Friday, May 21, 2010
THE COVERED BRIDGES OF LEHIGH VALLEY
Guth Bridge crosses the Jordan Creek, that flows into the Lehigh River. Built in 1858, it was partially destroyed by fire and rebuilt in 1882. Still used, it is surrounded by the beautiful Covered Bridge Park that extends to four other covered bridge crossings on Jordan Creek. It was named for the family of Manasses Guth who had a cabin on the bank of this creek in 1745. Here people forded until the bridge was built.
Wehrs Bridge was once Sieger's Covered Bridge, named after Ephraim Sieger who built a gristmill near by.The mill was torn down in 1951. Wehr bought the bridge which is located near a small dam built in 1904. A favorite place for anglers, painters and weddings. Canadian Geese liked the area as well. Many of them enjoyed the grass and the water.
Rex's Bridge was named for the Rex family, local landowners in the vicinity. Built in the Burr Truss style like most of the bridges, this one had length wise planking and cross planking. The stone entrance walls were covered with cement and painted white.
Geigers Bridge is located on the eastern side of Trexler's Nature Preserve Water under this bridge was once pumped up to local orchards and farms. The stone wing walls have been painted white and the stepped front design is unusual.You can see the windows that allowed some light through. Covered bridges were covered to protect the wooden planking from rotting, not for sheltering people and buggies as people often think.
Schlichers Bridge was closed when we got there. It was obviously sagging and had previous warning signs of a dip. We had to reroute to find our next bridge on the map, but the day was so beautiful in the country side, we cared not. This bridge is completely surrounded by the Nature Preserve and locals called it the "deer pen" bridge. Built in 1882, this is the newest bridge of the ones we visited. New being relative, of course. We don't know if it is slated to be repaired or not.
We stopped at Schnecksville Family Diner for home made German food, Jim had chicken pot pie and I had stuffed cabbage with vegetables and desert. They fill you up in a German Restaurant and the food was delicious and authentic and affordable. The type of place where you want to try all the entrees. Home made pies and puddings, dumplings and...go if you are in the area. Service was also excellent.
Our last stop, Kreidersville Bridge was both the oldest at 1841 and the newest since its been rebuilt quite recently and is no longer used. It belongs to the park in that county and remains a beautiful spot to visit like all of the others.
While some are near private land, all had surrounds to envy. Covered Bridges are endearing structures from a slower paced lifestyle. Often called Kissing Bridges because a courting man might pause his horse and steal a kiss in the privacy offered by the cover.
Covered bridges are fairly short in length. All were over 100 feet in length, the longest Bogerts at 145 feet.
The bridges get their strength from the rounded Burr Truss that can be seen in the photo above. The truss extends from abutment to abutment. Some of the upright timbers are 16 inches thick. A lovely way to spend a hot day.