The Theodore Burr Covered Bridge Society of Pennsylvania, Inc.

Monthly Business Meeting

Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church, Manheim, PA

Sunday, September 9, 2018


President Tom Walczak called the meeting to order at 2:11 p.m.  He welcomed everyone and led us in the pledge of allegiance.


NEW MEMBERS AND GUESTS:  Members Bill & Jenn Caswell from NH were present.  Bill is President of the National Society for the Preservation of Covered Bridges.


APPROVAL OF MINUTES – Tom reminded everyone the minutes were available for review and he will ask for approval later in the meeting.


TREASURER’S REPORT:  There were no new members this month.  We have 397 members renewed for 2017-2018.


Greg Williams visited Kaufman’s Distillery (PA-36-32 #2) and Shearer’s (PA-36-31 #2) and both are in good condition.  He also saw Red Run (PA-36-10) which appeared to be shored up on one end.


Joe McCarthy was not present but sent his report to Jim who read it to the group.  Joe has been informed by BBC that the NOVA TV documentary on the building of Blenheim Bridge (NY-48-01 #2) will be aired on October 3rd.  Also, a ribbon cutting ceremony for Blenheim Bridge will be held on June 8, 2019.  Joe’s company started the repair process for Sheeder-Hall Bridge (PA-15-12) this past week. The repairs will take a while and will include a new stone wing wall.  The bridge was damaged when a vehicle crashed into it on June 5th causing extensive damage to the vertical and diagonal truss members and a wing wall.  Joe inspected Siegrist Mill Bridge (PA-36-37 #2) after the recent flooding in Lancaster County.  The water was 4 foot up the side of the bridge but no damage to the truss but it did damage the siding.


Michael Chorazy shared an article from the Philadelphia Inquirer that featured Thomas Mill Bridge (PA-51-01).  The article was about the human reaction to the bridge.


Bill Caswell and Jenn spent 10 days traveling throughout the Midwest with Jim and Gloria Smedley and saw 23 bridges in 5 states.  At Cedarburg (WI-46-01) the park was saturated from so much rain and the water was high.  Work at Union (MO-69-02) was a bit behind due to recent weather.  In Iowa, Wilcox Game Preserve (IA-63-04) is no longer accessible to the public.  It is well posted with no trespassing signs.


Christie Weaver reported that they are preparing the Herr’s Mill Bridge (PA-36-21) for moving to the Star Barn property.



President Tom Walczak saw Diehl’s (PA-05-19) on the way to today’s meeting.  He mentioned that the ribbon cutting ceremony for Stillwater (PA-19-21) was cancelled due to recent flooding.


First Vice President Jim Smedley – After last month’s meeting Jim and Gloria stopped by Herr’s Mill Bridge (PA-36-21) and noticed they staked out the area for the truck route to take for loading up the dismantled bridge for transporting to Stone Gables Estate where the Star Barn is now located.  They received a press release from Stone Gables Estate about the plans for Herr’s Mill Bridge.  It was posted on the bulletin board.  Basically, it says work to dismantle the bridge will start September 4th.  Every part of the bridge and the lime stone abutments will be reused to rebuild the bridge in two sections at Stone Gables Estate. One section will be used for horse and carriage, hitch wagons and modern traffic to cross the creek.   The other section will be used to cross the creek at a different point for a 1860s full scale replica of a 440 steam locomotive and passenger cars.  The first section will be completed by March 30, 2019 and the second half about three years later.

Jim and Gloria had a great time with Bill and Jenn Caswell visiting the bridges in Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois and Wisconsin.  Jim’s personal highlight s was Zumbrota Bridge in Minnesota, Roseman in Iowa and Thompson Mill in Illinois.  Nearly all of the bridges were in very good or better condition.

Jim noted that we know Lancaster County had a lot of flooding in July and August.  He will try to cover all of the threats and damage to our bridges in the next PA Crossings issue.  He asked if anyone has any information or photos of the flooding at the bridges please send it to him.

The deadline for PA Crossings is the October 14th meeting at Hoss’s Restaurant.

Second Vice President Ray Finkelstein had a cousin visiting and took her to Bogert’s (PA-39-01).  He and Steve Wolfhope did a presentation (at the request of member Clyde Scheib) at a “History under the Stars” event.  Ray and Linda have sold $490 in raffle tickets for the 2019 quilt.  Ray plans to send letters with tickets included to members with who don’t usually come to meetings to increase sales.

Third Vice President Steve Wolfhope reported there were about 25 people at the presentation he and Ray gave and attendees had lots of interesting questions.  He and Gloria Wolfhope recently visited member Ruth Wilson in Rome, NY and visited 4 bridges.


Fourth Vice President Tim McLaughlin was not present due to illness.  Gloria Smedley presented the report Tim had sent to her.  Tim and Connie saw bridges in Ohio, Delaware and Pennsylvania.  They saw all 27 bridges in Lancaster County.  Specifics on a few are noted below:


o   Herr’s Mill - both portal wing walls knocked down, most of the stone stacked up bulldozer and roll off on sight.

o   Lime Valley (PA-36-23) - looks good

o   Forry’s Mill (PA-36-28) - debris on lower chords

o   Siegrist -  lots of debris around the bridge

o   Schenck’s Mill (PA-36-30 #2) - one road there washed out.

o   Red Run very rough but they replaced the creek side abutment with concrete and put original stones in pile. They are taking collections to fix bridge and are having a bridge benefit weekend Oct 5-6.

o   Keller’s (PA-36-13) - lots of debris right up to bridge

o   Erb’s (PA-36-34) -  plenty of debris

o   Zook’s Mill (PA-36-14) - Can tell water was touching sides of bridge as light debris stuck to upstream side and also one broken board had debris nest inside. Wing wall on lower upstream side had damage and the cement top sections were on the ground beside the wing wall.

o   Pinetown (PA-36-05 #2) - looks good



Historian Fred J. Moll presented his annual repot on the covered bridges of Berks County.

