List of Lancaster County covered bridges

The following is a list of covered bridges in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania USA. Covered bridges in Lancaster County are important as a tourist attraction or for their historical significance. Being in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country, it is not uncommon to see Amish horse and buggies crossing the bridges. They are often visited in the form of covered bridge driving tours.cite web
title = Our World: Covered Bridges
work = Lancaster County Pennsylvania Dutch Country Official Visitors Center
publisher = Pennsylvania Dutch Convention & Visitors Bureau
date = 2006
url =
accessdate = 2006-07-07
] Parke County, Indiana has the most covered bridges of any county in the United States with 31 covered bridgescite web
author = Parke County Inc.
title = Parke County - Covered Bridge Capital of the World
date = 2007
url =
accessdate = 2007-09-16
] while Lancaster County has only 29. Except for three of the existing covered bridges, all are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Most have been on the list since 1980.cite web
title = PENNSYLVANIA - Lancaster County
work = National Register of Historic Places
url =
accessdate = 2007-03-20
] The WGCB numbering prefix for the county is 38-36cite web
author = Bickel, Hank
title = Pennsylvania Covered Bridges
work = Covered Bridges of the Northeast USA
date = 2001-11-09
url =
accessdate = 2006-08-03

In the early to late 1800s there were approximately 1,500 covered bridges in the state of Pennsylvania. That number has decreased to just over 200 bridges, with more located in Lancaster County than any other county in the state.cite web
title = Covered Bridges
work = Pennsylvania Dutch Country Welcome Center
publisher = Action Video, Inc.
date = 2005
url =
accessdate = 2006-09-26
] The remaining covered bridges in the county are a remnant of a time where most bridges in the United States were made from wood, since wood was relatively inexpensive and easy to acquire. Bridge making, however, was anything but easy and required significant cost, effort, and time. The cost of the building the bridges was covered by government funds or by private individuals building bridges across their land. Since the bridges were built from wood, they were covered to provide protection from the weather, dramatically extending the life of the bridges. Nevertheless, as floods and fires destroyed more bridges, they were eventually replaced or bypassed with more durable and longer-lasting reinforced concrete and steel beam bridges.cite book
last = Conwill
first = Joseph D.
title = Covered Bridges Across North America
publisher = MBI
year = 2004
isbn = 0-7603-1822-0
] Most of the existing bridges are owned by the county government which is responsible for periodic upkeep and maintenancecite web
title = The Covered Bridges of Lancaster County
work = Lancaster County, PA Government Portal
publisher = County of Lancaster, Pennsylvania
date = 2001-11-09
url =
accessdate = 2006-07-07
] .

Throughout the years, many of the existing covered bridges have been destroyed, but were later reconstructed. For example, in 1972 a number of the county's covered bridges were either destroyed or badly damaged as a result of flooding caused by Hurricane Agnes. Notably, the Zook's Mill Covered Bridge managed to survive despite being filled with a few feet of water. The Willow Hill Covered Bridge, a relatively new bridge built in 1962, is a reconstructed bridge using materials recovered from the old Miller's Farm and Good's Fording covered bridges.

The covered bridges in Lancaster County are all built of similar construction and appearance. Some of this is due to the fact that many of the existing bridges were built by the same man, Elias McMellen, who built 12 of the existing bridges. The most common construction method used was that of the Burr arch truss. It is found in its single and double span forms in almost all of the covered bridges in the county, except for the Landis Mill Covered Bridge, a multiple kingpost design. Somewhat ironically, this short bridge was built by McMellen who used the Burr arch truss design in every other bridge he built. The Pine Grove Covered Bridge and Herr's Mill Covered Bridge are the county's only double span covered bridges. While most of the bridges are situated in remote locations where there is limited traffic, a number of the bridges, such as Jackson's Sawmill Covered Bridge, were later reinforced with steel beams underneath the bridge floor and steel hanger rods on the sides to support heavier traffic or give the bridge additional support.

Historically, the Lancaster County covered bridges were painted with red sides and all-white portals. Today most of the bridges retain this pattern, however, some of the portals are painted red with white trim (such as on the Zook's Mill Covered Bridge) or all-red (such as on the Pool Forge Covered Bridge). A number of these bridges also have the side panels painted red on the inside of the bridge while leaving the trusses unpainted. The Keller's Mill Covered Bridge is painted all-white, the only one of its kind in the county. Three of the bridges, Buck Hill Covered Bridge, Schenck's Mill Covered Bridge, and Shearer's Covered Bridge, have horizontal side boards. The rest of the bridges have vertical side boards.

= Existing bridgescite web
author = McCain, Dr. Roger A.
title = Covered Bridges by County and State
work = A Guide to Old Covered Bridges of Southeastern Pennsylvania and nearby areas
url =
accessdate = 2006-08-03
] cite web
author = Travis, Dale
title = Pennsylvania by County
work = Round Barns & Covered Bridges
date =
url =
accessdate = 2006-08-07
] =

Note: Mercer's Mill Covered Bridge and Pine Grove Covered Bridge are located on the border between Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and Chester County, Pennsylvania.

Old bridges

*Bellbank Covered Bridge* (burnt in 1979)
*Daniel Good's Fording Covered Bridge (Used to make Willow Hill Covered Bridge in 1962)
*Miller's Farm Covered Bridge (Used to make Willow Hill Covered Bridge in 1962)
*Pennsylvania Railroad Bridge** - Created in the 1820s, burnt during the American civil war in July 1863. It was the longest covered bridge in the world (over a mile and a quarter in length).
*Risser's Mill Covered Bridge (burnt on July 8, 2002)

*Bridge was on the border between Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and Chester County, Pennsylvania.
**Bridge was on the border between Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and York County, Pennsylvania.


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