View Information About HSR Ratings
The Penn Bridge Company was a noteworthy bridge builder in Pennsylvania in the late 19th Century. Early examples from the 1880s, like this bridge, often display some unusual details particularly the use of two pins at the top chord and end post connections. This bridge is one of the only known surviving examples of a Whipple truss built by this company. The bridge also is noteworthy for its numerous intact ornate embellishments, including decorative cast iron elements on the portal bracing.
In July 2013, it was announced that this bridge would be demolished for $390,000 by Berks County despite the fact that the bridge displays no evidence of being in imminent danger of collapse, and despite there being no replacement bridge planned. The county had earlier planned to spend $1,000,000 to rehabilitate the bridge for vehicular use, but for some reason they only would do that if the township would take ownership of the bridge afterwards, and the township would not agree. There is nothing more wasteful of money and devastating to our nation's transportation heritage than to demolish a historic bridge that is not in the way of a replacement bridge and is not in imminent danger of collapse. Why would anyone want to spend hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to achieve no result other than to deprive a nation of a beautiful historic bridge? It would be far better to preserve this bridge for pedestrian use. Perhaps the $390,000 of demolition funds would be enough to make some minor repairs to keep this bridge able to support the light weight of pedestrian usage. Even fencing the bridge off to all traffic and leaving it standing as is would be a better option than demolition. At least then, this beautiful historic landmark would still be standing and could be viewed by people.
Berks County has several historic covered bridges, and they have all been rehabilitated and preserved. Why is this extremely rare iron Whipple truss deserving of anything less? The fact is that it is not, and it should be preserved, just like these covered bridges.
Information and Findings From Pennsylvania's Historic Bridge Inventory
Discussion of Bridge
The one span, 202' long, pin connected double intersection Pratt thru truss bridge was built in 1883 by the Penn Bridge Works. It is supported on stone abutments. There have been some modifications and strengthenings to the trusses, but they retain their integrity of design and workmanship. The bridge is an early example of a relatively rare truss design, and it is historically and technologically significant.
Discussion of Surrounding Area
The bridge carries a 2 lane road over a stream in a rural area with modern houses and the Blue Falls Grove beyond the southeast quadrant. The grove is a picnic area with pavilions. It appears to date to the early 20th century.
Bridge Considered Historic By Survey: Yes
Coordinates (Latitude, Longitude):
Search For Additional Bridge Listings:
Bridgehunter.com: View listed bridges within 0.5 miles (0.8 kilometers) of this bridge.
Bridgehunter.com: View listed bridges within 10 miles (16 kilometers) of this bridge.
HistoricBridges.org Bridge Browser: View listed bridges within 0.5 miles (0.8 kilometers) of this bridge.
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.
Google Streetview (If Available)
GeoHack (Additional Links and Coordinates)
Apple Maps (Via DuckDuckGo Search)
Apple Maps (Apple devices only)
Android: Open Location In Your Map or GPS App
Flickr Gallery (Find Nearby Photos)
Wikimedia Commons (Find Nearby Photos)
Directions Via Sygic For Android
Directions Via Sygic For iOS and Android Dolphin Browser
USGS National Map (United States Only)
Historical USGS Topo Maps (United States Only)
Historic Aerials (United States Only)
CalTopo Maps (United States Only)
© Copyright 2003-2023, HistoricBridges.org. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer: HistoricBridges.org is a volunteer group of private citizens. HistoricBridges.org is NOT a government agency, does not represent or work with any governmental agencies, nor is it in any way associated with any government agency or any non-profit organization. While we strive for accuracy in our factual content, HistoricBridges.org offers no guarantee of accuracy. Information is provided "as is" without warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied. Information could include technical inaccuracies or errors of omission. Opinions and commentary are the opinions of the respective HistoricBridges.org member who made them and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone else, including any outside photographers whose images may appear on the page in which the commentary appears. HistoricBridges.org does not bear any responsibility for any consequences resulting from the use of this or any other HistoricBridges.org information. Owners and users of bridges have the responsibility of correctly following all applicable laws, rules, and regulations, regardless of any HistoricBridges.org information.