Theodore Burr Covered Bridge Society of Pennsylvania, Inc.

Annual Picnic at Poole Forge Park

Meeting of July 1, 2018


President Tom Walczak called the meeting to order at 1:26 p.m. welcoming all to our annual picnic. 

New Members and Guests: Several members brought family:  Joe McCarthy’s daughter and niece, the Smedleys’ grandson, Pat Cook’s granddaughter and her friend, and Pam Mailey’s son.

Tom reminded everyone that copies of the June minutes are available for review.  Approval would be sought later in the meeting. 

Treasurer Bob Kuether read the treasurer’s report for the month of June.   We have 398 members renewed for 2017-18, 18 more than a year ago.  Tom mentioned it would be nice if we could get at least 2 new members so we could hit 400.  The treasurer’s report was approved as read and will be filed for audit.


Pat and Ken Cook attended the safari in Ohio and saw 2 romantic shelters.  They also saw Blanchard River (OH-32-21) in Hancock County and Taylor Blair Road (OH-49-27) in Madison County.  Yesterday Pat went to Dellville (PA-50-16 #2).  They had both sides of the truss up on the south side.

Joe McCarthy reported that two Sunday’s ago he visited Sheeder-Hall (PA-15-12) to assess the recent damage.  It will require extensive work and will be a major project taking 4-5 months to complete.  He deferred to Jim Smedley who had recently visited Blenheim (NY-48-01) asking if he knew anything more about a grand opening celebration for that bridge.  Jim had arrived at Blenheim after work had stopped for the day so was unable to gather any information.  Joe recently purchased a hand grinder that he plans to use to remove the graffiti on Speakman #1 (PA-15-05)


President Tom Walczak lead last month’s safari and felt it was a nice event.  We had a smaller group (27) than usual.  He was pleased that two officers of the Indiana Covered Bridge Society and an officer of the Ohio Historic Covered Bridge Association joined the safari.  He reviewed the details of the number of bridges seen on the trip with the group.  After the safari ended on Sunday, Tom remained overnight and visited some bridges in Indiana and Ohio the next day before returning home.  Among them were the Metamora Aqueduct Bridge (IN-24-11), Eldean Bridge (OH-55-01), Longwood (IN-21-01) and Shaeffer/Campbell (OH-07-05).  He apologized for the lateness of Wooden Covered Spans which he distributed today.  In it he included an article about which bridge is your favorite and asked for input from the members.

First Vice President, Jim Smedley:  After attending the safari Jim and Gloria visited 3 covered bridges in north central Ohio, and McConnell’s Mills (PA-37-01), Banks (PA-37-02) and all four bridges in Indiana County, PA.  All the PA bridges were in nice condition except for Kintersburg Bridge (PA-32-05).  The bridge was twisted and the flooring was being supported by railroad ties cribbing.  On June 26th he provided a program about covered bridges involved in Civil War battles to a senior citizens group at Willow Street Communities in Lancaster County.  It was well received by about 25 attendees. After the meeting he and Gloria stopped  by Neff’s Bridge (PA-36-22 #2) where they are rehabilitating it and also Lime Valley Bridge (PA-36-23).

The deadline for next issue of PA Crossings is October 14th, the Sunday of our meeting at Hoss’s Restaurant.


Second Vice President, Ray Finkelstein and Linda attended the Safari last month.  He mentioned how nice the hotel was to return Linda’s phone she had left behind. 

Third Vice President, Steve Wolfhope:  No report.

Fourth Vice President, Tim McLaughlin and Connie saw 83 bridges in 1 week including the bridges they saw on the safari.  He commented on the variety of trusses they saw.  They visited the shortest bridge (22’) and the longest one (315’) in Indiana.  They stopped by Sheeder-Hall and saw the extensive damage that had been done to the bridge.

