Sunday, October 18, 2009
The Hewitt Bridge is the only covered bridge remaining in Southampton Township. It spans Town Creek at a length of 88 ft. and it is 13 ft. 10 in. wide. This county-owned bridge has a medium-gable-roof high vertical-plank sidewalls, it's abutment is made of cut stone. This "Burr Truss" bridge was inspected on December 1, 1879 and approved for use on Dec. 5, 1879. Just to the west of it is the ruins of a gristmill that belonged to the McElfish family.
There was also a 60 ft. covered bridge that crossed Town Creek near Chaneysville (Rt326) which was still standing in the late 50's, it had been built in 1892. Because of the weight of a school bus, the children had to get off the bus and walk across the bridge on foot, then reload to continue on their way to school. Replaced earlier was a short 34 ft. bridge (no photo) that spanned Sweet Root Creek near Point Pleasant and the Adams Mill that was built in 1878.
The fourteen covered-bridges remaining in Bedford County are: Hewitt, Colvin, Herline, Turner, Cuppett, Snook, Hall's Mill, Fitchner, Jackson's Mill, Ryot, Dr. Knisely, Felton's Mill, Bowser, and Claycomb.
"Burr Truss" was a patented wooden-span trussing system designed in 1804 by Theodore Burr, from Torringford, Connecticut. The Burr arch truss, combined great reinforced arches with multiple kingpost trusses. The arches tie directly into the bridge's abutments, permitting wider streams to be spanned. Of the remaining covered bridges, twelve are burr trusses. The shortest Burr-arch bridge remaining in Pa. is the Cupperts Bridge here in Bedford County, measuring in at 60 feet. The longest in our county is the Herline Covered Bridge.