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

·         Pleasantville Bridge (PA-06-01) –the Pleasantville Bridge itself is in good condition. The headache bars are up but are externally supported by braces keeping them in position.  They have been hit so many times that this must seem as a good in-between-hit solution.  

·         Griesemer’s Mill Bridge (PA-06-03) –Griesemer’s Bridge is in good condition.  Some of the paint on the top three horizontal boards is starting to peal on the downstream side of the bridge and the mill portal has some pealing, but for the most part the bridge is protected.

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

·         Dreibelbis Bridge (PA-06-07) –The Dreibelbis Bridge is still out of shape it is in the need of some board replacement and a new coating of paint.  All this should be taken care starting in the fall of next year.


Fred will be inside Wertz’s Red Bridge on October 7, 2018 giving tours and a talk on covered bridges at 1:00 and 2:30 during the Heritage Festival.  No admission but $5.00 to park.   


Recording Secretary Gloria Smedley:  No report.


Corresponding Secretary/Program Chair Pam Heisey : Pam’s new job takes her past a nice romantic shelter each day.  She read an article on Herr’s Mill which is in the process of being moved.


Treasurer Robert Kuether – No report.


ILLNESSES/DEATHS of MEMBERS:  Clyde Bradley (member for 36 years) passed away on August 20th.  Gloria Wolfhope spoke with Olive Jones.  Olive had a heart attack a year ago and is basically house bound with 24hr live-in assistance.  She is lonely and Gloria asked that Pam send a card to her from the society.  Tim Cohen’s eye surgery went well.  He is still recovering.  Tom reported that Rudy Katrencik sprained his knee and is having problems getting around and also has heart problems.


OLD BUSINESS – We will hold a number of small safaris to visit 60 bridges in 2019 in celebration of our 60th anniversary.  There was positive response on this from the membership.  Our usual annual safari will be held in Columbia County.  Details will appear in the October issue of PA Crossings.


We will hold a fund raising event at Hoss’s Restaurant on October 14th.  Bob had  tickets for those who plan to attend.  We need at least $300 in total sales to get 20% of the intake.


On August 11th eleven members gathered at Davis (PA-19-16) to paint the portals while the painter was finishing the sides.  The painting made a dramatic improvement in the appearance of the bridge.  We have plans to paint the portals of Snyder (PA-19-14) as soon as we have volunteers and can schedule a date.


NEW BUSINESS – Pam Heisey conducted the memorial service for those we lost over the past year.   


 MEMBER                          DATE OF DEATH                      MEMBER FOR

 Arnie Alexander                      08/01/2018                             02 Years

 Clayton R. Geib, Jr.                10/25/2017                             Former (15)

 Kenneth Gulden                      08/13/2017                             Former (18)

 Gregory Harvey                      08/07/2018                            10 months

 Richard R. Leich                     04/24/2018                             Former (28)

 Kim McKee                             12/07/2017                            LIFE (10)

 Sally Messing                          08/06/2017                            Former (34)

 Richard E. Roy                       09/17/2017                            Former (45)

 John E. Shelly                         02/25/2017                            47 Year   LIFE (13)

 Jeanette Wilson                      01/17/2018                            08 Years


ANNUAL ELECTION OF OFFICERS - Greg Williams conducted the election in place of Katie Helm or Pat Cook of the Nomination Committee as they were both absent today.

A unanimous vote was cast for the officers listed below:

President:  Tom Walczak

First Vice President:  Jim Smedley

Treasurer:  Robert J. Kuether

Second Vice President:  Ray Finkelstein

Recording Secretary:  Gloria Smedley (previously open, Judy Kuether nominated Gloria from the floor)

Third Vice President:  Steve Wolfhope

Corresponding Secretary/ Program Chairperson:  Pamela Heisey

Fourth Vice President:  Tim McLaughlin

Historian:  Fred J. Moll

Tom thanked those who have served as officers and will continue to serve.



·         Fred Moll shared Pardoe’s Perky Nuts, Montandon, Pa, Weis Markets, which had a covered bridge on it. 

·         Bonnie Shultz had copies of the Clearfield County booklet available which had McGee’s Mill (PA-38-17) on the cover. 

·         Bill Caswell announced the NSPCB annual tour will be held in Ashtabula County, Ohio September 22-23.  He also had copies of the NSPCB 2019 calendar available for those interested in purchasing one. 

·         Pam Heisey had a section of the local Sunday paper which featured a man who made shelves with Zook’s Mill (PA-36-14) painted on them. 

·         Tina Chandler went to the Kennett Square Mushroom Festival where she found a finger nail file with a bridge painted on it.

·         Judy Kuether brought in a quilt she had made to show the panels with bridges on it that is still available for purchase in stores.  She also mentioned she and Bob recently distributed a list of the bridge donations made by the society which amounted to over $50,000.


APPROVAL OF MINUTES – August minutes were approved as presented.


ADJOURNMENT - The meeting was adjourned at 4:20 p.m. following the Tom Walczak’s presentation “Our Society’s Year in Review”.


NEXT MEETING - Our Next Meeting will be held at Hoss’s Restaurant in Lititz on October 14th at 2:00pm.  .



Respectfully Submitted by Gloria Smedley, Recording Secretary

September 13, 2018