bridges.

Greg Williams traveled through several PA bridges during work related runs – Rice’s (PA-50-10) in Perry County, Klinepeter (PA-55-03), and Aline (PA-55-04) which is in fair condition.  This morning he traveled through Kaufman’s Distillery (PA-36-32 #2) and visited Shears (PA-36-31 #2) on the way to the meeting.



President Tom Walczak – He attended the Covered Bridge Summit held by The Theodore Burr Covered Bridge Resource Center at the Oxford Memorial Library in Oxford New York August 29-30.  The summit was the idea of Trish and Bob Kane with assistance from Bill Caswell of the National Society and our 1st Vice President Jim Smedley.  It brought together covered bridge officers from six different societies in the U.S. (National, Indiana State, Ohio Historical, Theodore Burr, New York and Vermont).  Discussions included items from 501(c)(3), to fire protections, membership retention, newsletters and the trend toward digital documents.  The Library is the last structure built by Theodore Burr as his home and has been transformed into a library.  Many good ideas came out of the summit and it was nice to meet and put faces to other covered bridge society officers.  While there he visited Hyde Hall (NY-39-01) the oldest covered bridge in the U.S.  He also visited bridges in north central PA; Knapp’s (PA-08-01) which is in great shape, they are rebuilding the house nearby that had previously burned down, Hillsgrove (PA-57-02), Forksville (PA-57-01) and Sonestown (PA-57-03).  Hillsgrove was in excellent shape.  Workmen were there working on the abutments so it was closed to traffic.  He was told it would reopen for the fair the following week but close again until the repairs were finished.  Forksville and Sonestown both looked beautiful!  He visited Frazier (PA-41-03) which was his first visit since it was restored 5-6 years ago and found it in good shape.  Last evening he and Joanne visited Jericho (MD-03-02 & MD-12-01) but it was too dark to take pictures.

First Vice President Jim Smedley – Jim provided an update on Jericho Bridge (MD-03-02 & MD-12-01).  The south side of the bridge is almost complete.  Additional rotted wood has been discovered on the upper and lower chords.  Still, less than 30% of the wood will need replacing.  I-Beams have been primed and painted. Will Truax and Tim Andrews expect their work will be done by the end of October and the bridge should be totally finished in late December.

Last month he and Gloria stopped by the 3 bridges in Frederick County, MD.  Utica Mills (MD-10-01) is done except for some wing wall work at one side and the fire alarm system.  It has been painted and treated with no-char fire retardant. Roddy (MD-10-02) has been treated with no-char fire retardant, has a new fire alarm system and the Jersey barriers along Roddy Creek Road have been replaced with a wooden guard rail along with the wing wall being extended.  Loys Station (MD-10-03 #2) was treated with no-char fire retardant.

Jim and Gloria attended the Covered Bridge Summit in Oxford, NY on August 29th and 30th.

The deadline for the fall issue of PA Crossings Newsletter is October 4th, the date of our next meeting. 

Second Vice President Ray Finkelstein Ray tried contacting the PennDOT Rep to find out what is happening with both Dreibelbis Station (PA-06-07) and Manassas Guth (PA-39-03) but has not heard back.  He visited Dreibelbis Station last Tuesday and nothing is going on.  Friday drove by Manassas Guth and sure enough they have been working on replacing all the side walls and will be replacing the flooring.  Started on August 25th expect to be finished mid-October. He will follow up on progress when he gets back from vacation.  He is leaving tomorrow for a trip to Missouri to see a quilt shop, covered bridges in Missouri and will end with the National Covered Bridge Meeting and Safari in Indiana.  He noted that there was a picture of Bogerts (PA-39-01) in the Morning Call newspaper for an article called “Nice Day to Take Pictures”.


Third Vice President Steve Wolfhope - Steve spent 6 days (August 16-21) in Vermont.  He saw all the authentic covered bridges in 7 counties – Addison, Caledonia, Chittenden, Franklin, Lamoille, Orleans and Washington – a total of 52 bridges.  Since August of last year he has seen the 99 authentic/historic bridges in the World Guide plus a few others.  He attended the Covered Bridge Summit in oxford, NY on August 29-30.  Very interesting meetings where he learned a lot and met many new friends.  On the trip up to the Summit he visited the Newfield Bridge (NY-55-01).  He found the bridge closed and the roadway and abutments were being worked on both ends of the bridge to eliminate erosion.  There was damage due to some recent heavy rains.  He knew the bridge was closed before he went.  After the Summit he spent three more days in the Utica/Rome, NY area and saw 9 more bridges.  He and Gloria are planning on attending the National Covered Bridge Meeeting and Safari in Indiana later this month.

Fourth Vice President Ed Myers – Ed could not be at today’s meeting but sent a statement thanking everyone for the opportunity to serve as an officer this past year.   Tom thanked Ed for his service and commented that Ed brought enthusiasm and helped by reminding us each meeting of important upcoming events.  He also thanked him for all his behind the scenes work helping Bob and Judy Kuether with making items for dinners and to sell at festivals and in the country store.

Historian Fred J. Moll provided the following report on the Berk’s County bridges.

·         Wertz’s Bridge (PA-06-06) –Wertz’s Bridge is in good condition.

·         Pleasantville Bridge (PA-06-01) –Pleasantville Bridge still in good shape since its restoration several years ago.

·         Kutz’s Bridge (PA-06-05) –Kutz’s Mill Bridge is in fairly good shape.

