Often when HistoricBridges.org visits a county, we find we are a bit late and find a slab of concrete where a historic bridge should be. That was not the case with this bridge, but another two days and it would have been. Only Memorial Day Weekend was holding this bridge's death sentence back. The deck had been removed, the plaques were gone, but the superstructure remained. As such, the photos taken are not pretty, but a complete documentation of the superstructure is available. The Skelly and Loy demolition mitigation website was the source of the nicer looking photos before demolition.
This bridge was determined non-historic, producing a serious problem with how this country deals with historic. Just because a bridge is not eligible for the National Register of Historic Places does not mean it has no historic value. The Pail Factory Road Bridge had decent historic integrity and was a virtual window into a period of history. In addition, the non-historic assessment ignores the breathtaking setting of this bridge. Sugar Creek cuts through some rock at this point, and an attractive trickle of water creates a miniature waterfall near where this bridge once stood. The bridge itself sat on a concrete abutment which was creatively built on and around the rock outcroppings which reduced needed materials, testifying to a day when builders used mother nature's gifts to their advantage, rather than destroying everything in sight and building a normal abutment. The attractive, traditionally composed truss superstructure completed the picture, providing a beautiful centerpiece to the scene.
In conclusion, whether a bridge is "officially" historic or not, it may still have historic value and thus be worthy of preservation. In addition, the superior aesthetic qualities of old bridges are further reasons to consider preservation, even if the bridge can't be put on the National Register database.
On a road that in 2005 saw an average of 46 cars a day (that's just under two cars an hour), this one-lane structure was clearly a bridge that should have been rehabilitated, even if that meant retrofitting the original structure in some format.
Skelly and Loy listed the construction date as 1916, the National Bridge Inventory as 1907. It is assumed the 1916 date is correct.
Above: Bridge as HistoricBridges.org found it, May 26, 2007.
Information and Findings From Pennsylvania's Historic Bridge Inventory
Discussion of Bridge
The single span, 125'-long riveted steel Pratt thru truss bridge is supported on concrete abutments. The bridge was determined not eligible by PHMC as a result of the Section 106 consultation process.
Discussion of Surrounding Area
The single lane bridge carries an unimproved township road over a stream in a sparsely developed, forested area that does not appear to have historic district potential.
Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: No
Information From Skelly and Loy Demolition Mitigation Website
County Bridge Number 32 or Pail Factory Bridge is a riveted steel Pratt thru truss bridge. Whitaker and Diehl Contractors fabricated the bridge in 1916. The bridge is made of riveted built-up sections, and features an X-brace railing. Originally built with a wooden deck, it now sports an open-metal grate deck, circa 1970. It is a single span at 125' long and 14' wide, and it is supported on concrete abutments. This bridge has been determined not eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places.
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This historic bridge has been demolished. This map is shown for reference purposes only.
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