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Dowlin Bridge

Dowlin Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Elaine Deutsch

Bridge Documented: 2008

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Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Dowlin Forge Road Over Shamona Creek
Rural: Chester County, Pennsylvania: United States
Structure Type
Stone Segmental Deck Arch, Fixed
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1915 By Builder/Contractor: Corcoran Construction Company of West Chester, Pennsylvania and Engineer/Design: Nathan R. Rambo
Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
24.0 Feet (7.3 Meters)
Structure Length
43.0 Feet (13.1 Meters)
Roadway Width
17.7 Feet (5.39 Meters)
2 Main Span(s)
Inventory Number

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

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

This stone arch bridge has one larger main span and off to one end of the bridge is a second tiny span.

Information and Findings From Pennsylvania's Historic Bridge Inventory

Discussion of Bridge

The 2-span, 44'-long stone arch bridge built 1915 has dressed voussoirs, fieldstone spandrel walls, and parapets with some sections of replacement concrete coping. It is supported on stone abutments and pier. The intrados is pargetted and the bridge has several generations of repointing, some with inappropriately thick mortar joints. It is an example of a bridge type that is common from the first two decades of the 20th century in Chester County. The county-built traditional stone arch bridges were favored by the county engineer, and at least 19 similar bridges from 1908 to 1919 have been identified. Stone arch bridges have been in use in Pennsylvania since the late 17th century, and over 350 examples have been identified statewide, with more than two-thirds dating to before 1900. Early 20th century examples in Chester County are considered individually significant in the local context only when they are complete and large or particularly well detailed. This example is not historically or technologically distinguished within its population or by its setting and context.

Discussion of Surrounding Area

The bridge carries a 2 lane road over a stream in a wooded setting with a scattered mix of 19th- to late-20th-century residences. West of the bridge is an abandoned rail line that has been converted to a hiking trail. Approximately 300' east of the bridge is a row of mid-20thcentury residences. Approximately 200' to the south is an early 19th century vernacular stone residence. Approximately 1/4 mile to the north begins an area of late-20th-century subdivisions. The bridge's immediate setting does not have historic district potential. The Dowlin Forge Site, the ruins of a 18th and early 19th century forge, are located on the road more than .5 mile to the south.

Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: No

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

Discussion of Bridge

This bridge is a good candidate for long-term preservation. It ranks in the highest third of all stone bridges under study in this plan. It has a moderate condition code, a result of concern about cracks and loose stones. No scour was noted during the last inspection. It has a high transportation code, a result of low traffic volumes and good sight distance at its approaches. The bridge stands in an area of low development potential, where it can be expected to carry its traffic for some time into the future. Its waterway is adequate. The cost to rehabilitate this bridge would be relatively inexpensive, as its historic fabric is largely intact. Although not listed in or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places individually or as part of a historic district, the bridge is part of a greenway and is locally significant. The bridge has public support (three letters and one meeting at which this bridge was a focus).


The Uwchlan, Dowlin Forge Road is owned by Uwchlan Township and is ranked 25th.
Condition Code = 48 - moderate
Transportation Code = 57 - high
Waterway Adequacy Code = 53 - moderate
Cost to Rehabilitate or Replace Code = 56 - high
Anticipated Development Code = 58 - high
Recreational, Historical, and Cultural Values Code = 47 - moderate
Public Input Code = 60 - very high

Recommendation: A strong candidate for long-term preservation.


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Maps and Links: Dowlin Bridge

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HistoricBridges.org Bridge Browser: View listed bridges within 10 miles (16 kilometers) of this bridge.

2021 National Bridge Inventory: View listed bridges within 0.5 miles (0.8 kilometers) of this bridge.

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