Theodore Burr Covered Bridge Society of Pennsylvania, Inc.

Paul’s Episcopal Church, Manheim, PA

October 4, 2015


President Tom Walczak called the meeting to order at 2:05 p.m. and asked us to honor our country by saying the Pledge of Allegiance.   There were no new members or guests.

Treasurer Bob Kuether read the treasurer’s report for the month of September.  Member total as of end of September was 189 renewed for 2015-16, 367 for 2014-15. Last year total membership was 398, down to 367 this year (-31 members).  We have four new memberships: Candy Danka, Charles and Nalei Harris, John Keirs and Sara Martin. There were no corrections or additions to the report and it was approved as read.


Pat Cook visited St. Mary’s/Shade Gap (PA-31-01) which looked good and Ramp’s (PA-21-11). Ramp’s had no barrier on the northwest corner and looked like the pier might be falling in.  She and Bonnie went to Delaware and Maryland and saw Jericho (MD-03-02/MD-12-01) – doesn’t look like much is happening there.  They also went to the NY Covered Bridge Society Lighthouse and Covered Bridge Safari September 12 & 13.  They attended the big event for the new bridge, Gold Mine (CT-06-21), recently built by Arnold Graton. It was a festive event with many in attendance. She, Ken and Bonnie attended the Indiana Covered Bridge/National Society safari late September.  They saw 20 covered bridges and 12 romantic shelters – 32 bridges in all.



President Tom Walczak did not visit any bridges since our last meeting.  He helped at the Washington/Greene festival and found it to be an enjoyable time.  We did not lose our prime spot by the bridge after all.  He saw on the internet that we lost Bob White Bridge (VA-68-01) due to flooding.

First Vice President Jim Smedley – Jim reported that local residents believe Bob White Bridge may have bben lost by a camper floating down stream during the flooding.  Jericho is about three quarters done with the new flooring in and all arch end pieces cut and ready to install.  The anticipated time to pull the bridge back over the stream is about October 20th.  He and Gloria attended the Indiana Covered Bridge Society-National Society combined safari in Indiana.  Today is the deadline for the fall issue of PA Crossings.  It should be in members’ hands by mid October.

The deadline for the next issue of PA Crossings Newsletter is February 7, the date of our meeting. 

Second Vice President Ray Finkelstein took a vacation to Ohio, Missouri and Indiana starting with a visit to the Air Force Museum.  After talking with one of the volunteer guides he found out that they were in Greene County and guess what, some covered bridges.  So after their all day visit at the museum they headed out and visited four bridges; West Engle Mill Road (OH-29-03) (restored 2014), Stevenson Road (OH-29-15) (being dismantled and rebuilt), Charlton Mill (OH-29-16) (restored 2013), and Ballard Road (OH-29-18).  He also visited Hyde Road Bridge (OH-29-109) in Greene County more like a modern covered bridge located in a nice park setting.  He found the bridge in an effort to find Cemetery Road Bridge (OH-29-01). He found an article (dated back in 2012) about the rehab of Stevenson Road Bridge and in the comments there was a good deal of negative (as well as in the article)  The last comment is from some guy named BridgerRay so he had to read it and guess what it was from him.  We should all pay attention to the comments from some politicians and the public that seem to feel investment in covered bridges are a waste of money.


From there they headed for Missouri and visited Truman’s Museum.  Precious Moments Chapel and Missouri Star Quilts were the highlight for Linda and he enjoyed it too. They visited all four Missouri Historical Bridges that are in great shape other than Union (MO-69-02) which is in the process of rehabilitation.  All bridges are in State Parks and kept up by the state. There are great displays at each bridge that displays the history and includes information on the construction of covered bridges.  Great displays and well kept bridges in Missouri! They stopped by Centennial Bridge (OH-15-05#2) that is in a park and built from a bridge that was lost. 


Next stop was Branson where they had a great time but also a super surprise called Top of the Rock.  They saw two Covered Bridges and waterfalls all on a trail in the Ozark Mountains while riding on a golf cart.  After visiting Bollinger (MO-16-01) and Sandy Creek (MO-50-01#2) they traveled on to Indiana for the joint NSPCB/Indiana Covered Bridge Society Safari visiting the Aqueduct Bridge (IN-24-11) in Franklin County on Friday meeting everyone at the Historic Town, then had a dinner at the Brau Haus in Oldenberg.  The next day Saturday they visited all the bridges in Rush County, had a dinner and presentation that evening.  Sunday they visited five bridges and headed on home. 


