Friday, January 22, 2010

Longest Covered Bridge in the World

In volume 9 of Outta the Way, we take you on a tour of the Lancaster County Covered Bridges. At one time Lancaster had the longest covered bridge in the world. Built in 1814, the bridge spanned over the Susquehanna River between the towns of Columbia and Wrightsville. The bridge was 5,690 feet long and built mainly of wood and stone. Tolls for the bridge at the time were $1.50 for a wagon and 6 horses or $0.06 a person.

It stood for 14 years before being destroyed by ice and high waters on February 5, 1832. In 1834 a second covered bridge was opened, using as much as they could salvage from the first bridge. The bridged was later burned during the Civil War by Union militiamen to prevent Confederate soldiers from advancing into Wrightsville. Afterwards the Columbia Bank and Bridge Company appealed to the Federal Government for reimbursement of damages sustained, but none were ever paid.

A third covered bridge was constructed in 1864, this time of stone, wood and steel. It was eventually destroyed by a hurricane in 1896. After the destruction of the third covered bridge, the idea was scrapped and a forth bridge was built. This time steel trusses were used. It was designed to withstand all the previous elements which had been so disastrous. This bridge eventually became used as strictly a railroad bridge until 1958. In 1963 the bridge was dismantled for scrap. The stone pieces still stand today just North of the Route 30 bypass, still offering us a glimpse back into the past.

No comments: