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Old Schuylkill Road Bridge

Old Schuylkill Road Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Elaine Deutsch

Bridge Documented: 2008

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Old Schuylkill Road Over Pigeon Creek
Rural: Chester County, Pennsylvania: United States
Structure Type
Stone Segmental Deck Arch, Fixed
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1804 By Builder/Contractor: James Brooke

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
Not Available
Structure Length
53 Feet (16.2 Meters)
Roadway Width
20.3 Feet (6.19 Meters)
2 Main Span(s)
NBI Number

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

View Archived National Bridge Inventory Report - Has Additional Details and Evaluation

This small bridge is extremely significant on a local level as the oldest bridge in the county. It has both state and national significance as one of the oldest bridges in Pennsylvania, and is also among the oldest bridges in the entire country.

Information and Findings From Pennsylvania's Historic Bridge Inventory

Discussion of Bridge

The 2-span, 53'-long, stone arch bridge built in 1804 has dressed voussoirs and ashlar spandrel walls transitioning to fieldstone parapets capped with ashlar coping stones. The stone is a red sandstone. The bridge is supported on stone abutments and bullnosed pier. According to county records, the bridge was built in 1804 by James Brooke. It is an early and handsome example of the traditional stone arch highway bridge type. It is the oldest example in Chester County and one of the ten oldest identfied in the state. It among the earliest of those with ashlar voussoirs and spandrel walls. The historically and technologically significant bridge documents the earliest extant bridge type in the state and county, and the only bridge type available for permanent crossings prior to 1850.

Discussion of Surrounding Area

The bridge carries a 2 lane road over a stream in a rural setting with scattered 19th- to late- 20th-century residences. The setting does not have historic district potential.

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes

Information and Findings From Pennsylvania's Stone Arch Bridge Management Plan

Discussion of Bridge

The oldest of Chester County's bridges, this bridge is a strong candidate for long-term preservation. Although its condition code is low, its transportation code is high, a result of low traffic volumes and good sight distance at the approaches. Located in an area of low development potential, the bridge can be expected to carry its traffic for some time in the future. The bridge's waterway is adequate. Its cost to rehabilitate code is moderate; although the bridge's historic fabric is intact, it has been improperly repointed with Portland cement. The bridge is individually eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places and is part of a greenway; it is locally and regionally significant. The bridge has public support (one letter, one email, one telephone call, and one meeting at which this bridge was a focus). Overall, the bridge ranks in the upper third of the stone arch bridge population under study in this plan. Recommendation: A strong candidate for long-term preservation.


The East Coventry, Schuylkill Road Bridge is owned by Chester County and is ranked 32nd.
Condition Code = 44 - low
Transportation Code = 59 - high
Waterway Adequacy Code = 53 - moderate
Cost to Rehabilitate or Replace Code = 51 - moderate
Anticipated Development Code = 58 - high
Recreational, Historical, and Cultural Values Code = 57 - high
Public Input Code = 54 - moderate

Recommendation: A strong candidate for long-term preservation.


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