Ray visited Manassas Guth Bridge (PA-39-03) on September 30th and all the flooring has been removed and they are starting to replace it.  The foreman told him they are going to be done by mid-October.


Third Vice President Steve Wolfhope and his wife Gloria attended the joint NSPCB/Indiana Covered Bridge Society safari in Greensburg, Indiana September 26-27th.  On the way there they visited 11 bridges in Greene, Montgomery and Preble Counties in Ohio and 8 bridges in Fayette, Franklin, Dearborn and Ripley Counties in Indiana.  During the safari they saw 6 bridges in Rush County, Indiana and 5 in Decatur, Jennings, Bartholomew and Brown Counties.  They also visited Beanblossom Bridge (IN-07-01) (Brown County, Cataract Falls Bridge (IN-60-01) (Owen County) and Irishman Bridge (IN-84-01) (Vigo County).  From September 28th to October 1st they visited many other bridges in 5 counties in Indiana.  They saw a total of 81 authentic bridges and 1 non-authentic bridge on the 9 day trip. 

Fourth Vice President Tim Cohen – No report.

Historian Fred J. Moll gave a PowerPoint presentation to the Hamburg Historical Society on October 1 on “Covered Bridges of Berks County”.  He was received warmly and showed them that our Society painted Griesemer’s Bridge.  They were amazed that our Society had over 300 members.  October 3rd he gave tours inside of Wertz’s Covered Bridge (PA-06-06) during Berks County’s “Heritage Festival”.  Turnout for the festival was bad due to rain, wind and dampness.  Last month he reported that no work was done on the abutments of Griesemer’s Mill (PA-06-03) and that clearance signs were not put back up.  After checking this week he found the abutments are being worked on but there is still no clearance sign on the bridge.  However, a half a mile down the road there is a clearance sign along the roadway.

Recording Secretary Gloria Smedley mentioned the highlight of the Indiana Safari was taking the canal boat ride through Aqueduct Bridge.

Corresponding Secretary/Program Chair Pam Heisey had no report.

Treasurer Robert Kuether – Bob traveled to the 2015 Washington Green Covered Bridge Festival. We sold $2,750 worth of merchandise at the festival and gained three new members. In addition to working at the festival he saw two of the covered bridges at the festival.  He noted that the abutments on Ebenezer (PA-63-14) were in bad shape.  He gave a special thanks to Judy Talmonti for allowing he and John Klucker to stay with her during the time they were at Washington/Greene festival and to those who helped at our booth – Judy Talmonti, John Klucker, Tom Walczak, and Bill, Charlene & Wayne Haag.  He also thanked all who contributed photos for the Columbia County Post cards (Jim & Gloria Smedley, Steve Wolfhope, Ray Finkelstein, Pat Cook, Bill Haag and Heather Watkins).  Calendar sales are doing great in part due to the PA Magazine write-up – we sold 60 calendars to non-members from the magazine article.


REPORTS OF ILLNESSES OR DEATHS – Erla McKracken and Elmer E. Forbes passed away.

Pat Cook thanked all for cards and concerns during her husband’s illness.  Greg announced that his dad has acute leukemia and is resting in the hospital but expected to pass within months.


NEW BUSINESS – Bob discussed next year’s safari which will be in New England end of May, 2016.  We will spend two nights in Lincoln, NH and 1 night in White River Junction, VT.  More details to follow in PA Crossings.


Gloria talked about the new Columbia-Montour App that you can download and win a $100 gift card to Columbia-Montour restaurants.  If you enter our society’s booth number for Knoebel’s festival next week (P3-1) we could possibly get our space free.


APPROVAL OF MINUTES -  September minutes were approved as presented.

Today’s program was “Covered Bridges of Columbia County” by Treasurers Bob Kuether.



Our Next Meeting and Bake Sale will be held on Sunday, November 1, 2015 at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Manheim at 2 p.m.  The Program will be “From ‘B’ (Ben) to ‘Z’ (zany for the Three Stooges) and lots in between in the Keystone State” by Albert Holliday, Founder- Publisher for Pennsylvania Magazine.


 ADJOURNMENT The meeting was adjourned at 3:30 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted by Recording Secretary, Gloria Smedley

October 12, 2015