The Theodore Burr Covered Bridge Society of Pennsylvania, Inc.

Monthly Business Meeting and Silent Book Auction and Sale

Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church, Manheim, PA

Sunday, February 5, 2017


First Vice President, Jim Smedley, called the meeting to order at 2:05 p.m. welcoming everyone.  He led us in the Pledge of Allegiance.  (President Tom Walczak was absent today due to illness.)


NEW MEMBERS AND GUESTS:  New members included John and Linda Laetz who have relocated to Manheim from North Carolina.  Bob’s Sister, Linda, has moved to PA from Florida and will now be a regular attendee.  It was good to see the BiSanti’s from NJ.


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


TREASURER’S REPORT:  We have 5 new members: Louis Heffner of Glen Rock PA, Ruby Henderson of Independence MO, Chris Neubert of State College PA and Richard and Gale Toland of West Chester PA.  We have 370 members renewed for 2016-2017, 10 more than 1 year ago.



Greg Williams visited Sachs (PA-01-01) in Adams County and Heikes (PA-01-14).   Both looked good.

Connie McLaughlin drove over Smith’s Bridge (DE-01-02 #2) – looks good, Ashland (DE-02-02) which was recently hit but repaired within a few days, and Speakman #1 (PA-15-05) which looks wonderful except for all the signs.

Joe McCarthy announced that the first 6 loads of Douglas fir wood from Oregon are due to be delivered soon for the rebuilding of Blenheim Bridge (NY-48-01).  Work will begin end of March.  The bridge will be built on the bank except for the floor boards.  August 1st they plan on putting it in place with hopes of finishing the work before Christmas.  In the meantime, his company was asked to take a look at the damage to Sheeder-Hall (PA-15-12).  They have tagged all the timbers to be repaired.  This bridge was in disrepair even before the damage done by a car.  They are looking for funding for a new deck and new running deck.

Mike Rudnick visited a number of the bridges in Washington County, PA a few weeks ago.  Then he flew to Madison County Iowa and saw 6 bridges there and one in Polk County.  All the bridges were in very scenic areas free of trees or wires to obstruct the view.  He also visited the John Wayne Museum in Iowa.

Clyde Scheib reported that the luminary event at Kennedy (PA-15-13 #2) was a success again this year although it was only held on Friday night.  Weather was bad Saturday and Sunday evenings. 

Anita Ford sent photos of the progress at Bitzer’s Mill (PA-36-04) to Jim Smedley.  As of two weeks ago the metal roof was done, one side partially completed and the other side finished.  Work may be completed in 2-3 weeks.


President Tom Walczak – Tom sent his regards and regrets that he could not be here today.

First Vice President Jim SmedleyJim and Gloria stopped by Roddy (MD-10-02) and found much progress had been made.  It is back in place over the stream, has a metal roof, and one side has its siding complete.  Workers estimated at least a month before they complete the other side, flooring and portals.  They have also completely renovated the park area including rerouting the street at Roddy and the park area at Loy’s Station (MD-10-03#2).

The deadline for PA Crossings is today, February 5, 2017.  If you have anything for the newsletter please get it to Jim within the next couple of days while he’s finalizing this issue.

Second Vice President Ray Finkelstein  - There will be another day to help raise funds for the refurbishing of Bogert’s Bridge.  This year it will be part of the 4th Annual Cherry Blossom Festival in Allentown on April 29th at Cedar Creek Parkway.  Ray plans to man a table for our Society at this event.

Ray will again attend the 7th Annual Community Day in Macungie with a table for our society.  This is a non-selling event.  He really enjoys being able to spread the word about our beloved covered bridges and meet many of his neighbors.


On February 1st he visited Manassas Guths (PA-39-03), Wehr’s  (PA-39-02), and Rex’s (PA-39-04) bridges in Lehigh County.  All look to be in good shape.


Third Vice President Steve Wolfhope  visited Jericho (MD-03-02 & MD-12-01) with Jim Smedley during a recent visit.

Fourth Vice President Tim McLaughlin – Tim visited 18 bridges in PA, DE, and OH since last month’s meeting.  He noted that at Ashland the header board has been removed to accommodate slightly taller trucks, but it still gets hit.  In Ashtabula County Ohio his favorites were Windsor Mills (OH-04-25) with its sunburst designed portal, and the new Riverview Bridge, designated as Bridge #19, under Smolen Gulf (OH-04-64). He said Kidds Mill (PA-43-01), the only Smith truss in PA, was in rough shape with lots of graffiti.  He visited Bitzer’s (PA-36-04) this morning noting that the sides are done, decking has been replaced, but there is a big hole in one wing wall.

