York Town Square

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Nature had its way with short-lived York Furnace Bridge in southeastern York County

Workers construct a platform under the Susquehanna River’s Norman Wood Bridge in the summer of 2008. The platform aided painters working on the bridge, a dizzying height above the river bed. Background posts: How many Amish have crossed the bridge from Lancaster to York County? and Bridge painters stalled: ‘Everybody’s looking for the eagles … nobody has seen any’ and For years, folks have eyed amazing, destructive Susquehanna River ice jams.

Scott Mingus made a quick aside that said much during a speech to the York County Civil War Roundtable in March.
John B. Gordon’s Confederates marched in late June 1863 to the bridge spanning the Susquehanna River between Wrightsville and Columbia.
That bridge was the only one standing between Harrisburg and the Maryland Line.
Just a few years earlier – in 1857 – wind and ice had knocked down a bridge at York Furnace in southeastern York County… .

So, the Confederates could concentrate their attention exclusively on the bridge at Wrightsville.
Fellow blogger June Lloyd told us about – and showed us photos of the piers – for the York Furnace Bridge, in a recent post.
And late last week, she came up with a photo of the bridge itself.
Rare stuff.
One wonders if the presence of the York Furnace Bridge would have caused the Confederates to split their forces to secure both that bridge, 28 miles from York, and the long covered span at Wrightsville.
What would that have meant for the timing of Gordon’s men in their countermarch to Day 1 fighting in the Battle of Gettysburg?
As it was, the York Furnace area extending south to Delta was the only section of York County that the Confederates did not occupy.
Today, the Norman Wood Bridge crosses high above the Susquehanna in southeastern York County.
And if ice chunks ever reach it, we’re all in trouble.