York Town Square

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Picturesque York County steel bridges going way of covered predecessors

coveredMessiah College’s bridge, the last covered bridge touching York County, straddles Yellow Breeches Creek. It connects Cumberland and York counties. The college’s athletic fields are located on the York County side. The bridge was moved upstream to the college from Bowmansdale several years ago. (See a photo of the bridge undergoing repair below.) Background link: Photo collection adds to historical record and Scenic Yellow Breeches snakes along York County’s northern boundary.

Dallastown’s John Fishel is concerned that the Minnesota bridge collapse will spell the end of local steel truss bridges – those big, picturesque, bridges with the overhead beams.
These impressive bridges will be replaced by blander, modern bridges in the name of safety. Perhaps some could be left standing, he wrote.
York County has lost all but one of its covered bridges in the course of modernization. Meanwhile, Lancaster managed to hang onto 29 of its covered structures… .

According to Fishel’s count, York County has 11 truss bridges with beams overhead.
“Perhaps some publicity will convince those with the power to do so to at the very least acquire land (eminent domain again, I know) to bypass these bridges and let them stand as they did with the N. George St./York Haven Rd. bridge,” he wrote.
“Or at least some publicity will convince those who care about such things to take a Sunday drive over these bridges while they still can,” he added.
The most noteworthy steel truss bridge left standing is a railroad bridge, topic of labor leader Dick Boyd’s “The Bridge”. That York bridge is the symbolic place where the modern labor movement started in York.
Here’s Fishel’s list of York County steel truss highway bridges with overhead beams:

• Green Lane Drive, over the Yellow Breeches Creek (Fairview Twp./Lower Allen Twp., Cumberland County line) .
• Sheep Ford Road over the Yellow Breeches Creek (Fairview Twp./Lower Allen Twp., Cumberland County line).
• Bishop Road/Gilbert Road over the Yellow Breeches Creek (Monaghan Twp./Upper Allen Twp., Cumberland County line) — there were two steel truss bridges on this road as the road crosses the Yellow Breeches twice; one remains, but the other is currently being dismantled and replaced with eminent domain being used to acquire land to accommodate the new bridge from the unhappy bridge neighbors who didn’t want the nearby picturesque bridge replaced — why no publicity on this eminent domain case?
• Hull Drive over the Bermudian Creek (Washington Twp.)
• Big Mount Road over the Conewago Creek (two of them in a row over two parallel branches of the creek with an island in the middle; one is in Dover Twp. and one is on the Dover Twp./Washington Twp. line.
• Sheep Bridge Road over the Conewago Creek (Conewago Twp./Newberry Twp. line).
• Old York Road/ Bridge St. over the Yellow Breeches Creek (Fairview Twp./New Cumberland Borough, Cumberland County line).
• Bowers Bridge Road over the Little Conewago Creek (East Manchester Twp./Conewago Twp. line).
• Bairs Mill Road over Kreutz Creek (Hellam Twp.).
• North George St. Ext./York Haven Road over the Conewago Creek (East Manchester Twp./Newberry Twp. line).


A contractor replaces siding on the covered bridge connecting York and Adams counties on Messiah College’s campus in 2011. Workers used materials that designed to give the bridge life for decades.