Although Chester County has many stone arch bridges, this is one of only two that dates to the early 1800s. Bridges dating prior to 1850 in the United States are among the oldest surviving bridges in the country. Each are nationally significant as surviving infrastructure from this country's earlier years. This bridge is a substantial bridge that retains good historic integrity.
Information and Findings From Pennsylvania's Historic Bridge Inventory
Discussion of Bridge
Cope's Bridge, a 3 span stone arch bridge, was built in 1807. It was individually listed in the National Register on 3/7/1985. It has been rated a contributing resource to the Taylor-Cope Historic District (listed 7/16/87). Sections of spandrel wall are bulging outward and were buttressed with stone in 1996.
Discussion of Surrounding Area
The bridge carries a 2 lane road over the East Branch of Brandywine Creek at the rural mill village of Copesville. The village is part of a larger rural historic district called the Taylor- Cope Historic District. The district has a period of significance from 1724 to 1906. A late 18th-century stone residence is located adjacent to the bridge.
Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes
Information and Findings From Pennsylvania's Stone Arch Bridge Management Plan
Discussion of Bridge
Although the bridge ranks in the lower half of all stone arch bridges under study in this plan, it is recommended for long-term preservation. PennDOT is committed to the preservation of the bridge. It was previously placed on PennDOT's Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) to be rehabilitated, and the contract is scheduled to be let in 2008. The rehabilitation will correct the bridge's relatively poor condition and inadequate traffic code and possibly add some strengthening measures. The bridge lies in an area of low additional development potential; therefore, substantial traffic increases are not anticipated. The bridge has high recreational, historical, and cultural values and public input codes. It is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, contributes to the Taylor-Cope Historic District, is part of a projected greenway, and is on the Brandywine Scenic Byway, a state designated scenic byway. The bridge has also received extensive public support during the development of this plan and as part of the Section 106 process during preliminary design, when several public meetings were held specifically to discuss the bridge.
Copes Bridge, the Strasburg Road Bridge is owned by
PennDOT and is ranked 72nd.
Recommendation: Recommended for long-term preservation.
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