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Blogging Chester County Coatesville Covered Bridges Photo Essay Photo Journal Photography Projects Reference

Speakman #1 Covered Bridge – 4 years later

While I was out on a GPS drive yesterday, I found myself very close to Speakman #1 Covered Bridge, and having several hours before the kids got home, I decided to stop by and do a follow-up session.

The last time I was at the bridge was back in 2010, and as I got closer, I started to notice signs saying the bridge was closed.

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.

Bridge Closed signs at Speakman #1
Bridge Closed signs at Speakman #1 in Chester County PA.

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.

I explained to him that the last time I’d been down here was in 2010, and that I was rather shocked to see the general appearance of the bridge.

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.

Truck damage to Speakman #1 covered bridge in Chester County PA.
Truck damage to Speakman #1 covered bridge in Chester County PA.
Truck damage to Speakman #1 covered bridge in Chester County PA.
Truck damage to Speakman #1 covered bridge in Chester County PA.
Truck damage to Speakman #1 covered bridge in Chester County PA.
Truck damage to Speakman #1 covered bridge in Chester County PA.
Truck damage to Speakman #1 covered bridge in Chester County PA.
Truck damage to Speakman #1 covered bridge in Chester County PA.
Truck damage to Speakman #1 covered bridge in Chester County PA.
Truck damage to Speakman #1 covered bridge in Chester County PA.
Truck damage to Speakman #1 covered bridge in Chester County PA.
Truck damage to Speakman #1 covered bridge in Chester County PA.

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.

Arson damage at Speakman #1 in Chester County PA. - Notice the 'new' siding.
Arson damage at Speakman #1 in Chester County PA. – Notice the ‘new’ siding.

From the outside, looking upstream, you can see the boards that were replaced.

Truck damage to Speakman #1 covered bridge in Chester County PA.
Truck damage to Speakman #1 covered bridge in Chester County PA.

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.

Flood damage to Speakman #1 covered bridge in Chester County PA.
Flood damage to Speakman #1 covered bridge in Chester County PA.
Flood damage to Speakman #1 covered bridge in Chester County PA.
Flood damage to Speakman #1 covered bridge in Chester County PA.

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.

If you have any contacts, please let me know!

Thanks in advance,

- Andrew
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Announcements Chester County Covered Bridges Photo Essay Photo Journal Photography Published

Covered Bridges of Chester County – Featured

Destinations Travel Magazine - May 2011
Destinations Travel Magazine – May 2011

The new May issue of Destinations Travel Magazine has just been published and is now available!

Once again, Darlene Perrone has done a great job of putting this issue together, which also includes Day 2 of the “Covered Bridges of Chester County“!

The Covered Bridges featured in this months issue include:

I encourage you to take a look at this wonderful issue!

- Andrew
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Chester County Covered Bridges Photo Journal Photostream Projects

Speakman #1 Covered Bridge (1881)

Speakman #1 Covered Bridge (1881)

Coatesville, Chester County [38-15-05]

Speakman #1 Bridge HDR 02 (View of the entrance)
Speakman #1 Bridge HDR 02 (View of the entrance)

Driving south of Coatesville on Route 82, was definitely one of those days where you had the windows down and the stereo cranked up.

Initially I wanted to find Speakman #2 (Mary Ann Pyle CB), but when I got to the end of Highland Dairy Road, I encountered a local resident and asked about the bridge. He informed me that the bridge had been damaged in the recent storms back in June. He had not been there, but he had heard that the bridge had washed away.

I turned around and continued south on Route 82, which only took me deeper into the horse country of Chester County.

It was easy finding DuPont road which led to frog Hollow Road and I parked at the intersection.

This Burr bridge was built in 1881 by Menander & Ferdinand Wood, and is located in a very quiet and secluded area where one could only hear water running of the stream.

Unpacking my tripod and camera gear, I set out to do some interior shots of the bridge from the road.

There was some graffiti scrolled onto the dark walls of the interior which added some color.

Speakman #1 Bridge HDR 05 (Full View)
Speakman #1 Bridge HDR 05 (Full View)

I look for position where I could go full-sized shot of the bridge, but the weeds were very thick, and I decided to cross the bridge to the other side.

once on the other side, I found an easy path walking upstream, and was quickly able to find a dried area where I could set up to do my full-length shot.

It was a nice relief walking through the cool stream water because it was such a hot and humid day.

After taking my full-length shots,  I started looking around at the beautiful scenery, and just swiveled the tripod head 180°, looking back up the stream, capturing the following image.

Speakman #1 Bridge (Looking Up Creek)
Speakman #1 Bridge (Looking Up Creek)

I spent a few more minutes letting my eyes take in the beauty, as I splashed cold water onto my head and neck helping to cool me off.

reluctantly I started back downstream and got to the edge of the bridge, where I set up to do my final detailed interior capture.

Here is another example, where I did not notice the lens flare on the cameras LCD screen, but did notice it when I was editing the images and Adobe Lightroom.

Speakman #1 Bridge HDR 03
Speakman #1 Bridge HDR 03

I crossed back over the bridge, put my gear into the car, selected my next bridge from the GPS, and headed off to Mercer Covered Bridge in Christiana.

- Andrew
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If you are really a fan of Covered Bridges and Scale Models, you are going to love the work done at Mike and Jackies.  

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Chester County HDR Photo Journal Photography

Have GPS… Will travel!

Today is my first day using a GPS for this project, and boy, what a difference it makes! (Thanks Margie!)

After spending some time programming coordinates into the unit via Google Earth and CoveredBridgeMap.com, I was off!

After a beautiful drive down Rt. 82 south of Coatesville, I tried to find Speakman #2.

After getting to the end of Highland Dairy Road, talked with a gentleman that said that the surprise bad storms from couple of weeks ago, had made it impossible to get to the bridge. I had already read that one needed to contact the own for permission to visit, but with this info, I decided to continue on, and find Speakman #1 Covered Bridge.

– Andrew
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