This made me very concerned, especially since we’ve had several harsh winters since I was last there.
As I approached the bridge, I felt rather depressed when I began to see barriers in front of the bridge opening.
While I was getting out of the car, I was wondering what kind of damage had happened, when I was shaken from my thoughts by a man in a pickup truck. He asked if I was fishing to which I raised my camera.
The truck pulled into the area in front of the bridge and the man got out and started chatting about the bridge in general.
At this point, Lawrence introduced himself and said the bridge had been closed for about two years due to damage by a truck hauling steel plates through the bridge.
Apparently, a driver was heading southbound on Frog Hollow Road, when a steel plate shifted as he turned right onto Covered Bridge Road, severely damaging the South West entrance post.
Lawrence continued to tell me stories about the local area and the bridge as we walked around, inspecting the damage.
In this picture, you can still see some of the fire damage cause by some local boys. Notice the char in the diagonal crossbeam.
From the outside, looking upstream, you can see the boards that were replaced.
I asked when the bridge was going to be fixed, but that remains to be seen. There appears to be an argument between the local townships and the state about who is going to pick up the restoration cost.
When you go to the upstream side of the bridge, you can see where the tall grass has gotten stuck between the boards during several recent floods.
If you look very carefully at the above image, you can see how the left vertical steel I-beam is bent from all the ice and trees hitting it.
Needless to say, it is easy to see that Speakman #1 Covered Bridge needs some major restoration if it is going to last into the future.
I hope by posting these images, I can make other people aware of what needs to be done.
With this first book done, and I’m sure that I’ll revisit at some point, I am beginning to put together some ideas on themed books.
This time, using Blurb’s SmartBook application to put together my next adventure, namely because it seems to offer far more options and controls than what is available in the built-in Adobe Lightroom module.
In the meantime, let me know what you think of the book!
The first Pine Grove Bridge was built some time in 1816, but was later destroyed by a storm.
In 1846, the bridge was rebuilt by Robert Russell and Joseph Elliott for just $1,494, but it was later swept away by ice.
In 1884, Elias McMellen, a former Captain in the Union Army, built the 198 feet long and 15 feet wide bridge, and added it to his list of 12 other bridges he built in eastern Pennsylvania.
(Mostly in Lancaster County, but I have also photographed Pool Forge, which is North of Oxford, in Caernarvon Township.
[Anyone have an idea of how much it cost?] – ($4295)
In 1988 it was restored, and 20 years later in 2008 it was refurbished.
Pine Grove is the longest bridge in Chester and Lancaster counties, and sits just below a waterfall that is next to the old pump-house of the Octoraro Water Company.
The pump-house was built in 1904 by the Chester Water Authority, and since 1953, they have been leasing space for meeting rooms and art studios to the Charles X. Carlson Octoraro Art Association (OAA).
On a personal note, this is one of the bridges that I got to photograph with my daughter, Madison.
She was such a trooper, even though she was usually bored out of her mind.
I did ask her to blog about her experience during the days adventure, and she has… Kudos to her…
Since this was the first time that she had seen me at work, my running around in the water, and up and down rocks was causing her to caution me continually.
It was hard to convince her that this was one of the easier bridges to photograph.
Built in 1889 by Built by Menander Wood and George E. Jones for
[Who much do you think it cost?] – $1767
This 65 for long, 16 foot wide bridge also holds the distinction of being the Southernmost Covered Bridge in Pennsylvania, and in 1980 was listed National Register of Historic Places.
I photographed Glen Hope two years ago, and I still remember my conversations with Jamie Crouse of Elkton, Maryland, as he was kind enough to stop and chat with me for some time.
He and his family have lived in the area for several generations, and the stories he told me seem to roll right off his tongue, as if it was yesterday’s news.
As a young boy, Jamie remembered his father telling him the story of an overloaded cement truck crashing through the floorboards in 1967, and how new Steel Stringers were added by the end of 1968.
Jamie also told me the story of the arson fire that occurred during 1987.
Apparently a couple of local college boys, decided to take bales of hay, put them inside a bridge, and then doused them with gasoline, and setting them on fire.
He was able to point to dark indentations in the floorboards, where one can still see the outlines of where hay bales were set on fire.
There was a great deal of damage to the roof, and in 1991 a significant restoration effort was completed, including the recovery of the original Bongossi wood.
Bongossi wood is from Africa, and is very dark and dense and used heavily in construction and marine work.
I do not have any collaborating evidence on this but Jamie’s most humorous story was the following:
“During his teenage years, two local girls visited Glenn Hope and other local covered bridges in the area, and carved “Boobless Wonder Strikes Again” on the down-creek trusses and “Woogie” on the up-creek trusses.”
