Theodore Burr Covered Bridge Society of Pennsylvania, Inc.

Annual Christmas Dinner and Meeting

December 14, 2019


First Vice President Jim Smedley called the meeting to order at 11:50 welcoming everyone to our Annual Christmas Dinner.  (President Tom Walzcak did not make it today due to the threat of inclement weather in Pittsburgh.  He sent his best wishes for a Merry Christmas to everyone.)  Jim reminded everyone of the bridge preservation fund donation and described the various raffles of the day.

NEW MEMBERS AND GUESTS:  There were no new members or guests.  However, Jim acknowledged those who traveled a good distance to attend today’s dinner: Bill and Jenn Caswell from NH; Gene Ross from VA; Arleen Bradley and her son and daughter-in-law from Pittsburgh, PA; K.C. and Bob Griner from Shelocta in western PA; and Ted and Beth Smith from the Annapolis, MD area.


TREASURER’S REPORT:  We have two new members from Cambridge MN, Dave and Cheryl Rogers, a gift from Bob’s sister Mary.  We have 297 members, 32 less than 1 year ago.


Michael Chorazy visited several bridges over the Thanksgiving weekend.  In Sullivan County, PA he saw Sonestown which is closed again.  Side boards were kicked out but he didn’t see any structural damage.  He also saw Hillsgrove and Forksville which are both in great shape.  In Schoharie County, NY he saw Blenheim.  They did a fantastic job rehabilitating this one – phenomenal!  In Sullivan County, NY he saw Halls Mill, one of his favorite bridges.  It is completely closed.  You can’t even walk through it.

Joe McCarthy updated everyone on the progress of Dreibelbis.  He has all the wood in the yard at his shop.  Monday they will formulate a plan for carving and cutting it.  They are planning to hold an open house to let people come in and see what is going on, probably near the beginning of February.  Joe will let Jim know when the open house is scheduled so Jim can distribute a notice to members regarding it.  There is a lot of interest in seeing how the boards are fabricated.  All wood will be treated lumber so the bridge will appear Army green until it is painted.

Bill and Jenn Caswell visited Zimmerman and Rock on their way down from NH yesterday.  Rock looks great but Zimmerman appears to have a twist on one side.

Tim and Connie McLaughlin completed their mission to visit all 210 PA bridges during this our 60th anniversary year.  They saw 60 bridges in November.  They met lots of nice people and gave out lots of rack cards during their year long quest. Connie is happy to share the files she created documenting each bridge they saw if people are interested.


President Tom Walczak – No report, not present.

First Vice President, Jim Smedley – No report.

The deadline for PA Crossings Newsletter is February 2, 2020. 

Second Vice President, Ray Finkelstein took a friend to visit Kreidersville.  It looks good except needs power washing on one side.  He also saw Wehr’s which is blocked off at the time because they were decorating it with lights for the holidays – looks good!  He mentioned that Manassas Guths is still closed.

Third Vice President, Steve Wolfhope saw one covered bridge since the last meeting, Knox in Valley Forge which he used on his Christmas cards this year.  He mentioned that Shaffer in Somerset County is closed due to the roof collapsing.  They plan a temporary fix to shore up the roof.

Fourth Vice President, Robert Griner and K.C. joined Tim and Connie McLaughlin last weekend to finish up their yearlong task of seeing their last bridges of PA.  They visited 5 counties.  Bob says it was definitely ‘an experience’.  They visited Harmon and Trusal in Indiana County.  Harman was decorated for Christmas with the bridge outlined entirely with lights.  They also saw McGee’s Mill which is in good shape.

Recording Secretary, Gloria Smedley - no report.

Corresponding Secretary / Program Chair Pamela A. Heisey - no report.

Treasurer Bob Kuether thanked all who helped out at the Christmas Show and Christmas at the Twins. 


Historian Fred J. Moll often visits the Dreibelbis site to check on progress.  They are working slowly on the abutments, partly due to bad weather lately.



OLD BUSINESS – Gloria Smedley thanked all who participated in the Jewelry Fundraiser earlier this month.  It brought in $168 for our society.  Jim has posted the revised bylaws on our website.  He will provide a hardcopy to anyone who wants one.  He still has a few of the National Parks Service’s new book for those who didn’t get one.  Jim reminded everyone of the changes in our schedule for next year:

Jim announced that we only have a few 2020 calendars left!

NEW BUSINESS – Jim Smedley updated everyone on our plans for the 2020 Safari to Southeast Ohio.  He and Gloria made a trip down to run the routes and find a hotel.  The hotel seems perfect, decorated inside with a covered bridge mural and pictures around, and only $67 per night.  The plans include seeing 7 bridges on Saturday, 6 on Sunday and 5 on Monday.  Jim provided flyers with additional information on the safari for those who are interested.

Gloria Smedley announced a membership wide 50/50 raffle to be conducted between February and May.  Raffle tickets will be $1 each.  Gloria will coordinate mailing tickets to all members, except those who are usually able to attend our meetings, in February.  Tickets will be available at our meetings in March through May with the drawing to be conducted at our Anniversary Dinner in May.

Clyde Scheib announced that the Luminaries at Kennedy Bridge will be held on December 20-21 at dusk.  Clyde and Alda Scheib are basically consultants to this event with lots of help from volunteers and donations of candles and supplies by individuals. 

Jim Smedley acknowledged Clyde by announcing a new book recently published by Clyde “West Seven Stars and Beyond: Preserving Local History”.  The book is about local history of the area Clyde lives with mention of the Kennedy Bridge.  It is available on Amazon.

COVERED BRIDGE ITEMS:  Tina Chandler mentioned a picture at Big Lots for $30 showing the interior of a bridge.  Ray got a calendar from his local hardware store and found a covered bridge in it.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:  Minutes were approved as presented.


NEXT MEETING: Our Next Meeting will be held on Sunday, March 1, 2020 at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.  The program will be “Cruising from Amsterdam to Budapest” by Ray Finkelstein.


ADJOURNMENT: The meeting was adjourned at 1:45 p.m.  Various raffles with prizes were conducted.


Respectfully Submitted by Recording Secretary, Gloria Smedley

December 27, 2019