Recording Secretary, Gloria Smedley and Jim took the Country Store to the 165th Anniversary and Illumination event for Pine Valley Covered Bridge (PA-09-12) on June 23rd.  Although the weather had been threatening earlier it had cleared up and the turnout was great!  They had several nice conversations with individuals that resulted in two new members joining the society.  The lighting ceremony included the National Anthem, a round of thanks to all who had participated in coordinating the event, and a County Official who flipped the switch to illuminate the bridge.  The trusses and rafters of the inside of the bridge were illuminated.  These lights are going to be permanent and come on at dusk and off at dawn.  Gloria thanked Ray Finkelstein for coming and helping out.

Corresponding Secretary / Program Chair Pamela A. Heisey was not in attendance today due to a church-related obligation. She sent her regards via email.

Treasurer Bob Kuether and Judy enjoyed a nice vacation before, during, and after the safari.  They were in Michigan, Ohio, Western PA, and Maryland and saw 55 bridges.  They picked up 4 SPCBW displays during their travels.  They visited the Football Hall of Fame, Jimmy Steward Museum, Gobblers Knob, 3 quilt shops, and members Clyde and Arlene Bradley.  He thanked Gloria and Jim for taking the country store to the Pine Valley event. 

He made a few announcements including:

Bob wants to change the bridge on the ‘PA Covered Bridge Capital of the World’ t-shirt and asked for members to send him suggestions.  He mentioned that member David Hoke is in a Mennonite Home and would appreciate cards.

Historian Fred J. Moll – Fred was not able to attend due to a family event conflict.  Gloria Smedley relayed his report to the group.  Since the safari he visited Wertz’s (PA-06-06) where he found that the tack up card he placed there for the society had been moved.  Wertz is the only bridge in Berks County that still has the tack up card in it.  Others he placed in the remaining bridges are gone.



REPORTS OF ILLNESSES OR DEATHS – JoAnne McCarthy’s mom passed away last Wednesday, and her dad, member Arnie Alexander is going downhill fast.  Ginny Eyrich is having several minor health issues.  Tim Cohen has a detached retina and will be having surgery to repair it on July 10th.  Pam Mailey’s husband, Frank, will be having another surgery on July 18th. 

Tom had a nice long phone call from member Ortha Klischer.  She will be 95 years old on the 7th. 


NEW BUSINESS:  Tom asked the group to let him know if they have any suggestions for next year’s Pennsylvania safari.   Ray and Linda gave an update on the Anniversary Quilt sales.  $216 worth of tickets has been sold.  Ray encouraged members to take groups of tickets to sell to family and friends.  Tickets are 3 for $5 or $2 each.

COVERED BRIDGE ITEMS – Connie showed an article in a street rod magazine which pictured a car in front of Martin’s Mill (PA-28-01).  She also came across a t-shirt she had from a 2003 car event in Burlington VT that pictured a covered bridge.  She mentioned a beautifully painted trowel she bought with a covered bridge on it.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:  Minutes of the June meeting were approved as presented.

Pat Cook shared the slate of officers for the next year.

President:  Tom Walczak

First Vice President:  Jim Smedley

Treasurer:  Robert J. Kuether

Second Vice President:  Ray Finkelstein

Recording Secretary:  (open)

Third Vice President:  Steve Wolfhope

Corresponding Secretary/ Program Chairperson:  Pamela Heisey

Fourth Vice President:  Tim McLaughlin

Historian:  Fred J. Moll

She encouraged members to volunteer for any position whether there is a name in the slot or not.  Jim Smedley also spoke up letting members know that there are officers willing to step aside if others want to volunteer to bring some ‘fresh blood’ into the board.  If anyone is interested, they should contact the Nominating Committee of Katie Helm or Pat Cook.


NEXT MEETING: Our Next Meeting will be held on Sunday, August 5th at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Manheim.  We will be showing the movie “Covered Bridges of West Virginia.”

ADJOURNMENT:  The meeting was adjourned at 2:30 p.m.  Everyone gathered near the bridge for the group photo.

Respectfully Submitted by Recording Secretary, Gloria Smedley

July 4, 2018