The Theodore Burr Covered Bridge Society of Pennsylvania, Inc.

Monthly Business Meeting and Bake Sale

Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church, Manheim, PA

Sunday, November 6, 2016


President Tom Walczak called the meeting to order at 2:13 p.m. welcoming everyone and reminding us of our civic duty to vote on Tuesday.  He led us in the Pledge of Allegiance.




Tom reminded members the minutes are in the box in the back for review and approval later.


TREASURER’S REPORT:  We have 4 new members: Patricia McAtee of Stewartsville, NJ, Craig Siefried of Emmaus, PA, and Eric & Betsy Wiening of West Chester, PA.  Joe & JoAnne McCarthy became life members.  We have 275 members renewed for 2016-2017, 3 more than 1 year ago.



Michael Chorazy joined the National Society’s Fall Tour of northern Kentucky and southern Ohio the first weekend of October. He also saw 13 bridges in southern Ohio he had not visited before, and the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge and the William Howard Taft National Historic Site, both in Cincinnati.  Bill and Jenn Caswell planned and led a great tour, including a visit to the Covered Bridge Museum in Fleming County, a talk by Kentucky covered bridge author Melissa Jurgensen, and appearances by Arnold Graton and his wife Meg at Johnson Creek (KY-101-01) and Cabin Creek (KY-68-03) bridges, both of which he restored.  The National Society is considering Oregon for their 2017 tour.

Joe McCarthy reported that the plan for repair of Blenheim (NY-48-01) bridge in NY is to build a completely new bridge on the bank and pick it up with huge cranes to put it back in place.  Bidding has started on the project.  It will be one of the longest two span bridges.  It will end out in nowhere like before and be rented out for special events.  This will be the biggest project his company has worked on to date.  The Speakman #1 celebration was a big success – Nice!  Builders who worked on the bridge sponsored the event.  Since the celebration a lot of signs have been installed at either end of the bridge.

Mike Rudnick took a trip to Vermont and saw 33 covered bridges.  All were in good condition except the upper Vermont bridges.  He said it was a beautiful and enjoyable trip.

Pat Cook went to see Dimmsville (PA-34-02) on October 7th.  It is really leaning.  The side of the bridge nearest the road is now giving way.  She also saw a small romantic shelter near there.  On October 19th she and Ken went to the dedication luncheon for Speakman #1 (PA-15-05) – a very nice event with 18 people from our society there.  She and Ken attended Emerson Flurkey’s memorial service yesterday.  She mentioned that Larry Shumaker passed away.  He was a member who went on safaris and was in her class in school.

Tina Conn attended NY Ulster County Heritage Week on October 23rd.  The NY Society had a display at Perrine Covered Bridge (NY-56-01).




President Tom Walczak – Tom was busy this past month visiting bridges.  On October 9th he attended the Ashtabula County OH festival where he saw 5 bridges.  The highlight was the new Riverview Bridge, designated as Bridge #19, built underneath the Smolen Gulf Bridge (OH-04-64) - a 150 foot pedestrian bridge easy to photograph from all angles.  On October 16th he visited bridges closer to home – McConnell’s Mill (PA-37-01), Banks (PA-37-02) and Columbiana County OH’s McClellan Bridge (OH-15-02) where work is still in progress for a total rebuild of the bridge.  Later in October he visited 7 more bridges hoping to get fall foliage pictures but most of the leaves were gone by then.

First Vice President Jim SmedleyJim and Gloria attended the Speakman #1 Bridge Celebration along with 17 other members of our Society.  Thanks to Joe McCarthy and the work crews who rehabilitated the bridge for inviting us to the celebration and supplying a nice lunch. He and Gloria were in Massachusetts a couple of weeks ago and spent a few hours in Sturbridge Village to tour the village and see Vermont Bridge (MA-14-03) in the village and also Service Bridge, a nice non-authentic bridge (MA-14-M).  They also made a few trips to see Maryland’s bridges to try and get some nice fall photos.  This past Friday they were surprised to see Roddy Road (MD-10-02) Bridge has already been fully dismantled.  The cost to repair the bridge from the latest truck damage is $150,000.

The PA Crossings is February 5, 2017, the date of our February meeting

Second Vice President Ray Finkelstein – No bridge report.  He thanked all who sent get well cards to his wife, Linda, who is recuperating from knee surgery.