Historian Fred J. Moll received a status update from Kristina L. Thompson of PennDOT on Dreibelbis  (PA-06-07).  It included the minutes of the November 11, 2016 Dreibelbis Covered Bridge meeting at the Greenwich Township Building which he  reported on at our last meeting.  It also included a history of the Dreibelbis Bridge which he had submitted to Kristina L. Thompson.   He noted that in an old 1955 Randolf Scott movie he bought called “Rage at Dawn” there was a covered bridge.                                                    

Recording Secretary Gloria Smedley expressed her appreciation for all the get well and sympathy cards sent to her during her recovery from hip replacement surgery and for the loss of her mother.

Corresponding Secretary/Program Chair Pam Heisey - No report.

Treasurer Robert Kuether  thanked Jerry Martin and Ed Myers for helping take down the holiday decorations at Pool Forge (PA-36-01), and Gloria and Jim Smedley for helping sort and price the books for today’s book auction.   He announced that we have sold 441 2017 calendars this year.

REPORTS OF ILLNESSES OR DEATHS – Linda Finkelstein is recovering nicely from knee surgery and has a second knee surgery scheduled for March 1st.  Shirley Moll continues to recuperate from knee surgery.  Gloria Smedley is recovering from hip replacement surgery.  Noelle Green has suffered a broken ankle.


Safari Update:  Ray Finkelstein, our safari leader, went to Somerset County December 20-21, 2016 visiting most of the bridges in Somerset and setting up arrangements for the motel on our Safari.  He also went to Bedford and finalized our hotel stay there.  All the details will be in the upcoming PA Crossing Newsletter later this month. The safari dates are June 3, 4, and 5 (Saturday, Sunday and Monday) with a meeting Friday evening at 8 pm. The meeting will last no longer than one hour.  Members should let the hotels know they are part of the Theodore Burr Covered Bridge Society when making reservations.  We will see all bridges in Somerset and Bedford counties with Jackson Mill (PA-05-25) being our last bridge.  We will also visit the Flight 93 memorial site and the Somerset Historical Building.  Jim Smedley announced that the Doctor Knisley Bridge (PA-05-16) will be the bridge used on our safari shirt this year.  The shirt color will be navy.

Book Auction:  Members present today will have a few minutes during the break to see if they want to bid or increase bids on any of the books.  Bidding closes once the program begins.  At the end of the meeting Judy and Bob will tabulate the winnings and members can pay for the books after the program.

While in Frederick, Jim and Gloria Smedley stopped by the home of former members Irvin and Eva Stride.  Both are now deceased but their children were cleaning out their house and found a lot of covered bridge and mill photos so they emailed Jim asking if the Society would like to have them.  It is mostly mill photos but the covered bridge photos went back as far as 1974 and were very nice photos.  After he goes through them and scans what is important to our Society’s archives the board will decide what to do with the photos.

NEW BUSINESS – The books in today’s silent auction were all donated by Brian McKee.  He and Karen Bittinger have consolidated their collections and had many duplicates which they donated to the society.


NEW COVERED BRIDGE ITEM – Connie McLaughlin is looking for a painting of Buck Run Bridge by the painter Peter Schulthorpe.  It is out of print and is very special to her.  If anyone sees one please let her know.  Tim McLaughlin showed two bridge paintings -  one he obtained from a friend of Wooddale (DE-02-04 #2)  and one (Otonabee River Bridge in Ontario CA) he found in belongings of his mother who passed some years ago.

Greg Williams showed a small covered bridge puzzle he bought at the Dollar Store.

Bob Keuther said let him know of any bridges that need painting.  We already have a couple suggestions but are still open to consider others.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES – December minutes were approved as presented.

NEXT MEETING - Our Next Meeting will be held at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Sunday, March 3, 2017.  The program will be the movie “Last Covered Bridges of PA”. 

 ADJOURNMENT:  The meeting was adjourned at 4:10 following a presentation by Joe McCarthy entitled ““Restoration of Five Eastern Pennsylvania Covered Bridges in Recent Years by Lancaster Timber Framers: Knox, Rapp’s, Speakman #1, Neff’s Mill and Siegrist’s Mill”.


Respectfully Submitted by Gloria Smedley, Recording Secretary

February 9, 2017