·         Dreibelbis Bridge (PA-06-07) –The Dreibelbis Bridge is still out of shape and gives a serpentine type appearance.  Federal funds have been granted in the amount of $1,440.00 for the restoration of the bridge.  Paper work has been started but actual work on the bridge itself has not been started yet.

·         Griesemer’s Bridge (PA-06-03) –Griesemer’s Mill Bridge is still missing the clearance sign over both portals from last year and the unpainted area is quite noticeable.  The absence of a clearance sign could excuse anyone from damaging the bridge from a vehicle that is too high.  Also the broken stone abutment on the mill side had some wood place around it a year ago for repairing but that job is not done either.  Also one of the abutments on the other side of the stream is now coming apart.  Thursday he called the Facilities Department of the Berks County Court House.  Fred talked to a lady there who said that there was no open work order on the bridge, but that she would leave a message that there was work that should be done on the bridge. 


Fred will give tours inside of Wertz’s Covered Bridge (PA-06-06) during Berks County’s “Heritage Festival” on Saturday, October 3.  This year the tours will be at 1:00, 2:00, and 3:00.


Fred is giving a PowerPoint presentation on October 1 on “Covered Bridges of Berks County”.  There will be an emphasis on the Hamburg area of Berks County and their bridges.  The program is being held at the Hamburg Area School District building at 701 Windsor Street.  He is also giving a PowerPoint presentation on “Covered Bridges of Berks County” on Wednesday November 18, 2015 at 7:00 at the Sinking Spring Borough Hall in Sinking Spring.   


Recording Secretary Gloria Smedley thanked everyone for the many cards, emails, calls and well wishes she received while recuperating from total hip replacement surgery that took place on July 28th.  She noted that she received an update on Martin’s Mill (PA-28-01) from Joyce Soroka and that it is posted on the bulletin board for those who are interested. 

Corresponding Secretary/Program Chair Pam Heisey had no report.

Treasurer Robert Kuether – Yesterday he visited Herr’s Mill (PA-36-21) which is still in sad shape but at least a piece that had fallen was put back in place.  Calendar sales have been great (only 60 left of 250).  21 calendar sales came in from non-members which he felt was a direct result of the write-up in Pennsylvania Magazine that President Tom Walczak made happen.  He has only 26 of Fred’s ‘history’ book left so get it while they last.  He attended the Covered Bridge Summit in Oxford, NY where he got a lot of information on 501(c)(3) application and status.

Bob received a check in the amount of $5,961.23 from Roseanne Zvarick, daughter of Albert and Loretta Zvarick, former members of our Society who have both passed away.  Ms. Zvarick had to settle the estate of her parents and sent the donation to our Society.  The original intention for the funds was to rebuild the Wilhour Mill Covered Bridge originally located in Dauphin County and purchased for $1 by Loretta Zvarick as a gift to her husband after the bridge was washed away by floodwaters from Tropical Storm Agnes in June 1972.  It seems their dream to rebuild the bridge would not be realized in the near future and she wanted to honor her parents who thought well of the Society.  A thank you letter was written to Ms. Zvarick by Tom. (Katie Helm asked if anyone knew what was going to happen to the bridge.  Tom said the sons may take on the task of building the bridge in the future but as of now there are no plans in place to do so.)

Bob encouraged members to submit pictures and ideas for bridges that they would like to see us paint next year.

Bob and Judy will be traveling later this month to New England to search out hotels for next year’s safari.  He reminded all of the upcoming festivals at Washington-Greene (September 18-19) and Knoebel’s (October 8-11) and welcomed any volunteers to help at our booth.  He recently received an order from Shady Maples for $1,100 of covered bridge merchandise from our store.

REPORTS OF ILLNESSES OR DEATHS - Thankfully there were none.

OLD BUSINESS – Barbara McCauley was pleased that they will finally put up headache bars at Little Gap (PA-13-02) covered bridge.


Tom conducted the annual meeting.   He noted that our best attended meeting this past year was our Christmas Dinner (57) whereas our least attended was our August 2nd meeting (28).

Pam Heisey conducted the memorial service reading a passage and naming members who had passed during the year along with their date of death and years of membership.  There were 13 deceased members over the past year.  A moment of silence was held in memoriam.

Tom challenged members to invite and bring guests to meetings and help recruit new members.

He read the annual report of the society.  Highlights of the report included:

(The President’s full report will be available for members to review, along with reports of each officer, during the next few business meetings.)


NEW BUSINESS – Since both members of our nominating committee (Tina Conn and Pat Cook) could not attend today’s meeting Michael Chorazy conducted the annual election of officers.

Michael announced the current slate of officers and conducted the election for the Nominating Committee:

President - Tom Walczak

1st VP – Jim Smedley

2nd VP – Ray Finkelstein

3rd VP - Steve Wolfhope

4th VP – Tim Cohen

(Previously Ed Myers who has stepped down.  During the meeting Ray Finkelstein nominated Tim Cohen as 4th VP and Tim accepted the nomination.)

Treasurer – Bob Kuether

Recording Secretary - Gloria Smedley

Corresponding Secretary - Pam Heisey

Historian - Fred Moll


Because there were no other nominations the Recording Secretary cast a unanimous ballot.


APPROVAL OF MINUTES -  August Minutes were approved as presented.


Our Next Meeting will be held on Sunday, October 4, 2015 at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Manheim at 2 p.m.  The Program will be “Covered Bridges of Columbia County” by Bob Kuether


 ADJOURNMENT  The meeting was adjourned at 4:30 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted by Recording Secretary, Gloria Smedley

September 21, 2015