If anyone can confirm this…
Glen Hope was the last Chester County Covered Bridge that I photographed on October 21st, 2010, nearly a year to the day of when I started with Bartram on October 23, 2009.
In conclusion, the four covered bridges of the Oxford area are very unique to Chester County, and with the colors of fall starting to emerge, I encourage you and your family to take a trip to any one of these bridges and witness the beauty of the bridges and this coming fall season.
There are 4 computers set up, each with a different Slide Show, that features 2 more images of each bridge, and 5 images from the rest of my Portfolio.
I invite you to take a look…
Final Thank You’s
Citadel for Hosting…
Gwen for arranging everything…
And everyone for coming…
The following links where part of the slide show that were running on four (4) different computer screens during the Open House.
It has been very dry in Chester County for a while now, and when it did rain last night, I had thoughts of where to find some water to finally take pictures of in the area.
Early in the morning, I put my photography gear in the car, along with drinks and snacks and I was off.
By the time I finished my quick errands around town, it was overcast, 85°F+ with slightly high humidity, and I knew I really wanted to play with my new 10-stop neutral density filter, and I knew my first stop.
The Downingtown Dam, which is just west of the center of town, along Rt. 282/Creek Road was my first stop.
I parked in the little spot near the road, packed up my vest, grabbed my tripod, and was off along the little path through the woods.
Tech Note – The Downingtown Dam image is a HDR collection of (3) three images taken at 180 sec, 120 sec and 60 sec (f22 ISO100), combined in Photoshop, with Tone Mapping done with Nik Software HDR Efex 2.
I had been there a day or two earlier with my kids, when we took advantage of the swimming area just above the damn, and I also knew I could get a good measurement of what to expect further up-stream for possible later shoots.
The water level was definitely higher, my guest 2-3 inches, and most of the concrete on the damn was cover, with places blocked by small branches.
On the downside of the damn, it was still easy to cross the river with all the bare rocks still visible, and I quickly situated myself on the one large concrete slab near the middle.
As I setup, and looked around, I knew I was not going to get much, but I pushed on with the session.
During my time, I did finally get an exposure into the 4 minute range with the sun nearly right over head, but still not slow enough for somethings I want to do.
After about 45 minutes of shooting, I headed back to the car, and headed further upstream.
I stopped at several more places along Creek Road, checking the water levels. On several occasions, I had to deliberate, if it was worth the walk through thick poison ivy and oak, for a mediocre shoot.
When I reached the west side of Glenmoore, I turned around, and headed back on a GPS drive to my next adventure.
In Chester County, there are many wonderful, scenic roads, and Pughtown Road, off of Rt 100 (Pottstown Pike) is one of them, and along the way, one will find Hollow Road, on which Sheeder-Hall Covered Bridge can be found. The best place to park, in the little area on French Creek Road.
Tech Note – A series of (5) shots ranging from 1/15th to 1 second (f25 ISO100), combined in Photoshop, with Tone Mapping done with Nik Software HDR Efex 2.
Once again, I got my vest and tripod out, and headed down one of the little paths that lead to the downstream side of the bridge.
I waded into the water, and took some more documentary style images, looking upstream, and then headed back to capture some more interior shoots.
Eventually, I crossed the bridge, took some more shoots and headed back, and as I did, I turned, and saw this view. The traffic was lite, so doing the required multiple exposures for HDR work was easy, and then I was done for this session.
Rapps Dam Covered Bridge
Rapps Dam Covered Bridge in Phoenixville was another bridge that I photographed back in 2010, and since that time, Rapps has been restored, and I finally got a chance to visit to see the new construction!
Tech Note – The Underneath shoot was another series of (7) HDR shoots, taken between 1 second and 60 seconds at f22 ISO100. Combined in Photoshop and tweaked with Nik Software HDR Efex 2.
When one is walking near the bridge, you can still smell the fresh new wood, combined with a pitch smell as you walk underneath.
Tech Note – The Underneath shoot was another series of (6) HDR shoots, taken between 8 seconds and 180 seconds at f22 ISO100. Combined in Photoshop and tweaked with Nik Software HDR Efex 2.
PennDOT took 10 months to replace the 4 steel support beams, remove and replace the cedar roof and redwood timber and siding, along the 106-foot span. The project cost $1,527,257, which was paid for by state funds, and was managed by Bi-State Construction of Easton, PA. The last time the bridge was reconstructed was in 1978.
2014 April 29
Apparently, an 18-wheeler decided to take on Rapps Dam… Guess who won…