Third Vice President Steve Wolfhope – This past week (October 30 – November 3) Steve and Gloria spent 5 days (2 days traveling and 3 days bridging) in WV, KY and OH. They saw 25 bridges in the three days. He visited the last three bridges he needed to complete WV – Sarvis Fork (WV-18-01), Staats Mill (WV-18-04) and Milton (WV-06-01). These bridges were in good shape. The fall foliage was good in WV. Then it was off to KY with a stop to see one bridge in the very southeastern part of OH – Scottown (OH-44-05) in Lawrence County, OH.  He saw the 13 remaining authentic bridges in KY. Most were in fairly good condition with the exception of Valley Pike Bridge (KY-81-02) but many with excessive graffiti inside and on some portals. They visited the Beech Fork (KY-115-01) bridge which is being refurbished by Arnold Graton. Unfortunately, he wasn't there at this time, but Steve did talk to 3 of his crew for a few minutes.  After finishing KY they went across the Ohio River to southwestern OH where they saw 8 more OH bridges – the 5 in Brown County and one each in Adams, Clermont and Clinton counties. Most of these bridges were in good shape but graffiti was again very noticeable.

On this trip Steve reached the 600th authentic bridge visited if his records are correct – Dover (KY-81-01) bridge in KY.

Fourth Vice President Tim McLaughlin – Tim saw many bridges this past month:  Harpster’s Bridge (PA-31-C), Bitzer’s (PA-36-04) (where only the frame stands as it is a work in progress, the roof has been raised 2 feet), Academia (PA-34-01) in the sunlight – gorgeous, Smith (DE-02-01#2) (looks good), Leaman’s (PA-36-20#2), Saville (PA-50-07#2), Delville (PA-50-16) (Sad!), Shoop's Farm (PA-34-E) romantic shelter, Kutz’s (PA-06-05), Bell’s Mill (PA-65-01) (low headache bars), Mays (PA-63-23), Erskine (PA-63-15), and Herr’s Mill (PA-36-21).  He handed out lots of rack cards to people he ran into at the bridges.  He and Connie attended the Speakman #1 celebration luncheon.   He visited Indian Caverns where he was the last customer in the caverns before it closed to become a bat sanctuary in the future.

Historian Fred J. Moll – Last week Fred drove through the Pleasantville Bridge (PA-06-01) in Berks County.  The bridge looks great with its newly painted portals.  Thanks to Bob for volunteering to paint the portals of the bridge and all who helped.  Everyone had a great time.

Recording Secretary Gloria Smedley – See Jim Smedley’s report.

Corresponding Secretary/Program Chair Pam Heisey - No report.

Treasurer Robert Kuether – Bob thanked those who helped at Knoebel’s this year.  It was another record breaking event with $5,200 in sales.  He reminded everyone that we will be meeting at Poole Forge (PA-36-01) on the 19th to decorate the bridge, a tree in the mansion and the gazebo.  We will also be preparing card bags for the Christmas Dinner and dues reminder cards.  He announced that we will have a booth at the Harrisburg Christmas Show and that he is taking checks today for the Christmas Dinner and dues.

Tom thanked Pam, Ed, Desi, and Judy for their help with today’s bake sale and all those who baked and bought!

REPORTS OF ILLNESSES OR DEATHS – Larry Shoemaker passed away on October 10th and Emerson Flurkey on October 25th.  About 17 members attended a memorial service for Emerson yesterday.  Also Tony Orsini, a formal member has died.

OLD BUSINESS – Last month’s Lasagna Dinner Fundraiser was a big success raising $365 for the preservation fund.  Several members attended the dinner that do not usually get to our meetings.  It was a great social event.

NEW BUSINESS - Yesterday the Executive Board met at Bob Kuether’s house for their annual planning meeting.  Many activities were discussed for the coming year including membership drive ideas and a quilt raffle for 2019 which will be our society’s 60th anniversary.  There was much discussion about whether or not to keep this raffle within the society or open it to the public.  No decision was made since we have plenty of time to decide.


NEW COVERED BRIDGE ITEM - Michael Chorazy showed the National Society’s first calendar and a new book “Georgia Under Cover” by Sharon Shannon-Paximadis.  Greg Williams showed a painting of Humpback (VA-03-01) and a newspaper article about fall foliage featuring a picture of Thomas Mill Bridge (PA-51-01).  Steve Wolfhope said Wal-Mart has another covered bridge model this year of nice quality. Tom Walczak showed a small lighted cardboard covered bridge ornament he bought at JoAnn Fabrics this morning.  It also sits nicely on a table.

Judy Kuether mentioned that our 2017 calendar has been selling great.  We have sold 300 and had to re-order an additional 100 in part due to the notice in PA Magazine again this year.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES – October minutes were approved as presented.

NEXT MEETING - Our Next Meeting will be held at Dutch-way Farm Market Restaurant in Gap, PA at our annual Christmas Dinner on Saturday December 10th, 11:00am-3:00pm.


The meeting was adjourned at 4:15 p.m. following a presentation by Pat Cook entitled “New Brunswick and Nova Scotia”.

Respectfully Submitted by Gloria Smedley, Recording Secretary

November 15, 2016